Although it got off to a bit of a slow start, Fusion of Cultures soon picked up and jumped around quickly from one act to another. In an effort to keep people around until the end, the schedule of events was hidden from the audience, but I kind of liked the uncertainty, especially since I didn’t gain anything by knowing who was up next.

First of all, the food. There was a range of Hispanic, Middle Eastern, and African cuisine, and let’s just make it clear that all of it was absolutely delicious. There may be a variety of finals breakfasts and meals around campus, but this kind of food is rare and should be cherished. I drank a sweet Mango Lassi while munching on fried plantains, refried beans and hummus, to name a few of the dishes that I can remember.

Pictured: Not Dining Hall Food

The best part about the food was that it was not even the best part. We (the audience) watched a number of dance routines juxtaposed with poetry readings, videos, and even a fashion show.

Translated Poetry Reading
Translated Poetry Reading

As I’m sure we were supposed to see, the variety of cultures that we saw were surprisingly similar. Yes the exact dance moves differed, but all of them had an invigorating, sophisticated quality that one does not normally see at a frat party.

Pictured: A typical frat party
Pictured: A typical frat party


Furthermore, the poetry read was heated, especially in the weak of recent national tragedies. It is a sad fact that much of what we heard was characterized by oppression and discrimination, but that is the truth of our world for people other than white heterosexual males.

Best of all, I think, the room was packed. This season has been especially filled with protests and anger in our society, and Fusion of Cultures was a reminder of why we want and need to celebrate diversity in the United States. Throughout the night I watched dozens of talented individuals perform for a packed room and everyone was enjoying their evening. To me, that fit perfectly with the name of the event.


PREVIEW: Fusion of Cultures

Fusion of Cultures


Fusion of Cultures

When: Saturday, December 6th

Where: Michigan Union Ballroom

Cost: FREE

Fusion of Cultures is an event where many multi-ethnic groups on campus come together and showcase different aspects of their culture.

What kinds of things will be there? Dancing, Singing, Theater, and of course FREE FOOD from around the world.

Brought to you this year by:
The African Students Association(ASA), The Arab Students Association (ASA), The Persian Students Association (PSA), The Pakistani Students Association (PSA), Michigan Pakistanis (MPak) and The Michigan Latino Assembly (MLA)!!!!!

The link to the Facebook event is HERE.

PREVIEW: Autumn Fest – Performance with a Purpose

Where can you find ComCo, Angels On Call, Groove, the Compulsive Lyres, the Michigan Magician Society, Arabian Dance Ensemble and the Violin Monster all sharing the same stage? Autumn Fest, of course!

What: The second annual variety show put on by Appreciate + Reciprocate, a University of Michigan student organization which raises money for the LSA Emergency Scholarship Fund.

When: Wednesday, October 22 at 8:00 pm

Where: Lydia Mendelssohn Theater in the Michigan League

How Much: $3 in advance and $5 at the door

Buy your tickets at the Mason Hall Posting Wall, October 16-17th and 20-22nd 9am-4pm, and join the Facebook event for a reminder.

All of the profits from the show will go to support Appreciate + Reciprocate’s newly established scholarship, which benefits Michigan students who suffer from financial crises, so no student has to drop out due to costs! For the price of one ticket, you can sample many great local talents, as well as treat yourself to a dose of good karma.

