The Good and Bad of Asante 2024

Poster Advertising Asante. | Source: BSU

Hosted by Black Student Union (BSU), the last culture show of the 2024-25 year, Asante, certainly didn’t disappoint. With dancers, organizers, and helpers giving it their all, BSU put on a show fitting to end the year off. So without further ado, let’s get into my thoughts on this year’s Asante!

The Good

There’s a lot of positive things I have to say about Asante, but if I had to sum it all up in one word, it’d be VIBES. The excitement in the auditorium throughout the show was palpable, and all the cheers from the audience only added to the room’s energy. It felt more like a party than a show, and in a good way. 

All the performances were amazing, but just to shout out a few of my favorites, I really liked Jordan Henry (‘25) and Dashiell Leigh’s (‘24) duet near the beginning, reminiscent of 20th century bar piano. I was also a huge fan of Junior, as Anjali Samal (‘25) and Joaquin Belonio (‘25) did a great job with their dynamic choreography. African and Step also had amazing choreos and brought so much infectious energy with their performances, it was amazing to see. I also have to give my flowers to Modern, as the best of the best delivered once again. Although they’ve performed at every culture show, they’ve seemingly only gotten better with time, providing a fitting conclusion to Asante. 

I also wanna give props to all the unique performances I saw. I thought the Jazz Band Intro was a really good idea to start out the show. I also thought the way in which the performers of Majorette started out in the audience was a really interesting twist. Fashion show was great as well, providing a fun and much needed break in the middle of the production. Even something as simple as the back curtain was used a lot more in this culture show than in ones I’ve seen previously.

The Bad

I often struggle with talking about “The Bad” of any culture show. It’s not necessarily that I don’t have things I thought could have been better, but I recognize that these amazing events are almost entirely student-run productions. Expecting perfection is unreasonable, and I fear coming across as though I’m calling out any student or group of them. However, at the same time, I do believe in the value of feedback and improvement, which is why I choose to include this section in all of my culture show reviews. I just want readers to know that I point things out not to be “mean”, but to genuinely try and give feedback where I think things could be improved. I love culture shows, so any criticism I give is purely to try and make these amazing shows even better. 

And with that caveat out of the way, I do think there were some issues, especially in production this time around. Most of the MCing during the show didn’t really land with me, they usually don’t anyway, but this time it felt mostly because the audio was either too loud or not working a lot of the time. And my biggest gripe here is with the live streamed recording. While writing this article, there were a lot of moments that I wanted to look back on to refresh my memory, but I quickly realized that the quality of the live stream simply wasn’t up to par. To start, there’s no audio of the show. This means that none of the singing, MCing, or crowd cheering was picked up. The screen would also black out occasionally for many seconds at a time for seemingly no reason. Additionally, for some of the dances, there was simply no music overlaid meaning it looked like they were dancing to nothing. Even for dances where music was overlaid, I’m relatively certain that at least some of the songs were just completely different from the ones being danced to on stage. But, like I said before, I really do understand that the technical work involved in these productions is complicated, so take what I say simply as feedback from someone who just wants to see culture shows improved. 

And that does it! Although there were some technical hiccups, Asante was a blast to attend this year! I continue to be impressed by just how much dedication and effort IMSA students put into these shows, and they remain a highlight of my time here at IMSA. I have no doubts that the rising seniors will continue putting on strong culture shows next year. I know I’ll definitely be there to see it! 

About the Author

Max Chen
Max Chen is a junior at IMSA who lives in 01 D-wing. He is from Champaign and is very excited to serve as a Staff Writer for The Acronym. Outside of writing, he likes to play guitar, tennis, and videogames.

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