Friday, March 23
First up for Culture Night 2018 was Hawaii. The club took the stage in the Cannon Activities Center with the women wearing bright yellow dresses and the men in white shirts and shorts. A traditional hula was performed with a live band with students singing. After the hula, pu’ili sticks were used, followed by another hula.
The Ballroom Club was next. Its performance was dedicated to the different styles of ballroom dance, highlighting where they came from and accompanying them with modern songs. First was a swing dance originating from New York. Next was a dance from Cuba, the cha-cha, followed by a tango from Argentina. The group then travelled to Brazil with a samba and finished with a Viennese waltz from Germany.
Africa performed after the Ballroom Club. It kicked off its performance by reenacting a scene from “The Lion King” and had a stuffed lion that was held up. The rest of the group then joined the floor dressed in red, green, and yellow and had their faces painted.
After its performance, the Hong Kong Club followed. The dance started with a traditional lion dance accompanied by a drum and cymbals. Following that, tribute was paid for Bruce Lee, which was then followed by a hip-hop number. A dragon then burst onto the floor as the club then performed a traditional dragon dance. The lights then shut off and the dragon lit up with color and light. Students then filled the floor once again with finger lights and glowing hats and vests and danced to another upbeat song.
Following Hong Kong’s performance, the emcees invited students to play a game. Groups of students were invited to come to the floor on a first-come, first-served basis to play charades. The winning group received tickets to “A Night of Music and Comedy” featuring music by Josh Tatofi and comedy by Augie T.
Next up was the New Zealand Club. Students filled the floor with very little empty space. The performance began with a chant and then the group coming together in song before breaking into a dance. Afterwards, the women performed with poi balls. The floor was then cleared for the men to perform a haka. The club closed its performance with the group coming together in the front and everyone singing once again. Live music was performed throughout the group’s performance.
Indonesia then came to the floor, starting with a video about the country. After the video, a group of men dressed in grass skirts armed with spears came forward and danced. The lights dimmed, allowing members of the club to come onto the floor dressed in all black and red or white, the colors of the Indonesian flag. The students then performed a traditional Indonesian dance called the saman, where dancers form a single line and move and clap their hands in rhythmic, synchronized pattern.
Brazil and Portugal performed next, showcasing different aspects of their cultures, starting with a Brazilian martial-arts-style dance called capoeira and four students performing fútbol tricks. The women of the group then took the stage, dressed in carnivalesque outfits, dancing to upbeat music.
After them, the Hip Hop Club danced onto the floor. Dressed in all black, the dancers performed different hip-hop numbers. Following them, the emcees introduced another game where the audience was encouraged to turn to the person next to them, introduce themselves, and then talk about different subjects that were presented.
After a break, Kiribati came to the floor with a traditional tirere dance, where each dancer had a foot-long stick and kept rhythm with the accompanying song. The performance was dedicated to a recent tragedy that struck the island in January 2018 when the ferry, M.V. Butiraoi, carrying a ship full of students sank. A dance was then performed to pay further respects to those affected.
Following them, Cook Islands began with a chant that led into a dance performed to a more upbeat song. The traditional dance from the Cook Islands, called the Maori Ura, was then performed. The dance involves men and women dancing vigorously to tell a story. Following the custom, it was accompanied by live drummers.
Promptly following the Cook Islands performance, an announcement was made to remind audience to remain in their seats and not jump into the performances. According to the emcees, performers put a lot of hard work into the arrangements they would be performing and did not want anyone to take away from the experience.
Taiwan came next starting its performance with students playing drums and recorders to the tune of Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” while two more students fought with staffs. Dances were performed to pop music with a hip hop number to finish.
Closing out Friday night was Samoa. After announcing the final group, the crowd roared in excitement. Live music with drums and stringed instruments filled the back of the performing area. Samoa began with a group of men with glow-in-the-dark twirling batons. After them, the women, dressed in bright yellow dresses, began a dance with the men joining in at the end. The performance built in energy and excitement, becoming more and more intense as the performance came closer to its end. As the performance was coming to a close, the lights were cut early as students and community ran onto the floor throwing money when they were asked not to do it right before the Samoan performance.
Saturday, March 24
Japan kicked off Saturday beginning with a sumo wrestler battling it out against different characters in Japanese culture such as Goku, Monkey D. Luffy, and a Japanese war general before ultimately losing to Kishidan. The rest of the club then took the stage and danced to pop music dressed in street clothes. To close, the group created a giant pyramid with a flag that had Japan and some Japanese characters in large print.
