This Thursday, the Chinese Students Club celebrates new beginnings and old traditions in the 35th annual Lunar Gala, which will transform Roone Arledge Auditorium for a night of culture, arts, and fashion.
Meant to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, Lunar Gala is known for its bringing together various cultural groups on campus.
“Our mission is to make Chinese culture applicable to the entire community,” Yixin Sun, CC ’16 and one of the heads of Lunar Gala, said. “While we do have half of our performances dedicated to Chinese traditional culture, we want to provide a chance for the Columbia community to participate and bond in this event.”
This year’s theme “Midnight Trance,” captures the innovative spirit and progress of Lunar Gala.
“This is the year of the horse,” Meaghan Hurr, SEAS ’16 and another head of Lunar Gala, said. “Because the horse is a metaphorical mediator of the heaven and the earth, we really want to bring something edgy to this year’s show.”
The Lunar Gala kicks off with its traditional culture show. With performances from Chinese Wushu, and Chinese Yo-Yo, as well as CU Bellydance and String Theory, the night’s offerings span a wide range.
“The professional acrobat we invited to Lunar Gala is definitely one of the most exciting parts of this year’s culture show,” said Sun, referring to Kevin Carpenter, who will perform twice on Thursday night.
The fashion show, first introduced as a part of Lunar Gala in the mid-1980s, tells a tale of temporality. Fenco Lin, BC ’16, the executive director of the fashion show, was inspired by the theme “Midnight Trance” and sought a connection with the film “Midnight in Paris,” coming up with the theme of time travel.
“The show is divided into four distinctive themes— Golden Age, Bling Ring, Escape, and Space Odyssey—and progresses in that order,” Lin said. “We want to present the transition from vintage-inspired to modern luxury to futuristic minimalist.”
Unlike many of its predecessors, this year’s fashion show focuses on building a sense of coherence, threading in recurring models to weave a tapestry of our everyday struggle with time.
Lunar Gala also includes an art show featuring works from artists at Columbia, the Pratt Institute, New York University, and Parsons The New School for Design. Added five years ago, this element of Lunar Gala does not specify themes or motifs for art submissions, which results in a diverse array of pieces on display.
“We decided to select fewer artists for the exhibit in order to provide an opportunity for the viewers to grasp the meaning behind their portfolios,” Hurr said.
For the organizers, taking on such an ambitious project assumes great risks.
“The biggest challenge is that when you have a lot of elements, it becomes more difficult to coordinate different things together and to balance traditional Chinese and other culture groups,” said Sun.