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ISSUE 120 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/16/2007

International Night entertains: Students celebrate multicultural forms of dance, music, art

By Anne Torkelson
Arts Editor

Friday, March 16, 2007




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 show’s end, the theme wasn’t invoked to its full potential.

Nonetheless, the wide variety of acts, from an Uzbekistani women’s dance performed by Veselica International Dance Ensemble to a saxophone quartet’s rendition of Bach’s “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 member’s 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 show’s 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 Dunikoski’s 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 ’07’s 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 show’s 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 Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Education Program. The event is an excellent opportunity to support children’s rights and fellow students; don’t miss out next year.

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