People of all ages, backgrounds and cultures gathered at the
Lory Student Center on Saturday for the second annual
Multi-Cultural Dance Festival.
This dinner party, complete with authentic ethnic dishes and
multi-cultural performers, was presented by Third Culture Diversity
Group and co-sponsored with Asian-American Student Association.
Monique Lewis, vice president of Third Culture Diversity Group,
said the event’s goal was to help people learn something new.
“Our goal is always to educate and help people find out things
they never knew,” she said. “We wanted the audience to have fun,
see beauty, to push them to step out of the comfort zone.”
A 400-plus person audience attended the event. Upon entering the
student center Main Ballroom, performers of all ethnicities,
dressed in colorful costumes, mingled with the diverse crowd.
On either side of the room stood buffet tables complete with
salad, beef and broccoli, sticky rice, gyros, lumpia and
croissants. White, chocolate, marble and carrot cake also garnished
Ryan Marsden, a freshman mechanical engineering major, said the
food was his favorite part of the night.
“The food was really great,” he said.
The dinner was a joint event from Diversity Grant, the Residence
Hall Association and volunteers.
“We cooked (the food),” Lewis said. “We used the money from
Diversity Grant and RHA to buy it, we planned the menu, went
shopping and got up at 7:30 this morning to cook it.”
After the audience took their seats with their meals, the
First was the Cretan Dance Group. Despite technical
difficulties, the lights dimmed as the 10 dancers performed. Lewis
said that this group was one of the two that were not on-campus
“We tried to keep strictly to student organizations,” she said.
“But we got (the Crete dancers) through Demetri Tzortzis, the
treasurer of Third Cultural Diversity Group.”
The next performance, by the Asian-American Student Association,
was called the Mulan Fan Dance, in which four performers danced
with pink and blue fans.
The third performance was by the group PhantAsia.
Michaela Luna, a senior with a double major in human development
and family studies and Spanish and a PhantAsia dancer, said the
group incorporates multi-cultural dance moves with hip-hop.
“We use dance moves from all over the world,” Luna said. “We try
to promote cultural diversity.”
This was the first time PhantAsia was part of this program and
Luna said the group was excited to participate.
“They asked us to perform,” Luna said. “I think it went really
well. The food was good and it was cool to see different dance
groups. They incorporated other cultures: belly dancing, Aztec,
hip-hop and they encouraged the audience to try it. They wanted to
spread awareness about diversity.”
The other off-campus group, Quetzalcoatl, performed Aztec dance.
This was followed by hip-hop dance performed by Monique Lewis,
Brandon Lewis, Eric Hunter and Karimot Gamu entitled “A Family
The last performers of the evening were Rice Productions, belly
dancing and a Philippines dance with bamboo sticks.
Alfred Flores, the director of Apartment Life and originator of
Third Culture Diversity Group, explained how the group was started
to appeal to Third Culture Kids (TCK).
“It’s a term that was coined in the 1960s by a team of
psychologists,” Flores said, “It described children in their
formative years, children that have grown up in multiple
Flores said he met Mikyong (Miky) Kim, the current president of
Third Culture Diversity Group, and they decided to start the group
“She fit the profile of a third culture kid but said she wasn’t
familiar with it,” Flores said. “It was helpful for her to belong
to a cultural entity.”
Flores and Kim handed out fliers and they held their first
meeting in the International House. About 20 students drank tea and
watched a video profiling the global nomadic experience.
“My vision was to get a small group to come together and swap
stories,” Flores said. “Miky (Kim) wanted to make a student
organization that could make connections within the U.S. and
Flores said there are gifts and challenges to living the third
“The gifts are building bridges,” Flores said. “It is the
ability to understand different cultural frameworks at an earlier
Monique Lewis said that while the group only has about six
devoted members, it is always looking for more.
“We are looking for more people to be a part of our group,”
Lewis said. “We’re looking for people wanting to build
Lewis said that she hopes that the success of this event will
lead to another festival next year.
“I’m hoping for this to continue,” she said. “We are going to
try to recruit as much as we can this spring because some of us
aren’t going to be here next year.”
Collegian reporter Kim Barone contributed to this report.