Culture, dance combine at Gala

By Megan Jicha

Sights, sounds, colors, movements and people from different cultures across the world came together in a display of song and dance at Blackman Auditorium on Sunday.

The International Student ‘ Scholar Institute (ISSI) and other student groups presented the ninth annual International Gala Night in an effort to help promote cultural understanding.

“The event’s purpose was to entertain people and give an awareness to the different cultures around the world represented during the performances,” said Shafik N. Bahou, a sophomore theatre and behavioral neuroscience double major and one of the emcees of the evening.

The audience viewed forms of well-known cultural dance, like salsa and belly dancing, as well as less familiar dances like Bhangra, an Indian dance, which originated from Punjab and is performed to celebrate the harvest. Garba, another Indian folk dance, is performed on Navratri, a nine-night festival that celebrates the Goddess Ambika. Both Bhangra and Garba were performed by students from NU Sanskriti, the Indian Graduate Student Association.

Also, the Aftab Iranian Dance Group, consisting of performers from Northeastern, Tufts and Boston University, performed a Persian dance to the music of “Eshveh” by Bijan Mortazavi, a well-known Iranian violinist.

The Northeastern African Students Organization (NASO) performed a colorful African dance filled with energy and NU Barkada performed a high energy modern hip hop dance titled “Kinematix.”

All of the presentations from the different cultures exposed students to cultures they may have never been introduced to.

“It’s cool to see all the ethnic groups on campus coming together all at once. It’s good that people can come together and celebrate the different cultures together,” said Dany Shaffer, a freshman anthropology major.

Bahou said it is one of ISSI goals to portray all of the cultures represented at Northeastern and therefore are always open to anyone who wishes to perform at the International Gala Night each year.

“We are non-discriminatory and therefore open to all cultures and open to the expression of all cultures,” he said.

Although International Carnevale 2006 will come to a close at the end of March, the ISSI still urges students to go out and experience different countries and cultures on their own.

“Learning about different cultures can occur all year long,” Bahou said.

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