Dance Culture in Asian Greeks
The stage is a fantastic blur of colors as dancers jump, spin, stamp and move in perfect sync with one another. There’s loud music and flashing lights. An uproarious audience cheers wildly, applauding, whistling and screaming when the performance is over.
An annual talent show sponsored by an umbrella group, the Asian Greek Council of Southern California, is held every April, and Asian-American Greeks everywhere emerge from different campuses in enthusiastic support of their organizations. This past April was the 10th annual AGC Talent Show, and like it had been in the years before, the Bovard Auditorium at USC was packed with people.
The crowd is primarily made up of Asian-American sorority and fraternity members who have traveled from places like San Diego, Orange County, Riverside and different areas.
The prestige of the AGC Talent Show has grown since its first years, when only a handful of Greek organizations participated. Today, all the fraternities and sororities belonging to the Asian Greek Council (there are 19 of them spanning schools like UCI, UCLA, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Northridge and more) compete in either one or both of the song or dance portions of the contest.
However, nothing draws more attention or excitement than watching the groups perform choreographed dances that have been meticulously rehearsed since January. Trophies, given out for the first-, second- and third-place victors, are coveted along with the respect and esteem that accompanies winning.
‘Winning first-place means that people have to defend their title,’ explained Betty Hinh, a fifth-year psychology major and the current president of Phi Zeta Tau.
This past April, USC’s Gamma Epsilon Omega fraternity and Sigma Phi Omega sorority teamed up and won first-place for the second consecutive year.
According to Hinh, groups receive a lot of recognition for winning or even placing in the top three at the talent show. In fact, Andy Yang, a third-year criminology, law and society major and historian of Lambda Theta Delta, feels that the purpose of the show is not merely ‘for a gathering of AGC, but also to establish and defend titles. It’s a way to prove to AGC who the strongest organization at the time is