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The Carletonian

ASIA, SAO and Chaplain’s Office co-host Lunar New Year celebration

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Rev. Schuyler Vogel

On Friday, Feb. 2, dozens of students, faculty, staff and community members packed into Kracum Performance Hall at the Weitz Center for Creativity to view a series of performances to honor the upcoming Lunar New Year. The celebration was co-sponsored by Asian Students in America (ASIA), the Student Activities Office (SAO), and, for the first time, the Office of the Chaplain. It consisted of dance groups, instrumental music and vocal performances from a number of Carleton students. 

The performance portion of the event was facilitated by Tripp Tokioka ’26 and Vishnu Guda ’26, who, as “MCs,” joked with each other throughout the night as they introduced each act. 

Sherry Yang ’27, the first performer, danced to an instrumental song. Wearing a purple skirt with her hair tied in ribbons, Yang executed a flowy, lyrical number with jumps and twirling moves. 

Next, Karl Pop, a student K-Pop dance group, performed two dance numbers. Dressed in red and white with hearts painted on their hands, their first number was cheerful and upbeat with each performer getting their own moment to shine. Their next number, with a slightly different crew of dancers, was to the song “Super Shy” by the group New Jeans. This dance was coordinated, fast and had lots of hand motions, with many of the dancers getting a small solo. 

Mariana Duran Amaya ’27, a member of Karl Pop who danced in both numbers, thought the event was wildly successful. “I thought it was fantastic,” they said. “All of the acts were incredible and I had a great time.”

Next, the Krush dance crew performed their first of many dances throughout the night. Decked out in white, gray and denim, the dancers executed a coordinated dance with complicated choreography and some acrobatic moves towards the end. Krush was popular among the crowd, with audience members calling out for another Krush song between the acts.

The next performance was an instrumental music number performed by three students in the Carleton Chinese Music Ensemble. Dressed in traditional clothing from their ensemble performances, the three played a song on the piano, a wooden flute and a wind instrument called the hulusi. 

Krush came back on stage dressed in black and red with a fast, high-energy number. Their performance included a variety of cohesive poses and moves with lots of hand movements. 

Before the next act, Tokioka took some time to explain the significance of red envelopes to the celebration of Lunar New Year. 

Next, Zhen (Lisa) Li ’27 took the stage to perform a Chinese long sleeve dance. With blue lights illuminating the stage, Li danced to instrumental music using the sleeves of her pink and white dress in her routine. Her dance involved a lot of spinning and jumping, showing off her flowy sleeves.

Krush, clad in black and white outfits, danced again in a shorter, fast paced number to the song “LEFT RIGHT” by the group XG. This was followed by another number by the group to a song by the group BLACKPINK. Dressed in all black with pink lights behind them, this song alternated between slow and fast choreography. 

These performances were followed by a song sung by Sunny Sun ’26. Before she started singing, Sun spoke a little about what the song means to her. She said that the song is nostalgic for her, and, while the lyrics are about the passage of time, it also has a forward looking perspective. After a short message to the audience in Mandarin, she started to sing. The song had piano accompaniment at first, but the volume and drums picked up towards the middle and end. The audience started to move their phone flashlights as she sang. 

The next act was a dance number performed by Yeseo Jeon ’26, Selina Chen ’26 and Nadia Yang ’26, dressed in white and denim. Their dance was fast-paced, high-energy and the three had a powerful stage presence.

The last performance was a lion dance performed by members of the Tay Phuong Lions from Savage, Minnesota. Their dance consisted of three lions and a cartoonish man dancing on stage and around the auditorium. Drums and cymbals accompanied the number as the lions ventured into the crowd and interacted with members of the audience. At one point, the three lions “fell asleep” on stage and the crowd had to yell to wake them up. 

After the performances, attendants sat at tables in the Weitz commons for dinner. The large crowd meant that only a few tables at a time could be called up to get food, so ASIA members presented a Quizizz game for people to play while they waited their turn. 

Overall, guests and organizers felt that the celebration was a resounding success. “It was a little hectic from an MC perspective,” Tokioka said, “but I loved the variety of performances, some were traditional and some were modern, but each brought their own unique voice to the stage.” 

Students remarked that the event was a great place to find community. Xuan Seitz ’27 remarked that she “enjoyed seeing [her] classmates’ talents and skills,” and Zoe Pinto ’27 said, “I think it was a fun celebration of culture, and it was refreshing to hang out with other Asian people.”

This year was the first time the Office of the Chaplain had been involved in planning, organizing and funding Lunar New Year. College Chaplain Schuyler Vogel said that although the chapel allowed ASIA and SAO to run most of the event, “we jumped into this with both feet,” and he felt the event was a great success.

The celebration of Lunar New Year will continue in the coming weeks, with the Language Center offering cultural food and crafts and the Carleton Chinese Club hosting a dumpling festival. The attendance of this event shows how important Lunar New Year is to Carleton students. “Lunar New Year is amazing, and it is so great to have events like this to show that Carleton values inclusivity,” said Juju Xiaaj ’27. “I felt so happy to see people taking pride in their culture, and as an Asian-American it is great to see people take pride in themselves. Carleton is really special.”

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About the Contributor
Isaac Kofsky, Viewpoint Editor
Hi there! I’m Isaac (he/him) and I’m a first-year prospective religion or geology major. I’ve been described as “the chapel’s press liaison” and I love eating dinner at 4:45pm, reading non-fiction, wearing sweaters, and drinking two cups of black coffee at every meal. When I’m not in Carletonian pitch meetings or in religion class, you can normally find me doing homework in the chapel or drinking tea in the religion lounge.   Isaac Kofsky '27 was previously a Beat Writer.  

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