To kick off the 41st annual International Night on March 10, 22 students wearing traditional dress and bearing flags processed one by one onto the Pause stage to name the country they represented and welcome the audience. Students, staff, friends and family crowded the Pause floor and balcony to watch 14 different performances of dance, music and martial arts. After the show the audience relocated to Stav Hall for a sampling of international foods.
Essa Mohamed 09 and Kirsten Ytterbo 08 hosted the evening, themed Colour My World. Though the emcees script could have been better rehearsed (and better written) at times, the duo worked well together on stage and, for the most part, did an excellent job of announcing and briefly explaining each upcoming act. Unfortunately, aside from an introduction at the beginning and an out of place tie-in to the Olympic flag at the shows end, the theme wasnt invoked to its full potential.
Nonetheless, the wide variety of acts, from an Uzbekistani womens dance performed by Veselica International Dance Ensemble to a saxophone quartets rendition of Bachs Sinfonia No. 3, showcased the multitude of colors that exist in the arts.
The Taiko Club opened the show to a strong start with Matsuri (Festival in Japanese). Every aspect of the Japanese-drumming ensemble, from each members balanced stance to his or her wide arm movements, communicated strength and power. The drummers used their sticks and voices as well as their instruments for rhythm.
The shows only solo piece was Maori Poi, a fire dance from New Zealand performed by Leonard Dunikoski 10. The Pause lights dimmed until the two electric-blue LED lights on the end of Dunikoskis chains shone brightly as he rapidly swung them around his head and body, creating circles of light and intertwining patterns in the dark. This type of dance, first performed by women to improve their strength and flexibility, now shows up in circuses and street performances and has become a popular American entertainment using glow sticks. Had the stage been fireproofed, Dunikoski would have used kevlar wicks soaked in kerosene.
Another standout performance was the Prairie Love Song from Chin-Hai province, China, beautifully performed by Irene Mineoi 07s lab choir. The musicians appeared and sounded confident and struck just the right balance between the two soloists, the choir and the accompaniment by two flutes, a drum and a small gong.
Though the show as a whole lacked contagious energy, the fast tapping footwork and lively music of La Culebra/Las Perlitas, a Ballet Folklorico dance from Mexico performed by four couples, inspired the audience to start clapping along. In this dance, the women used their full skirts in bright, bold colors as part of the choreography.
A dance performed to Heroes of Earth by Lee-Hom Wang, one of the most famous singers in Asia, was a gratifying choice for the shows finale. Six girls burst onto the stage with refreshing vigor, holding their own next to the featured break dancers, Colin Cureton and Santosh Raju from the Lost Boyz Crew (LBC) of Carleton.
Though not flawless, International Night was largely a success. For a mere $5 ($10 for non-Oles) students were treated to an assortment of international dancing, singing, music, dress and performance, sampled home-cooked food and helped support the United Nations Childrens Funds (UNICEF) Education Program. The event is an excellent opportunity to support childrens rights and fellow students; dont miss out next year.