Transcontinental Talent

This past Saturday, following the International Food Festival, the International Talent Show offered its own refreshing taste of global culture, in a fun and light-hearted performance that was truly entertaining, if a little rough around the edges. Hosted by the International Club in Kemper Auditorium, the short program began with a lesson in languages. Emcee Mia Kanak ’06 ran onstage clad in a beautiful silver kimono and energetically burst into fast-paced Japanese. Stefanos Kasselakis ’05, co-emcee and president of International Club, wandered in, dressed incongruously in a ninja outfit. He addressed Mia seriously in Greek, his consternation apparent as he realized that she could not understand his words. Their hilarious dialogue accelerated as they switched from language to language, Chinese to French to Spanish, in an attempt to communicate. Finally, Mia cried, “English! Do you speak English?!” And the show began. For the first act, Todd Kwao-vovo ’06 and Mr. Graeme Griffith, husband to Pine Knoll Cluster Dean Linda Carter Griffith, took the stage in a captivating African Drumming routine. Mr. Griffith kept the basic beat as Kwao-vovo’s hands fluttered, a blur, across his drum. Daniel Seo ’08’s performance of the mournful Korean song “Boot-jap-go-do” provided sharp contrast to the African Drumming. Seo sang and accompanied himself on piano, stretching to impressively high pitches with heavy emotion. In one of the most entertaining acts of the night, Fahad Missmar ’06 and Rashmi Bhat ’06 shook onstage to perform an Arabic-Indian dance. Minor initial difficulties with their music and a few rough edges during the performance were quickly overlooked because the performers were having so much fun. Adorned in colorful traditional clothing, they shook their chests and hips together, performing some moves reminiscent of the “booty-call.” The audience loved it and filled Kemper with laughs. Next, Susan Ho ’06 sang a Chinese pop song, dressed the part, as always, in a funky skirt and blazer. After Ho, Vaishali Grover ’05, performed an Indian dance entitled “Bharat Matyam.” With her beautiful red-gold costume and traditional music, the act provided an authentic insight into Indian and a chance to witness a lesser-known art form. The final and best act of the show was a rendition of English pop star Robbie Williams’ “Let Me Entertain You,” performed by a band of International and American students. The song was well chosen; energetic, fun, and entertaining, and brought the audience to their feet. The International Fashion Show made a great grand finale to the show. Students paraded through Kemper wearing traditional clothing from around the world; outfits from Honduras to China, Thailand to Saudi Arabia. Each put their own personality onto the catwalk, with a traditional bow, a twirl, or Italy’s leather jacket and hair flip. Said audience member Nico Lanson ’07, “I thought that the costumes were amazing because, for me, they distinguished countries’ cultures.” The International Festival gave a taste of distinct flavors from around the world – complete with diverse refreshment and a heaping plate of fun.