OFFICIAL Takes First at First Official Dance Competition

After three years of official campus organization status, several years in development and countless dancers who have filtered through the team, the OFFICIAL Dance Crew finally got the recognition it deserves. This year’s MAASU, Midwest Asian-American Student Union, awarded the group of 12 student dancers with a first place trophy.

Here’s a rendition of their performance, this one at the Asian American Association variety show just a couple weeks later.

Viva la Vida (Benavides)

She’s a powerful advocate for equality in multicultural issues, based in Washington D.C. She’s empowering. She’s self-motivated. She’s a Filipino-American woman. As a part of AAA Month, four weeks of events dedicated to Asian-American Awareness sponsored by MU’s Asian American Association, Vida Benavides visited MU campus on Friday, April 15, to reach out to the Asians and Asian-American students and share her stories of advocacy.

Vida Benavides shared her numerous stories of success to a crowd of Asian-American students at the Black Cultural Center on MU campus. She currently works as the Multicultural Advocate at Capitol Hill.

Here are a few of her inspirational quotes from the night:

“Collectively, once you rise, your community rises with you.”

“Own each other’s dreams and hopes, but also own each other’s struggles.”

“Census dictates that we are different, but we are all connected.”

“We are defined by how we treat each other, not by how others treat us.”

“We have to inspire each other because you each have a story to tell.”

-Vida Benavides

Fund Raising for Japan Eathquake and Tsunami

The Japanese Student Association, along with volunteers, tabled outside of Memorial Union this week to raise awareness and collect donations to benefit Japan’s disaster relief efforts. They sold “Support Japan” T-shirts and cookies, donned in the attire and cheerfully exclaiming the cause to the bustling student body. It was a beautiful day outside, so it seemed like crowds were stopping to take a look at their stand – larger crowds than would stop if it were a more dreary day. Their message: 10,066 people are dead, 17,452 are still missing and 320,000 people have been evacuated. Please help Japanese people whose homes were destroyed, whose children are starving and whose parents are missing.” It’s a chilling and needy statement that Mizzou students are trying to help – from so far away.

If you want to donate or want more information, contact:

Kiwamu Tanaka: 202 Life Sciences Center, (573) 884-3045

Mineo Yamaguchi: 3-11 Agriculture Building, (573) 882-3971

More On MAFA Dancing

He taught for hours, dictating each and every movement, how much and what kind of feeling to emanate through each one. His expertise and talent were not hidden during his lessons, but his level of fame and success was not an expression he demonstrated from the front of the mirror-filled room.

Brian Fucanan, 24, has become a dancing icon after his breakout performances as a member of SoReal Cru on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew (ABDC). To the packed room of eager fans, though, he was more than that – he represented the American dream for hundreds of Filipino-Americans who attended the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans last weekend.

“I really wanted to come up here and figure out what [MAFA] was all about. I honestly had no idea that this existed, but I wanted to come up and help out,” Fucanan said.

The professional dancer resides and attends college in Houston, Texas, and recently MC-ed his state’s version of MAFA last month. He spoke highly of the GoodPhil Games annual event that brings literally thousands of Filipino-American students from across the state together in friendly competition that helps bond the community in culture.

Fucanan said traveling to MAFA and teaching his original choreography for two workshops was something he’d love to do again. He said he hops around the country every weekend to lead lessons and, although it’s his job, he hasn’t lost his passion for dance.

“I recently became really active in the whole Filipino culture scene, so coming to events like GoodPhil and MAFA are great ways to bring everyone together,” Fucanan said. “Plus, it’s fun to hang out with everyone. Conferences like these are more like social events for me, even though I’m working.”

Rumor has it that Fucanan and his brother, also a professional dancer in their current crew The ArchiTEKs, will co-MC MAFA next year.