Students perform at Culture Show

South Asia Committee members celebrate their cultures at a packed house in McGaw Chapel through performances (Photo courtesy of The College of Wooster).
Grace Pryor, Contributing Writer

Last Saturday evening, Nov. 11, the atmosphere at the 2022 International Education Week Culture Show was raucous and excited. McGaw Chapel, where the event was held from 6 to 8 p.m., was filled nearly to the brim, its benches packed with students ready to cheer on their friends and classmates and learn about other cultures through the performances.

Shivika Bagaria ’26, who participated in the Fashion Show and the South Asia Committee performance, said that at first “I was nervous about looking ridiculous, but the crowd hyped me up and was very encouraging.” Overall, she said, “it was a very fun experience.”

The Culture Show is an annual event, held as the culmination of International Education Week, which has been celebrated at the College for more than 30 years. This year’s theme was “Moving Together with Joy,” which certainly rang true as the jubilant dances and other performances played out on stage.

Of course, the show began with a showcase of Scottish heritage by the College of Wooster Pipe Band, which played a set of songs before ending with the traditional Scotland the Brave. Then the emcees of the evening, Angel Asamoah ’25, Katiasofia Gonzales ’23 and Mudiwa Mungoshi ’24, came on stage to share the school’s land acknowledgement, before truly kicking off the proceedings.

A wide array of performances followed for the next two hours, with every new act bringing something different to the stage. The Chasing International Dance Team showed off a fast-paced medley of seven of their favorite dance styles from around the world, including jazz and reggaeton. Students from the Russian program subsequently performed a few different traditional Russian folk dances before ending with a Hopak dance battle to the Boney M. tune “Rasputin.”

The next few performances were all very different from each other, further demonstrating the show’s diversity. The traditional Haitian Yanvalou dance, originating in voodoo ceremonies, was followed by the K-Pop dance crew, which danced their fast-paced routines to Blackpink and BTS. One of the most memorable moments of the evening was one of the K-Pop dancers (Keara Wiley ’26) jumping onto the stage during the middle of the performance after returning from a swim meet, which Andrés Felipe Gómez ’26, one of the other dancers, called “one of the most epic entrances I’ve seen.”

The show slowed down with the German students’ emulation of the German holiday tradition of St. Martin’s Candle Walk and Jorge Quinteros’ ’25 beautiful rendition of two songs based on Paraguayan folklore. The crowd cheered during and after each one enthusiastically.

One of the evening’s showstoppers was the International Student Association (ISA) Fashion Show, where 25 students, in the words of ISA, “showcased different aspects of their culture through their attire.” Among the many participants, some of the traditional cultural attire shown was from Ghana, Nepal, Morocco and Kazakhstan.

The second half of the program was particularly dance heavy, featuring a great variety of styles from across the globe. These included Blackbirds Irish Dance, which showed off their traditional Irish soft and hard shoe dancing, and the Chinese Scholars and Students Association, which combined traditional Chinese instruments with contemporary dancing. Latinas Unidas performed dances from across Latin America, including the Cuban Salsa, with help from the Salseros, and the Colombian Cumbia style. The South Asia Committee also performed a medley of styles from across the Indian subcontinent.

The evening finished with a lively and vibrant performance of cultural dances from Ethiopia and Rwanda by the African Student Union. At the end of the performance, over 40 of its members converged on stage to dance to modern Afrobeat music from West Africa, a marked appreciation for the unity that music and performance can create even across borders. 

The Culture Show was a labor of love, with Gómez, who also performed as part of Chasing Dance Team, saying that he practiced “almost four days a week, for about an hour per day.” Still, all this work not only prepared him for the show, it “helped [him] to build some better relationships with [his] other dance crew-mates.” This show is truly a demonstration of how embracing the diversity and cultures that make up this college community can foster unity and friendship between students.

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