STORY BY ANGELA UFHEIL
Students at Drake University traveled the world in one evening on Saturday.
International Night, the annual show organized by the International Student Association (ISA), took place Nov. 9 in Sheslow Auditorium.
For $2, students and members of the Des Moines community enjoyed traditional performances and a dinner served in Parents Hall composed of foods from various countries, such as Kenya and Thailand.
Undral Munkhchuluun, from Mongolia, is the International Night Chair, said she was excited to be in charge of the event.
“As an international student, I’ve seen a lot of what’s different in the United States,” Munkhchuluun said. “I wanted to portray the other side.”
Munkhchuluun was pleased with the attendance. Two hundred and fifty tickets for the dinner were sold, but students could attend the performance for free. ISA members estimate that more than 300 people were in the audience.
Numerous Drake cultural groups performed at International Night, including members of El Rítmo Latino, South Asian Student Association (SASA) and the African Student Association. Other students performed a K-pop dance from Korea. A popular Chinese song featured the Gu Zheng, a traditional Chinese instrument.
The audience clapped along and cheered during each performance. Junior Danielle McKay said this was her third year attending International Night.
“It’s really cool to see the different performances, because they change every year,” McKay said.
McKay shared that her favorite performance was the dance performed by SASA member Nikita Khara. Khara collaborated with hip-hop dancer Anthony Pawnell, creating a fusion between a traditional Indian dance, called Bharatanatyam, and Pawnell’s break-dancing style.
“It was fun to see the two styles,” McKay said. “Looking from Nikita to Anthony, you could see the differences in style. But it was seamless.”
To maintain that seamless feeling, Munkhchuluun had to be creative when choosing the theme for the show.
“Basically, International Night is about sharing everyone’s traditions,” Munkhchuluun said. “It’s hard to put all that together in one script.”
The International Night Committee chose the theme “Time After Time” to tie the show together. Between each performance, two actors put on a skit about time travelling.
“The idea of time travelling made it easier to explain how the audience was able to jump from place to place,” Munkhchuluun said.
International Night concluded with a fashion show displaying traditional clothing from around the world. Each county’s flag was displayed as outfits ranging from Ghana and Austria to Malaysia and many others were shown.
Munkhchuluun assembled a committee of more than 50 students to meet the demands of the event.
One member of the committee Kok Kuan Ong, head of logistics, said a challenge was Sheslow’s limited availability.
“We could only rehearse two days, and one of those rehearsals was the morning of the event,” Ong said. “That made it more challenging to get everything figured out.”
Ong said that he was happy with the execution of the program.
“We had to make sure everyone was on the same page with movement of props, music and lighting,” Ong said. “Once we had the timing figured out, it went pretty smoothly.”
Overall, members of ISA considered International Night a success, and hoped to include even more cultures in the future.
“By showcasing your culture, you’ll be able to open other people’s eyes to your perspective of the world,” Ong said. “It helps bring people together.”