Next week, Asian-Pacific Islander students will come together for Journey Into Asia – the largest showcase of API culture on campus.
The event is put on by the Asian American Students Association and allows API organizations and individuals to share their cultural heritage through dance, a capella and solo performances.
Some of the groups performing include UNC Flying Silk, Kasama, Duke Chinese Dance and UNC Ek Taal and others.
The theme of this year’s Journey Into Asia is disORIENT. June Yom, cultural chairperson of AASA, said the theme was inspired by the concept of Orientalism, which challenges the West’s perceptions of the East as 'other' and inferior.
“I wanted to literally disorient those misconceptions and those misrepresentations of the so-called orient or the other,” Yom said. “And because JIA is such a large platform and because those misconceptions are very evident in today’s society, that’s what I wanted to develop my theme across.”
Each performance has been created to reflect the theme. This year, a video will introduce each performer, explaining how their performance matches the theme, as well as sharing stereotypes they’ve experienced.
UNC Ek Taal will be performing Bharatnatyam, a classical Indian dance, which tells stories from Hindu religion. They will be performing a Hindu story but with a twist. Rather than telling the story from the protagonist’s perspective, they’ll be telling it from the antagonist’s perspective.
Gayathri Das, co-captain of UNC Ek Taal, said the performance explains the concept of dharma.
“We try to take a concept from our culture that is kind of obscure but portray it in a way that is more accessible to audiences,” Das said.