‘Paris by Night’ delights through music and dance performances
The Vietnamese Student Association hosted its fifth annual “Paris by Night” event on Nov. 28. The event got its name from a popular Vietnamese musical variety show originally filmed in Paris. Baruch College’s version of the show, just like the one on TV, featured musical performances, folklore and plays; it was a mix of both modern and traditional Vietnamese culture.
The hosts of the show were Victoria Cheng and Adam Yu, and they kept the crowd entertained throughout the night with their jokes and several raffles.
Free dessert cards to Bingbox Snow Cream Co., VSA’s sponsor of the night, were raffled off along with two Google Home Minis and one Amazon Echo Dot.
The first performance of the night was Jason Nguyen, who played a traditional Vietnamese instrument, the dan bau. Nguyen goes by the name of SoulGook on YouTube and plays a mix of traditional Vietnamese and modern American music on the instrument. Before he began to play, Nguyen gave a short history of his instrument. He said it originates from North Vietnam, and at first, it was mostly played by beggars. The dan bau is a one-string instrument and has a rodlike attachment that aids in creating more notes.
After Nguyen’s performance, a group of seven girls who are a part of the Asian Fusion Dance group at New York University danced in flowing black-and-white dresses. Their dance was intricate and was enhanced by the wispy sleeves on their dresses, which added to the harmonious vibe.
Following the dance, VSA put on a small fashion show. The girls who participated as models were dressed in traditional Vietnamese clothing called ao dai. The tightly fitted shirts were very long, almost reaching the feet, and they had long slits on both sides that went up to the waist. Both the shirt and trousers were made of silk. The ao dai were in bright and vibrant colors and many had nature prints on the shirts.
The fourth performance was a folklore about the God of the Mountain and the God of the Sea competing for marriage to a princess. The two gods were sent on a mission by the king to find items he had listed. These tasks ended up being easy for the God of the Mountain since they were all found on land and he won the competition. The God of the Sea found this to be unfair and started to fight the God of the Mountain, and this fight continued forever. The actors playing out this skit added a humorous aspect to it, entertaining the audience by making exaggerated moves to highlight their points. The tale is an explanation as to why Vietnam experiences a severe monsoon season; it is due to the never-ending fight between the two gods, one who lays claim to the land and the other who lays claim to the sea.
The next person to take over the stage was a singer, Altynai Eshimbaeva. She sang a cover of Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall.”
Following that was a performance by the Vietnam Heritage Center’s Pretty Fan Girls, a dance group. They danced an original choreography that included pink and white fans.
The finale of the night was carried out by the JRodTwins, Jason and Justin. The brothers have a popular YouTube channel where they upload covers of songs and other videos. They flew out from California to perform at “Paris by Night.” The three songs they performed were “Treasure” by Bruno Mars, a Vietnamese song that they dedicated to VSA and a song by Big Bang, a famous Korean pop band. There was a short meet and greet with the twins after the conclusion of the event.
The event ended successfully with a promise of more to look forward to at next year’s event.