Feb 222004
 
Authors: Erin Skarda

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

the tables.

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

performances began.

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

groups.

“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

Affair.”

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

cultures.”

Flores said he met Mikyong (Miky) Kim, the current president of

Third Culture Diversity Group, and they decided to start the group

together.

“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

internationally.”

Flores said there are gifts and challenges to living the third

culture lifestyle.

“The gifts are building bridges,” Flores said. “It is the

ability to understand different cultural frameworks at an earlier

age.”

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

bridges.”

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.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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