When my friend and I arrived at the venue, over an hour before the show started and still minutes before the doors opened, we were surprised to see a long line already waiting for us. As we waited to be let into the theater to claim our seats, those around us mingled and greeted each other like old friends, immediately establishing a comfortable atmosphere. My friend and I delighted in the fact that the event had not one, not two, but three separate geo-filters for snapchat devoted to it. By the time the show was about to begin, the theater was absolutely packed, almost every seat on the ground floor was filled.
Finally, the show began and our three hosts for the night walked onto stage. The show was divided into two parts with a 15 minute long intermission in between. Each part had a good mix of performances and other various short segments, such as some vocal performances, quite a few different energetic Dabke dances, and several short, humorous video clips that were played between segments. I also was impressed by the mix of tones they were able to balance throughout the night. There were several touching spoken word pieces about the struggles of being Arab in America, but immediately following it would be lively dance performance.
While all of the performances were enjoyable, there was a couple segments that particularly stood out to me. The first one was a video clip in which the Arab Student Association asked various students on the Diag basic questions, like if they could name 5 Arab countries or name a single friendly Arab character in American media. Only one student out of those interviewed could accurately name 5 separate countries, and everyone was stumped by the second question, revealing some real issues we have with representation in media. The other segment that particularly stood out to me was a fashion show, where students modeled the fashions of various Arab countries.
Overall it was a wonderful night, and I applaud the Arab Student Association for making everything run so smoothly. I can’t wait to attend Arab Xpressions 2018! The event was just one of the many events planned for this Arab Heritage month, you can check out the full schedule here!