DeKALB — Members of the Thai dance group, the Indonesian student group, the Tagalog class, and members of the Foreign Language Residence Program all performed traditional dances or sang traditional songs at Culture Fest on Thursday in the Campus Life Building, room 100.
Culture Fest was organized by Southeast Asian Club and the Foreign Language Residence Program and featured many posters about the various parts of Southeast Asia.
“We’re here to showcase what people can see from our country and at the same time, showcase our talents to entertain the audience in celebration of international education,” John Paul Dela Rosa, teaching assistant for a Tagalog class, said.
The Culture Fest shows the interconnectedness between Asian American students. It helps to make our community more aware of the different cultures on campus, Amy Bounnavong from the Asian American Association said.
“I’m Lao, which is nextdoor to Thai, which means it’s very similar to my language,” Jasmine Meunekithirath, junior Laotian student, said. “So, I’m learning about the culture because I didn’t really grow up knowing it. It’s nice to understand my culture more and be able to speak to my family better.”
Unlike previous Culture Fests, this year’s was centered on performances, Adam Reedy, graduate student in sociology, said.
The Tagalog class put on three different performances, one was a classic Tagalog song about loyalty and love called “Kahit Maputi ang Buhok Ko.” They stood side by side, most wearing a plain white t-shirt with a colored scarf wrapped around their neck. In the middle, one student played the ukulele for the other students to sing along to.
The next was a traditional Filipino dance known as “Tinikling.” Two people held two bars parallel to each other and clacked them together to the beat of the song. The two dancers were barefoot and danced around the bar, careful not to get caught on it.
Their final performance was a zumba dance by Inigo Pascual called “Dahil Sa’yo” in which they pulled members from the audience to join their routine. Everyone was in a group following the zumba dance routine that played on the projector.
Bunga Mastari, teaching assistant for an Indonesian language class, performed her own solo dance. She wore a yellow headdress with a matching yellow dress and captivated the audience with her dancing -- the crowd was silent as they took pictures and videos to commemorate the performances.
“The Culture Fest is a good avenue for people to appreciate other cultures, cultures other than the usual cultures we have here in the U.S. which we should still recognize and appreciate,” Dela Rosa said.