Cultural evolution

Student-choreographed dances, demonstrations by the Wushu (martial art) Club, and vibrant, multicolored costumes graced the Mandel Hall stage this past Saturday evening at the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association’s (CUSA) tenth annual culture show and New Year celebration, Chasing the Red Dream. As usual, the show interspersed a narrative with dance and martial-arts acts, but in a departure from years past, the event “went in a more politically charged direction,” fourth-year CUSA show director Christina Pei noted in the program.

The fictional story portrayed a family of five during the Cultural Revolution: Xian, a district judge disillusioned by the corruption of his fellow government officials; Ying, his wife and a secret member of the Red Guards, civilian Cultural Revolution implementers; their two mischievous sons, who are sent to the desert to perform manual labor; and Xian’s elderly father, an adherent of Confucianism. Despite its political theme, Chasing the Red Dream remained lighthearted throughout, often playing for laughs. Though Xian narrowly escapes execution and his family is scattered, they reunite at the show’s (and the revolution’s) end.

“With this turn toward a more serious side of culture, I hope CUSA will open more doors for discussion,” Pei wrote. “Asian history is charged with politics and ripe with stories—Tibet’s struggle for independence, British settlement of Hong Kong, the Japanese invasion, and World War II.” Themes, perhaps, that CUSA will explore in culture shows to come.

Hana Yoo, ’07

Daughters of the Sea dance_thumb.jpg Wushu_thumb.jpg Red Guards rally_thumb.jpg

Photos (left to right): The Daughters of the Sea dance; a Wushu performance; a Red Guard rally.

January 18, 2006