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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Students Ring in the Year of the Rat

Published: February 15, 2008
Section: Arts, Etc.

dc02150801.jpgWarmly clad masses of the campus’s culturally inclined braved the wintry weather last Saturday evening as the Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection presented Lunar New Year 2008 in Shapiro Campus Center. Thursday, February 7th marked the beginning of the Year of the Rat, the first sign in the Chinese zodiac.

With the set decorated as a back alleyway, the show kicked off with students taking the stage to perform a spirited modern dance routine choreographed by Tillie DeLeon ’08. The enthusiasm of the performers was clear as the routine was effectively delivered, hyping the audience for the rest of the show.

The show informed the audience of the history behind the Chinese zodiac via a skit that ran the entire length of the show, tying the acts together. The peppy play featured 12 students, each representing the 12 animals of the zodiac: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Also depicted was the cat. The reason behind the cat’s absence in the zodiac was explained throughout the course of the night.

According to legend, the Jade Emperor proposed a race that would decide which animals would be represented in the lunar calendar; the first twelve of thirteen animals would make the cut. The cat decided to make a deal with its friend the rat in order that they may both win. The deceitful rat betrays the cat by pushing him in a river, securing its first place in the race.

The lively show was comprised of both student groups/acts as well as performance troupes from the greater Boston area. Super Going!, a band comprised of members from Brandeis’ Japanese Student Association and led by the vocal talents of Lok-wah Li ‘08, overcame minor technical difficulties to deliver an energetic performance.

The Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association (GBCCA) Yo-Yo Group certainly did not disappoint, making them one of the highlights of the evening. Children of various ages in uniform costumes performed highly skilled tricks with a Chinese yo-yo, or diabolo. The cautious children completed their performance as the audience watched on with bated breath.

The Boston GDPT Minh Tam Lion Dance Troupe also graced the stage, performing a traditional heart-pounding lion dance that made its way into all corners of the SCC Theater. With sharp, jerky movements coordinated to the rhythmic beating of a drum, one could not help but be entranced by the dance.

A fashion show, featuring many brightly colored and intricately designed outfits, concluded the show. However, the evening’s agenda was not complete as of yet. The audience exited the theater and entered the Atrium, which had been transformed into a Night Market. A free catered dinner was provided alongside the sale of baked goods, trinkets and jewelry, and Bubble tea sold by Boston Tea Stop. All in all, the Lunar New Year celebration successfully set the stage for a prosperous Year of the Rat in 2008.