By Molly Brice, Contributor
The sixth annual International Dance Festival transcended the confines of McAlister Auditorium through its celebration of global songs and dance, spanning from South America to South Korea, Thurs. March 16. The showcase was sponsored by the Furman University International Student Association (FUISA) and featured six dances inspired from around the world. The International Dance Festival showcased multiple cultures of different countries in an effort to highlight the rich diversity of international students on Furman’s campus. Before commencing the performance, the main organizer, Samikshya Pandey, a junior from Nepal, emphasized the importance of appreciating the cultural significance behind these performances, even if they seemed unfamiliar to members of the audience.
Prior to the six performances of the night, each performing group compiled a video that gave the audience a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the months of preparation for the festival, which began this January. Through the course of these two months, FUISA reached out to the community to help each group find Furman students interested in lending their talents to the festival.
The first performance of the night presented Chinese culture through two dances that contrasted traditional style with a more contemporary approach. The traditional dance utilized fans and classical dress as a central part of the dance, while the modern style was set to a faster pace song with current clothing. Although these two styles were distinct, they both maintained a graceful ease and breezy dynamic. The next performance highlighted Indian Culture through a tribute to Bollywood, the film and entertainment industry in India. The Bollywood industry heavily influences this country’s vibrant culture. What’s more, rightly colored costumes reflected the joyful tone of the performance, which was broken up into three songs. The third dance highlighted the culture of Germany through ballroom style performed by the incredibly in sync couple, Finja Titen and William Blackwell. The next performance highlighted Korean Pop, K-pop, which has been a growing trend over the past decade that illuminates the thriving Korean popular culture. This performance featured sharp movements that coordinated closely with the lyrics and beats of the songs that set the backdrop of the dance.
The fifth performance, Hispanic Fusion, utilized traditional Latin American music and dances peppered with contemporary hits, such as “Climax” by Usher. This performance began dramatically with five couples on stage, and then progressed to reveal influences from Latin American dance styles like the salsa and the bachata. Closing the night, four Furman women celebrated several different styles of dance throughout the countries of Africa in their African Fusion performance. The African Fusion dance compiled different songs to reflect the wide range of musical choices across the continent.
Through the International Dance Festival, Pandey stated that FUISA hopes that the event “does not simply become an entertainment show, but actually helps student realize the diversity that exists in Furman, and encourages all of us to engage in conversation and learn about different cultures.”