Multicultural showcase on campus

Page Commons was filled with colors as variable and bright as the multitude of flags spread throughout the space on April 11. The 30th annual International Extravaganza, hosted by the International Club (or I-Club), celebrates and showcases the talent of the many nationalities that make up the Colby student body. As I-Club Co-President Bach Nguyen ’15 said, “[the Extravaganza] has both entertainment value and educational value [that work to] show the local community the world’s many cultures.” The I-Club, which boasts 100 students from 55 countries, put together a program with 16 different acts, ranging from singing and dancing to poetry reading and a fashion show.

The event began with a short “live feed” from MCs Kah-Wing Lui ‘15 and Ernel Murati ’15, casually sipping drinks at the Marchese Pub before being notified that they’re needed on stage. In this space of time, they discussed their plans of traveling around the world, a feat that would be completed in the following 100 minutes.

The first act was “The Ballad of Mulan,” performed by a group of Chinese students who used a mixture of pantomime, dance and narration to tell the intrepid story of the woman who would become a legendary warrior. As a finale, the group performed the Cantonese/Mandarin version of the song Reflections, featured in the popular Disney adaption. This was followed by a Afro-Latin American dance duet, where the dances transitioned seamlessly between the two styles. Molika Tashin ’15 followed the act with a version of “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion, where she translated the song into nine different languages, representing the many cultures and people who have influenced her time at Colby.

An acoustic performance of “Horse,” a Russian folk song, was then performed, before Vuvuzela, Colby’s African dance group, took the stage. From Africa, the performance traveled north to Turkey, where Kardelen Koldas ’15 performed Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet’s “On Living” in the original language.

In one of the most unique acts of the night, Hiya Islam ’15 and three other students performed “I am,” an original poem critiquing Colby’s view of diversity, combining sections of Colby diversity statements, hypotheticals, ignorant student questions and personal anecdotes. The poem would prove to be the political apex of the night.

Shama Ramos ’15 and several other students followed the poetry with a dance to Zara Larsson’s “Rooftops,” a Swedish pop song. From there, we headed back to Asia and watched a dance rendition of “Little Apple,” the winner of the Best International Song at the 2014 American Music Awards. To India the performance moved, where Haransh Singh ‘18 play the Tabla, a drum originating from Northern India. A Korean Pop mashup came next, performed by student artists including Sohee Lee ’18.

Weston Muench ’18 took the stage next and played an original song, inspired by his time in Patagonia and Southern Chile. Cecil Brooks ’17 then returned and impressed the crowd by rapping a Latin American song in Spanish. After Vuvuzela returned to the stage and performed to “Dangerous Love” by Fuse ODG, Colby Taiko took the stage. In his introduction, Taiko President Dylan Park ’16 noted that their Japanese drum group would perform a song composed by a German Taiko group, a true testament to the benefits of diversity. In the last act, a large group of students, led by Meghna Diwan ’15 and Deeksha Iyer ’15, came together to perform several intricate Bollywood dances.

To close the night, the MCs returned to the stage and presided over the annual fashion show, where students showcased their nation’s traditional attire. In the show, students represented a variety of places, including Ghana, China, Japan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Bolivia, Germany, Vietnam, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and “20 minutes outside of Boston.” With a final bow, the show ended and the audience was directed to the Pugh Center, where a buffet of Indian food had been set up.

Nguyen said that the “best thing [about the show] is always when the show comes together and is awesome. It’s great to hear the audience laugh and have people applaud you for all the hard work you put in.”

“Considering the loud applause, I think we succeeded in making the show fun and interesting for a lot of people, and hopefully they’ll remember it.”

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