Chloe Miller ’14
Last Thursday, March 28, the International House (iHouse), House of Peace, and Office of International Students and Scholars co-sponsored the 3rd annual International Culture Show in the Washington Room on campus. The international show has been a joint effort between these three groups for the past three years, and focuses on celebrating the growing diversity of Trinity’s student body.
President of the House of Peace Monica Rodriguez Roland ’13, from Spain, is a graduate of Armand Hammer United World College, an international boarding school in New Mexico. She was inspired by cultural heritage days in high school and wanted to bring that tradition to Trinity. A graduate of the UMC has served on the international show student committee every year that it has been put on.
President of the iHouse Ananya Sahay ’13 was also a main organizer of this year’s show, which began preparation with recruitment and auditions last semester. She oversaw a committee of five students, who organized lighting, sound, food, and other details of the event. They held rehearsals and meetings for performers every two weeks during this semester leading up to the show.
The theme of this year’s show was “Rediscovery,” which Sahay explained came from the Mayan expectation that the world would end in December 2012. “Because the world obviously didn’t end, 2013 is really a year of rebirth and [a] re-creation of diverse cultural beauty,” she said.
After a brief introduction by Roland and Sahay, emcees Dobromir Trifonov ’13 and Annick Bickson ’14 took over the duty of introducing each performance group and explaining a bit about its cultural significance. They also provided comic relief, such as dancing to “Gangnam Style” during the K-Pop performance. The show boasted over 80 performers in 14 different acts, including three new additions since last year. K-Pop, a celebration of Korean dance and music; a belly dancing performance; and Trinity’s Steel Pan Drum group were all new this year, and joined old favorites like the Shonda Steppers, the Quirks, Samba Ensemble, and more.
There was also a unique set of poetry readings in a variety of international languages, such as Arabic, Albanian, Turkish, and Urdu. These were a special audience favorite since the languages were so rarely heard, and provided an interesting break from music- and dance-focused numbers.
Sahay and Roland explained that the closing number was most special to all the performers. Trinity’s Samba Ensemble, led by Professor Galm, performed for two or three songs, and then all 80 performers came in from the back of the audience, dancing and waving flags from all the countries represented. The infectious beat of the samba music got all the audience members dancing on their feet along with all the performers. Sahay said that bringing together all the cultures was really the whole point of the show, and this final number was symbolic of the hopeful unity of diverse cultures on campus and around the world. A reception with foods representing different cultures followed the show, and performers chatted with students, faculty, and alumni about the event.
Trinity now boasts ten percent of the student body hailing form international destinations, and that number grows every year. The show covered cultures from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, India, and North America, and was the most successful in the show’s history. Almost every one of the 400 seats in the audience was filled, and several deans and members of the faculty were present along with the student population.