– International House promotes diversity with Multicultural Variety Show.
PHOTO:  The Mexican dancers to the Multicultural Variety Show on April 24, 2014. Photo by Siyun Zhang for The Current 2014 ©


By Siyun Zhang, Staff Writer for The Current

The International House (iHouse) hosted their third annual Multicultural Variety Show on April 24 in the Pilot House at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. The night was filled with a plenty of rich cultural performances to enjoy.

 The show started at 7 p.m. Admission was free to all students, faculty and staff. Free food and beverages welcomed every attendee. During the intermission, audience members also had the opportunity to win door prizes, thanks to the raffle tickets under each seat.

Both student organizations and individuals on campus took active parts in this event and displayed cultures from around eight nations, including Brazil, India, Japan, Ethiopia, Mexico and Korea. The performers showcased different styles of dance, singing and music from their respective countries.

In addition to an eclectic mix of performances, the show ended with a fashion show finale. Models walked down the red carpet, dressed in either modern or traditional styles.

Nora Jijane, graduate, economics, is one of the iHouse leaders who helped organize the event.

“Because the Multicultural Variety Show is an annual event on campus in spring, we knew we had to plan it in advance,” Jijane said. She stated that it took the organizers about three months to prepare. “We checked all the lists of student organizations on campus and tried to reach each of them…and asked them if they would like to perform and show their talents… We also asked about individual students spontaneously,” Jijane said.

This year, iHouse did not want to focus on any one continent or country, instead making an effort to include various cultures across the globe.

“Last time it was more about African culture. Now we have Mexican, Japanese, Korean and other cultures,” Jijane said.

On the night of the variety show, the stage was filled with passion and energy, each cultural performance distinctive from the next. Off-campus individuals were also invited to participate this year. The third performance of the night consisted of an African dance performed by family dance crew Habasha. The youngest dancer was eleven years old. Robel, one of the dancers, said, “We have just established our dance crew for about one month. The dancing we performed represents different tribes in Africa.”

Livia Oliveria, dance, junior, performed an enthusiastic Brazilian-style dancing called “Frevo”. Oliveris is in her second semester at UMSL. She learned this dance at the age of 15.

“‘Frevo’ means boiling. We usually dance with umbrella in carnivals,” Oliveria said. “It is from the north-east state called Pernambuco in Brazil.”

Ezana Ephrem, 14 years-old, played an Ethiopian wedding song on saxophone. He has been playing the saxophone for about three years. Ephrem performed ‘Yehewit Hewit,’ a song that is usually the first song that every couple will dance to at their edding.

The audience was captivated by the performances, throwing themselves into the energy show.

“It’s awesome. It’s interesting to watch different styles and cultures,” Luiz Perez, senior, computer science, said.

The Multicultural Variety Show provided a platform to embrace different cultures across the world, right here at UMSL. The event enhanced the relationship between international and American students, providing an opportunity for international students to showcase their cultures and for American students to gain awareness of different cultures all around the globe.

“[The variety show] was just to show the talents across the world from different students in UMSL…Standing [right] in front of us, it is completely different [than just going] through YouTube and checking the videos,” Jijane said. “It’s just something fun on campus. People are happy and proud of their cultures as well as where they come from.”

© The Current 2014