‘Mystique’ uses humor to spread cultural awareness

Two Indian dances were performed throughout the night during ‘Mystique of the East 2011: The Amazian Race,’ held on Saturday, April 2, in Kendall Hall. (Kate Stronczer / Photo Assistant)

By Jennifer Bruckstein
Correspondent

Kendall Hall burst with color, culture and action as students, clad in traditional Asian dress, romped around the Main Stage, drumming, dancing and exuberantly displaying their heritage.

On Saturday, April 2, the College hosted its 19th annual “Mystique,” event, “The Amazian Race.”

“Mystique” is entirely student run and was organized this year by junior international studies major Abigail Nanquil and junior biology major Alexandra Sarabia.

Japanese drumming group TCNJ Taiko performed early on in the event, playing two songs the group has been rehearsing all semester.

“The songs can sound different depending on how much energy we put into it, so we are going to use as much energy as possible to make this the best performance ever,” Duncan Lutley, freshman deaf education and English double major, said before the show.

Another memorable part of the night was the fashion show. “Mystique” has had a fashion show portion in the past, but this was the first year where the show contained traditional Asian clothing as well as clothing from some modern Asian designers. Yumi Kim, Yesstyle.com and Enlystyle.com contributed some of the designs.

Other performances included Chinese yo-yo, Chinese instru-mental, Garba-Rass (a traditional Indian dance) and vocal acts such as Kazw no Machi He and Monoke Hime.

“I didn’t understand what they were saying, but the fact that they could find a way to move me despite that is remarkable,” said freshman physics major Michael McLoughlin.

This year’s theme sprung from the hit television show “The Amazing Race.”

“Mystique” simulated the show’s format, featuring teams “racing across Asia,” performing tasks to hopefully win the race.

There were three “teams”: the mother and son team, the aspiring doctor team and the elderly team. The team members served as the master of ceremonies of “Mystique,” using the story of their race across Asia to help transition between acts.

The tasks the hosts performed were often humorous. They were sophomore political science major Aaron Creuz’s favorite part of the night.

“(I liked how the MCs)incorporated comedy to keep it going from act to act,” Creuz said.

The night ended with a Bollywood style dance-off, incorporating elements of Bharatanatyam, Filmi and traditional Bhangra dance. The act was supposed to be a dance party for the winners of the Amazian Race.

The purpose of “Mystique” is to spread Asian cultural awareness on campus to allow the performers as well as the audience to learn more about Asian culture.

Sponsoring organizations were the Asian American Association, Chinese Culture Club, Japanese Club, TCNJ Taiko, Barkada and the Indian Student Association.