Dance showcase to highlight different types of Asian dance styles

Sara Schleede

Beginner, intermediate and advanced dancers alike will join together to fill the stage with freestyle hip-hop, martial art-inspired choreography and a papier-mache lion at the Student Activity Center next Thursday.

Dance SensAsian, UT’s first official showcase of Asian-interest dance organizations, will occur Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. The night, sponsored by Campus Events + Entertainment’s Asian American Culture committee, AAC, will feature workshops from four student dance organizations — Texas Wushu, Korean Dance Crew, Dancing for a Cause and Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team, as well additional performances and a dance battle.

“We were looking for something beyond what we usually do because it’s a lot of the time just cultural holidays or beginning-of-the-year, inspirational stuff,” said economics senior Jeffrey Ling, one of the event coordinators. “This (event) is just more so exposing UT students to culture in general.”

Dance SensAsian’s final event will be a dance battle, a five-round competition of improvised dance. Students with any level of experience can sign up before or at the event to win the title of “Dance Sensei.”

Psychology sophomore Cathleen Fuertes, who helped coordinate the event, said she is excited to watch the nerve-racking tournament.

“It’s a dance competition, but I want everyone to have fun and just go for it,” Fuertes said.

David Cha, vice president of Dancing for a Cause, will teach a workshop and perform at Dance SensAsian. Having attended several dance battles throughout Texas, Cha advised AAC on the formatting and hopes that the competition will unveil new talent.

“I want to find that hidden gem that I didn’t realize was here,” said Cha, an arts and entertainment technologies sophomore.

In addition to running and planning the event, Ling will perform alongside members of Texas Wushu, a coordinated martial arts team. He said this performance will show yet another type of Asian-interest dance.

“Texas Wushu is a different side to dancing,” Ling said. “(It’s) not simply having movements with music but having interactions with each other.”

Ling said Dance SensAsian was created to reflect a growing interest in dance among UT students and across the country, with more and more dance competitions being offered each semester. Cha said he is happy to see how dance videos on Instagram and Youtube have contributed to a more widespread love for urban and modern dance.

“Dancing isn’t just an obscure art form,” Cha said. “It’s a very expressive and connecting action.”