Up next was the Melanesia Club. The club showcased dances from the islands of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands; blending the different styles of dance into one performance.
After the performance, a clean-up crew ran onto the floor and swept the debris off the floor quickly. The audience cheered and roared with applause as they swept the last few pieces off.
Following Melanesia was China. Dressed in red robes with long flowy sleeves, the dancers took the floor and performed a traditional dance with arm movements highlighting their costumes. Next, one female took center stage continuing with a Chinese traditional sleeve ribbon dance, spinning and twirling around the floor. The club finished with a contemporary piece telling a love story.
The cleaning crew ran onto the floor again. This time, they got the spotlight and the crowd went wild cheering for them.
The Thailand Club then entered the stage. It began with a traditional northern Thai dance called the fon lep, where dancers wear long fingernails that elaborated their finger movements to add artistic style to the dance. The men then took the floor and performed a muay Thai-style dance. Dancers fought to a fast tempo drum beat.
After Thailand, another intermission took place where the emcees called for three married couples to come to the floor to play a version of “The Newlywed Game.” Five questions were asked, ranging from who is the cleanest in the relationship, what show would you binge watch together, and who has the most shoes. The prize for this game was two dinners to L&L Barbecue.
Following intermission was Tahiti. Live music was performed as the group entered the floor with the first group of women performing a classic dance. The men, dressed in black lava lavas adorned with grass head and leg bands, joined in. Closing its performance, the men performed a Marquesan bird dance and a male haka. During the bird dance, there was a female soloist spotlighted.
Up next was Latin America. The first group took the stage with men in white button-ups and black shorts and the women with white tops and flowing red skirts. Pop music played and club members danced. Following that number, a second group came to stage to perform to music from the movie “Coco.” Keanu Dellona dressed up as Coco with a guitar and danced around while three couples danced in the background. The rest of the club then took the floor with partners and danced to more Latino pop songs. At the close of it performance, flags of the Latin American countries were brought out and the group gathered together in the center of the floor.
The Philippines Club then came on stage. Students were dressed in different styles of costumes representing four different festivals and cultures of the Philippines. Beginning was a group dressed as local tribesmen wielding a shields and spears. Then women in red dresses and gold jewelry took the floor with men wearing gold vests brandishing golden swords. The next group of women came onto the floor with flower props. The last group, dressed in bright neon colors with masks attached to the back of their heads allowed them to dance themselves and use the masks as another person. The groups faded in and out of each other before ultimately coming together at the end.
The Singapore and Malaysia Club followed them. As the club members entered the stage, a soothing melody was played on traditional instruments. The dance highlighted a male soloist, dancing in a circle with nine women until they filed out leaving him alone with just one other dancer. The group representing Malaysia then flooded the floor wearing a rainbow variety of colors and performed Bollywood-style dances.
Another brief intermission was taken, this time recognizing the hard work of those who work behind the scenes to put Culture Night together. Recognition was also given to Elvin Laceda, student founder of RiceUp, who won this year’s Enactus award.
Following the intermission, Mongolia performed. The club began with a hip-hop number. Then switching to a more traditional dance, women dressed in red and green dresses took the floor and finished off the group’s performance.
Fiji came next with a performance that told the story of a fisherman falling in love with the chief’s daughter, who was set to marry someone else. After she runs away, the chief finds his daughter and sees she is truly in love and lets the couple stay together. They are married and the accompanying dance celebrates the joy felt among the performers.
Korea then took the floor beginning with a traditional drum performance with buks, janggus, and other drums. A second group of the performance then came to the floor, all women wearing red and pink dresses performed a buchaechum, a traditional Korean fan dance. The dancers synchronized their movements to create pictures and waves. Closing their performance, the women pulled out new fans of red and blue and created a circle in the middle while others on the outside held up flags of black to create the Korean flag.
The finale for Culture Night 2018 was Tonga. Before its presentation began, the Tongan Club president thanked everyone for being there and through tears expressed his desire that everyone would respect the hard work and dedication that the students had prepared to show that night and asked audience members to not come down on the floor. The men started the presentation dressed in white shirts and red lava lavas topped with grass skirt. They began with a war dance using spears later in performance. Afterwards, the women came on and performed a dance and the men joined in later. As one of the largest groups, the floor was crowded with people and there was almost no open space.
After Tonga’s performance, a member of the club concluded with a prayer and Culture Night came to a close.