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Finding a Family on Campus: the Asian American Dance Troupe

A week ago, the Asian American Dance Troupe (AADT) put on our annual cultural performance, Eastbound. Our two shows on Saturday were both sold-out, and it was great to see all of our amazing friends, families, and alumni come out to support us. The crowds cheered so loudly that when I shared the videos of the show with my family afterward, my sister complained that she couldn’t even hear the music over all the yelling. The troupe has put countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears (see what I did there?) into weekly rehearsals, devoting themselves to perfecting the dances even when it sometimes meant sacrificing sleep or study time. That’s why by the time the show rolled around, we were ready to show off our year’s worth of hard work as we danced alongside some of our closest friends.


Above: Our ecstatic faces during the finale of this year’s Eastbound show!

While the performance aspect is definitely super fun and rewarding, that’s not the main reason why I love AADT. Ever since I joined it my freshman fall, it has been an integral part of my college experience because of the people in it. As cheesy as it sounds, AADT was the first place I felt truly at home. Unlike other organizations on campus that have long “comp” processes that you must complete in order to become a member, there is no such thing at AADT. AADT is a non-audition-based dance troupe, so everyone is welcome to join regardless of one’s dance experience. Many members start dancing in AADT at the beginning of college and discover that dance is their passion. Others join to become part of a fun community of people who love dancing, and most likely than not, have obsessions over boba, kpop, and many other aspects of Asian culture. I joined for a combination of those reasons, and what I found upon joining was more than I could have ever imagined.


Above: Freshman me dancing in a cutesy kpop medley of Twice, a Korean girl group!

I found people who were so welcoming to me from the beginning, accepting me into the troupe with open arms. The people I met at rehearsals came from all different concentrations and class years, but yet we were all united by our love of learning new dances and meeting new people. Through our weekly rehearsals and socials, I got to really know some people that I would have never encountered on campus, making some of my closest (and funniest) friends. Initially we bonded over shared interests, but eventually the friendships extended beyond the dance studio, as we took the time to learn about each other over meals and during hangouts. At a place like Harvard, where students are always ambitious and driven, it was nice to have this fun, low-pressure environment where I could relax and be my authentic self around others. 


Above: A fun board photo shoot on the perfect sunny day outside.

After a year as a troupe member, I decided to apply to the board, becoming the Design Chair for this year. Besides designing all of the promotional materials for our fall Horizon show and spring Eastbound show, I wanted to provide an additional opportunity for troupe members to meet other members who are not in their dances. To do so, I coordinated a troupe-wide music video during reading period (which is the week before finals where we study for finals). Not only did people get to live out their dreams of starring in a kpop music video, but they also got to dance alongside new friends in the troupe. The fact that these troupe members decided to sign up for an additional time commitment during reading period shows the level of dedication that they have for AADT. I am constantly in awe of the amount of time and effort that each member puts into making the troupe the amazing community it is today. I remember at our most recent showcase (where we performed our dances in front of the entire troupe), I looked around and saw a group of people who were so supportive of each other, a group that I can now call family. Freshman Amy, if there was one good decision you made your first semester, it was joining AADT


Above: The amazing members of the 2017-2018 Asian American Dance Troupe! <3

About the author

Hey there! I’m Amy Tan, and I’m a junior at Harvard hailing from the wonderful city of Chicago. I come from a diverse public high school and have found a diverse student body here, as well. At... View full profile

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