PREVIEW: 17th Annual Multicultural Greek Exhibition

The Multicultural Greek Exhibition (MGX) hosted by Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated is tomorrow: Saturday, March 25th at 7:00 PM in the Michigan Union Rogel Ballroom. This event will be a collaboration between various multicultural greek organizations on campus, where they’ll give all kinds of performances expressing their pride and showcasing their greek traditions.

Last semester I attended the Yardshow, a similar event hosted in the Diag by Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Incorporated. It was an indescribable experience and certainly a night to remember, with one of the largest and most supportive crowds I’ve ever been a part of. Not only did I witness great performances, I also had a valuable learning experience regarding what multicultural greek life entails and how it differentiates itself from other kinds of fraternities and sororities. Through powerful dances and facial expressions, they showed the audience the significance of their values and history.

I can’t wait to see what MGX has in store, as they promised on their instagram (@lta_betaomicron) a “night full of energy”. The event is free and open to the public; there will also be a chance to participate in mini-games and win prizes.

If you’re still curious as to what kind of experience it may be, I recommend checking out my previous review on the Yardshow (no promises as to how alike they are though). However, the best and most accurate way to find out is by attending yourself tomorrow night!

PREVIEW: VSA’s Annual Đêm Việt Nam Culture Show

The Vietnamese Student Association is back for their annual culture show, Đêm Việt Nam (A Night in Vietnam), filled with traditional and modern dances to showcase Vietnamese culture.

The show follows the journey of a young girl trying to find her truth with this year’s theme — Find Your Light: Đi Tìm Ánh Sáng. This entirely student run show has over 120 student performers with 10 different dances and guest performers.

Ticket prices are $5 presale, $8 at the door for UM students, and $10 for general admission. Tickets can be reserved here and will be on sale at the Posting Wall in Mason Hall from January 22nd to January 26th from 10am – 4pm. All proceeds will go to Pacific Links Foundation to support the sustainable development of Vietnamese communities such as combating human trafficking, enhancing children’s education, and empowering women to become leaders. Visit the Facebook event page for more information on how to get tickets.

The night of enlightening culture will take place on Saturday, January 27 from 7-9pm in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater. Come on out to support an important cause and watch this story unfold onstage through the powerful language of dance.

REVIEW: IASA Cultural Show – Vistaara

Having grown up in a very American household, I was quite confused by the cultural differences in the IASA Cultural Show. I enjoyed the experience though, even though I was not able to appreciate it the way my Indian friends did.

I have heard jokes about “Indian standard time” and many of my Indian friends have told me that Indians always arrive late to events, but I did not believe this stereotype until I sat in Hill Auditorium from 7pm (the supposed start time) to 7:30 with my Indian friend, Bella, wondering when the show would start. To add to that, another Indian friend texted me at 8pm and told me he just arrived. And after the 4th act, the people sitting next to me finally arrived!

The theme, Vistaara, was prevalent throughout the performance but I didn’t notice it right away. Luckily, Bella explained that the first couple of pictures in the slide show were from movies and TV shows that were popular a long time ago, and the last couple pictures were ones from more recent films. The organizers of the show did the same thing for the music, choosing a mixture of old and new songs. At that point, part of me wished I were Indian so I would catch the references!

I watched the show and admired the costumes the way a tourist looks at a famous painting, noticing the colors and sparkles and comprehending the beauty in the costume, but not understanding the culture and history embedded in the piece of art. It was the same thing with the music; I loved the rhythm and melodies but I had no idea about the meaning or the cultural implications. Most of the songs were upbeat, and I found myself bouncing in my seat wishing I could stand up and dance with the performers!

When I realized that I enjoyed bollywood and bangra the most, I began to wonder whether it was because I was the most familiar with those two forms of dance. I thought about a previous post by Laurie about what it means to appreciate music (she wrote about the Itzhak Perlman concert in September). My friend, Bella, was entranced by the different dances and she smiled whenever a new song was played, obviously recognizing the song and catching the reference to “Vistaara – a progression through time.” However, after a few minutes of watching unfamiliar dances, I started getting distracted and made faces at the little baby next to me (by the end of the show, I had taught her how to blow a kiss!). I was able to appreciate the hard work that went into the performance, but I wasn’t able to appreciate the references and allusions to the various aspects of the culture.

I truly enjoyed the show, I just felt mildly “uncultured” and wished I had watched a few more movies and listened to different songs before the show. When walking out of Hill Auditorium, I wanted to watch a Bollywood movie and practice the new dance moves I learned watching the dancers. Unfortunately, I needed to work on homework. But there’s always this weekend…

Time to break out my bangra moves!

PREVIEW: IASA Cultural Show – Vistaara, an Eternal Progression

When: November 13, 2009 7pm

Where: Hill Auditorium

Tickets: $12, $16, $20 (plus a $2 service charge) sold at MUTO, which is in the basement of the Union. For the truly lazy or last minute people, tickets can be bought online at

Vistaara, which means progression/development in Sanskrit, is the official name of the 2009 IASA cultural show. With “time” as the theme, this performance hopes to show ways the different styles of Indian dance and culture have evolved over time. Choreographed by 22 student choreographers, the program consists of 10 different dances:

All Girls Progression
Fashion Show
South Indian
Mens Tribal

For a detailed description of the dances, see With 250 performers and 4,000 people in the audience, the IASA cultural show is the largest student run cultural show in America. And all of the proceeds from the show will go to Pratham, a charity devoted to eliminating illiteracy and ensuring that poor children in India receive an education.