Culture NYU

DynamiCSS : A Cultural Medley

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The lights dimmed. The auditorium hummed with excitement. The audience held its breath in anticipation of the silent stage. Spotlights – and footsteps sounded, announcing the arrival of the MCs. The audience burst into cheers and thunderous applause as the MCs, laughing good-naturedly, spoke. “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to DynamiCSS!”

April 17th marked a big night for the Chinese Student Society (CSS). Their largest annual show, “DynamiCSS,” brought together performers and talents from all over the United States to celebrate Chinese heritage. This year’s theme was “Seize the Moment,” and the show fully expressed the flavors of Asian-American culture immersed in the melting pot that is the United States.

DynamiCSS kicked off with two traditional Chinese programs: Lion Dance and Asian Fusion Dance. As the lights dimmed and the low rumble of drums grew louder, two previously-still lion costumes on the stage flared to life. Shaking their mighty heads, they circled each other in rhythmic motion to the clashes of gongs and cymbals, bringing luck and fortune to the viewers below. Next, the music and rhythm changed as a group of girls nimbly hopped onstage. Asian Fusion Dance showcased their specialty in a traditional Chinese fan dance, with simple, matching costumes that offset the flowing fabric of their fans.

The show also featured a number of vocal talents from the NYU community that performed pieces ranging from Chinese pop to rap. Eric Liu impressed the audience with a Mandarin Chinese song of his own making, and then rocked out to Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” Josephine Chen and Jessica Choi belted a duet that featured a medley of hip-hop tunes, ending with the Disney sensation, “Let It Go.” Most interesting was the performance Xaver Nicholas, an African-American who showcased his talents in singing and dancing K-Pop in the Asian-dominated show. The blend of music genres and cultures fully illustrated the evolution of Chinese-American culture, hitting it home with the point that no matter what race or culture you’re from, celebrating Chinese culture is not a matter of race, but of interest and appreciation.

The highlight of the show was the appearance of a short, bespectacled guy in casual clothing. This was none other than Jason Chen, the YouTube sensation with a Taiwanese-American background. His performances of American hits, including Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” and a piece by famous Taiwanese singer David Tao (陶喆), showcasing the American and Chinese cultural influences on young Chinese-Americans.

Though the show was entitled “Seize the Moment,” we believe DynamiCSS has done a fantastic job of bringing together the diverse talents of the Chinese-American community and celebrating what we have in common: our Chinese heritage. We’re also confident that CSS will continue to rep the Chinese-American community at NYU. Congrats, CSS!

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