Showcasing Asian culture through Dance and Beyond: AZN’s First Showcase

Atlantic Zenami, the dance team for the Asian Student Union celebrates Asian culture and diversity through their first solo showcase.


Courtesy of AZN.

Melanie Gomez, Features Editor

Atlantic ZeNami (AZN), the dance team for the Asian Student Union (ASU), is having their first-ever solo showcase on April 11 at 6 p.m. The showcase will be taking place in Grand Palm 2 and 4 in the Student Union.

“The showcase is basically portraying our members’ talents including dancing and singing. Basically showing people who don’t know much about Asian dances as well as what we do,” said Dona George, the social media coordinator for AZN. 

George and her twin sister Deonna, who serves as AZN’s secretary, have been a part of AZN for two years, with this year being their first on the executive board. AZN has performed at other events for ASU since its founding. However, the showcase is the first time that AZN dancers have had the chance to show their talents outside of this setting and members couldn’t be more excited.

“That got us really excited because like me, personally, I always liked dancing. I’ve always liked singing. And so being able to showcase like my interests to like other people, like I’m really excited for that. It’s like a dream come true essentially,” said Deonna.

The showcase will have a variety of performances including but not limited to Bollywood, Chinese, and Vietnamese dances. Additionally, there will be guest dance performances from Next In Action, FAU’s first K-pop dance group, and those in the Japanese program at FAU.

 However, AZN isn’t stopping with just dance, there will also be singing and piano performances from some of the members.

According to Justine To, the AZN dance captain throughout the 2022-2023 school year, preparing for the event was no easy task. The showcase took months in the making with the members preparing and practicing regularly. 

“We’ve been doing a lot. We spent months and months practicing different songs and researching things that we could do. We worked together with the eboard constantly to figure out you know the perfect way that you could make this go smoothly,” said To.

Other members have felt the pressure of preparing for the upcoming showcase, especially in the past few weeks. 

“So practices from now on are very strict and on schedule. We are not going to learn the performances on our own time and I come to rehearsal ready to practice and ready to just run it through. Then we’re going to be running old songs that we learned a month ago and clean it up and that’s what we’ll do,” said Maxine Nguyen, an AZN dancer.

AZN members have been practicing songs from the showcase since around February, leaving only a limited window to perfect the performances from the setlist.

“For past events,  I felt like we have had more time to prepare just because the events are more spaced out. I think because we are doing about 40 total performances for this showcase. Yeah, like she said, It’s stressful, but hopefully the result is we can do well and it’s gonna be rewarding,” said Clara Pham, an AZN dancer.

Aisha Farooqui, who previously served as the dance captain during the COVID-19 pandemic, has stood in as a mentor for the other members during preparation for the showcase as the senior advisor for AZN. According to Farooqui, the overall goal for the showcase was to represent a variety of Asian cultures in a respective manner.

“It’s really just been more of making sure that everything flows nicely and all the cultures are given the sort of respect that they need to be given. That they should be given. So that we can have a smooth running show and everyone can feel like they have contributed,” said Farooqui.

AZN has prepared a lengthy lineup for the showcase with an estimated run of over 2 hours and around 40 performances with different members rotating in and out of performances.

“You can expect besides group performances you can expect solos, duos performances alongside trios. Kind of like little sub-units within AZN,” said Emily Mejia, an AZN dancer and PR coordinator for ASU.

 For attendees, AZN has prepared activities for audience engagement throughout the performances and is also planning to set up a photo booth.

“We’re gonna have a break in which we’ll play games and stuff like that, but mostly it will be focused on the different types of dances,” said Mejia.

In the end, To and the other members remain proud of what they have been able to accomplish working towards the showcase.

“We are going to put on an amazing show no matter what challenges we went through during the whole process, everything will go great. Whatever happens, we’re all a big family no matter what we do,” said To.