Diverse cultures display their colors
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 23:03
Sunday afternoon, the Rome Ballroom turned into a place filled with music, dance, food and people from around the world to celebrate the 43rd annual WorldFest. The giant ballroom was lined with displays by over 18 exhibitors, which included organizations such as the Albania Student Association, the International Student Organization, the Peace Corps, UConn Global House and the Graduate School Diversity program, among many others. Some of the groups displayed cultural artifacts, such as the Colors of India group, while others show cased traditional dress, such as the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission. Other groups simply exhibited elaborate poster boards filled with pictures and other cultural decorations.
While attendees mingled and enjoyed UConn Catering’s international menu including pierogies, chicken satay and spring rolls, performances highlighting the different cultural groups on campus took center stage. The first group to perform was UConn Taiko, the Japanese drumming team, and they performed two dynamic selections, including the appropriately titled “Festival.” After the performance, audience members were encouraged to try their hands at drumming for a few minutes, while UConn Capoeira prepared to take the stage. Capoeira, a form of Brazilian martial arts that combines dance and music to the routine, enthralled the audience with their gymnastic movements and acrobatics. Following Capoeira, hosts Gaurav Joshi and Shruti Yedave, introduced The Iranian Students at UConn, or Shahrashoob, who performed in a five piece band. The group performed two Old Iranian popular songs, Ashegham Man and Bavar Kon, as well as a musical improvisation with the setar and guitar. The setar, the group explained, is an ancient Persian instrument, not to be confused with the “sitar”, closely related to the Western European lute. The songs were beautifully performed and audience members relaxed to the instrumentation, while browsing the tables and enjoying the ethnic food.
UConn Tarang took the stage following Shahrashoob and split their performance into two segments of Indian dance and one musical performance. The dancers lit up the stage with the exciting rhythms and the upbeat tempo. Rumi Intercultural Club, performed next, changing the pace of the afternoon with a soothing performance of the “Ney” a Turkish flute. UConn’s Albanian Association followed the Ney performance and displayed a stunning exhibition of traditional Valle dancing dressed in the red and black of the Albanian flag. The ASA encouraged audience participation and invited members to join in the final circle dance, the Dyshe. Similarly, after UConn Irish’s performance of traditional Ceili dances among other styles, the audience was invited to learn a few steps of Irish Dance.
Rose Murphy, an eighth semester Secondary education and English major and UConn Irish team member, highlighted the importance of performing. “It’s important to share and show case Irish culture and language. College is about learning new things, and events like WorldFest are a huge part of that,” she said.
Haley Dunnack, another UConn Irish member and sixth semester Nursing major, said, “It’s a fun way to just have fun and show what Irish dance is really like.”
The afternoon closed with three performances, including one from acapella fusion group Husky Hungama who performed traditional Indian songs as well as popular favorites such as “Hey There Delilah” and “Stand By Me.” Following Hungama, the Saudia Arabian Group took the stage and performed Mezmar a dance popular in the region surrounding Yonuba city. The dance that is used in celebration from weddings to regular parties was another example of a circle dance and was joined by several audience members as well. The last performance was reserved from the Polish Cultural Soicety who took the stage with enthusiasm and colorful garb to perform the Krakowiak, a dance that imitated the steps of horses. At the end of the event the audience was encouraged to reward their favorite groups by voting for the group with the Best Performance, Best Exhibit, and Best Cultural Attire.