Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Culture without Borders. It sounds like a beautiful thing, and it is. The International Festival at West Chester University was held last week on campus. Culture without Borders is the slogan for the event that was held at the E.O. Bull Center and the Philips Autograph Library. Tuesday night, Oct. 2, was the International Dances portion of the program. Several clubs and student organizations performed throughout the night.

Opening the festival was the Latin American Student Organization (LASO). Several members of LASO came out dancing to a mix of bomba, bachata and salsa. The students did a few numbers and then invited members of the audience down to join in. Many members of the audience rushed the stage to join in on the fun.

Members of LASO then taught some dance steps to the audience. They finished off their set with two members of LASO freestyling an impressive salsa dance.

“The freestyle was impressive. Very skillful and entertaining,” fourth-year student Josh Harris said.

Following the LASO performance, the Spanish club had their turn. They invited singer and guitarist J. Ricardo Basto.

Basto, a talented vocalist and solo acoustic guitarist, performed songs from different countries. Cuba, Spain and Costa Rica were among some of the countries he accredited the songs to. While performing, the Spanish Club had a slide show in the background with photos from different Latin countries. The photos showed landscapes, people and cities through Central and South America.

After a small intermission, Professor Yoko Sinclair from the Theater and Dance department performed a traditional, tea-picking Japanese dance. In full Japanese attire, Sinclair glided across the stage. When completed, she invited members of the audience to join her in the dance. The audience members really seemed to enjoy learning the steps.

To finish up the night, Matt Cochran, a member of the Russian Club, presented a PowerPoint on “The Venona Project: A History of the National Security Administration.” The presentation was very in-depth and full of detail.

The Venona Project was a highly secretive project between the Unites States and the United Kingdom, mostly during World War II, to decipher codes by the Soviet Union. During the presentation, Pirozhkis were passed out to the crowd. Pirozhkis are a Russian pastry filled with mushrooms that are very popular in Russia.

The night was a success and was organized well. Professors Ana Sanchez and Celia Esplugas ran the event and were the emcees.

Other events for the festival included the opening night, which contained Latin American Music by Paprika. Wednesday night belonged to Tony Bird.

Bird, an African Native, had a video discussion titled “The World Around Us: Devastation and Genocide.” To close out the festival, an international dinner was held Thursday night with special guest Fikile Magubane, Consul General of South Africa.

The event was a huge success and will be held again the same time next year.

Craig Gould is a fourth-year student majoring in ommunication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at CG576796@wcupa.edu.

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