For more information about Appreciate+Reciprocate, check out

Review: Cabaret


The Musical Theater Department at Michigan is a wonderful group of highly talented individuals who love their craft. Every performance put on by the department has been well crafted and cast. The skills and passions of these student performers are infectious, especially if you happen to know two or three of them personally.
Cabaret is a very emotional production. Set in Weimar Berlin in the lead up to the rise of the Nazi party, the plot follows Cliff Bradshaw, the American novelist who falls in love with Sally Bowels, a Berlin night club performer. Their lives are tossed between the volatile political circumstances of 1930s Germany and the sordid sexual lifestyle of the Kit Kat Klub.
The performances of Sally, Cliff the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub and the club performers were stunning. The vocal and physical talents of the actors and dancers drew the audience into the emotional experiences of the characters in 1930s Berlin.
Based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel “Goodbye to Berlin,” and John Van Druten’s play “I Am a Camera,” Cabaret is a multi-award winning Broadway production. The production is staged at the University of Michigan for one more weekend. Be sure to reserve your tickets before they are all sold out:
Thursday Oct. 16 – 7:30pm, Friday Oct. 17 – 8:00, Saturday Oct. 18 – 8:00, Sunday Oct. 19 – 2:00 – At the Mendelssohn Theater
Tickets: $10 Students, $22-$28 general admissions

PREVIEW: Collage Concert at Hill

Who: The School of Music, Theater and Dance

What: A collection of pieces by students for you, the audience.

Where: Hill Auditorium

When: 8 PM

Cost: $10 with a student ID

This Saturday
This Saturday

The collage concert is just that–a collection of student pieces interweaving aspects of dance, music, and theater all into one. This year the concert celebrates the 100th anniversary of Hill Auditorium, so it should be especially awesome.

As the Michigan Daily puts it: “The ensemble conductors and selected groups collaborated to form a diverse and kaleidoscopic program. The wide variety of performance material and participating groups should make the concert appealing to an audience with diverse tastes and expose the participants to new kinds of performance.”


REVIEW: UMS presents Ballet Preljocaj

Thought-provoking, inspiring, and very bizarre, Ballet Preljocaj’s performance of And Then, One Thousand Years of Peace was how I spent my outstanding Friday night. The performance had everything from enormous plastic sheets, 15-foot metal block-wall-things, frighteningly-athletic dancers, and two baby sheep. It was truly spectacular.

The subject of the dance was the apocalypse. As the dancers fought, made passionate love, crouched and swayed, the audience felt the earth crumble and collapse. They performed a few routines using flags of different countries of the world, soaking them in water and whipping them out to dry. As the full arc of the show came to a resolution, all the flags lay dampened on stage. Two baby sheep were released next on the stage, symbolizing a sort of rebirth of civilization, in my opinion. That part was a little much. I was so distracted by the sheep and nervous that they were going to run off stage that I kind of forgot I was watching a dance performance. There was an air pocket in one of the wet flags and one sheep was poking it until finally it daringly leapt over the bubble. With that final image, the dancers faded into the blackness and the curtain fell. It was weird, but awesome all at once. I left the performance breathless and awestruck.

This dance struck me as more complex than any other dance performance I’d ever seen. The dancers moved so fast for so long during the show; I felt breathless. They had a bunch of different props too! The metal block-wall-things, sheep, plaster sheets, silver trays, metal-helmet contraptions, books, and chairs. It was raw and sharp. One of the most memorable moments was when a series of metal chains fell from the ceiling. They would drop two, as one man danced below. And I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about this – I certainly hadn’t – but when chains fall, they fall in a straight line before crumbling to the ground with a sharp clang. It was super cool and added to the intensity of the performance.

As an intern at UMS, I got to ask people what they thought of the show and record their reactions after the performance. I talked to a few dance majors who were so astounded and inspired by the performance that they could hardly contain their enthusiasm. Others felt that the performance was strange, albeit beautifully done. I didn’t hear any overtly negative reviews. The harshest criticism I overheard was just: “What was that about?” (To see some of the video clips of reactions check out this page on the UMS Lobby website!) There’s something in letting go while watching these sorts of performances – you have to just sit back and let the show wash over you. I think this is why dance, especially modern dance, takes some viewing experience. I’ve found that the more modern dance I see, the more I am able to let go and just roll with the performance without overly analyzing what I’m seeing.

Thanks to UMS for bringing this immensely-talented dance company!

P.S. If you liked this (or think you would have), be sure to check out Compagnie Käfig when they come to UMS in February!