X-ertion: Macalester’s Pan-Asian dance group demands Attenxion


X-ertion dancers and crew. Photo by Rory Donaghy ’24.

Lucy Wing, Staff Writer

X-ertion, Macalester’s student-led Pan-Asian dance group making a name for themselves on the Macalester campus and beyond, held their Spring showcase “Attenxion” this past Sunday, April 16. 

Spearheaded by co-chairs Joy Wen ’24 and Carissa Bolante ’25, the show lasted around 75 minutes and consisted of 16 pieces including K-pop and J-pop covers of popular songs by artists such as NewJeans, (G)-Idle and Stray Kids, as well as choreographies to Western songs by Asian artists.

“I’m really excited about this showcase in particular, because we have a lot of different types of songs and our songs for the showcase are pretty popular,” Bolante said. “Because of how much engagement we were able to get from past showcases, so many more people are interested in teaching. I’m really excited that there are so many more people involved in this showcase.”

In the past few years, since the club’s 10th anniversary in 2021, X-ertion has been going through a transitional period, focusing on raising interest through online activity and creating a more collaborative environment.

“In previous years, the showcase was the one big thing that everyone worked toward and was only run by two co-chairs,” Bolante said. “And it is so much work to book the place and have all the lighting equipment and tech, it’s a whole production at the end of the day.” 

Along with the internal changes, the club is also working on expanding outside the Macalester community. This past February, X-ertion performed at First Ave’s 7th St. Entry stage with other K-pop and Asian dance cover groups from all over the Twin Cities.

“Recently we’ve been able to expand beyond just the Mac community, we have friends from the [University of Minnesota] and we were able to perform at K-pop night at First Ave, which I’m really proud of,” Bolante said. “I feel like slowly X-ertion’s reach is expanding and it’s really great to see that we can still make such an impact within the Twin Cities even though we’re just like a student club at the end of the day.”

Students work hard all-year-round perfecting choreography for performances, but X-ertion is more than a dance machine. Piper Gordon ’25 joined simply to make friends with people with similar interests. 

“X-ertion is for me an outlet for being on campus and meeting new people,” she said. “[It’s] a different aspect of college life other than academics, but [I’m] still a part of something [and] producing the showcase at the end of each semester.”

Sheila Bhowmik ’26 found her way to X-ertion in search of a community she could share interests and fun with, and to her surprise fell in love with the dance aspect as well.

“I love watching all the other dances, even if I’ve already seen them [in rehearsals], being able to see it from an audience perspective [is so fun],” Bhowmik said. “[It’s a lot of] energy [and] it’s really nice to see the other students, the work that they put in and [everything] coming together.” 

Bhowmik spoke highly of the more senior dancers and club leaders, appreciating their openness and the supportive nature of the club as a whole. 

[It’d be] really nice if I could one day teach choreography,” Bhowmik said. “The people that I’ve met who like teaching are very encouraging even if you’re not a great dancer, [or] professional or whatever. People are patient and welcoming.”

Bolante shared that inclusivity is a value the club has held since its founding, knowing that dance is typically a very competitive and comparative environment. 

“In X-ertion, we do our best to make everything as accessible and as inclusive [as we can],” she said “You can join in with zero years of experience and we’ll find a way for you to be involved.”

In its expansion into a wider Twin Cities audience, however, the club is also looking for dedication from members to get the clean choreography down.

“Being open to a lot of people and dance ability versus [being] focused on solid detail work depends on who you talk to in the club,” Gordon said. “I’m really excited to see how those start to overlap more because I feel like this year [there’s] been some push and pull between the two.”

In the future, X-ertion hopes to continue to share their work with the Mac community and outside, keeping ideals intact and spreading Asian music and choreography to everyone. 

“[I want to] destigmatize what Asian pop is, this is just a student org but there’s still so much work and commitment that people put in,” Bolante said. “I think we should be taken more seriously than what the stereotype is.”