Cultural performances, spring take center stage

By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor

Students can experience different cultures of the world at NE Campus’ annual International Festival April 9-11.

The festival will include a workshop dedicated to diversity and inclusion, dance performances, music ensembles, an art exhibit and martial arts.

NE student activities coordinator Cara Walker said the theme for this year’s event is “Dance Around the World.” Students can see native dances from Asia, South America and other places.

A unique style of dance that will be featured, Capoeira, was originated by Africans who were enslaved in Brazil. Slaves masked the martial art with dancing to throw off slave masters so they could learn how to defend themselves.

Spanish associate professor Erika Barragan said the idea for the theme came from different organizations on campus having dance-themed events.

“The dance department was showcasing Korean dance, and we have had performers who came through student activities with samba and salsa exhibitions,” she said. “So we thought it would be a good idea to put an event together so students could experience them in one day.”

NE’s music program will have a Latin jazz combo to show the influence that Latin culture has had on jazz music with its own sub-genre.

The diversity and inclusion workshop will focus on cultural awareness, understanding and communication. Also, the workshop will feature practitioners of different faiths and religions to showcase how their religions practice tolerance.

A screening of Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights will be shown to give insight into the Cuban dance culture.

The conclusion of the International Festival will include the campus’ annual Spring Fest, which will include music, vendors and different booths from different student organizations.

Walker said the International Festival will entertain students but also challenge them.

“I want students to appreciate different attires, food, music outside their comfort zone,” she said.