Annual gala highlights 5C international students through performance

Students perform a Bollywood dance during the fifth annual International Gala hosted Nov. 3. (Courtesy of International Place of The Claremont Colleges)

On the night of Nov. 3, a hush of excitement fell over the crowd of students, faculty, and community members as the night’s emcees, Noah Plasse PO ’21 and Tingyue (Juanita) Man PZ ’21, sauntered onto the stage to commence the 2018 International Autumn Gala. They welcomed the audience and promised a magical night.

The event was a precursor to International Education Week, a nationwide celebration of international education. Beginning Nov. 12, the International Place of The Claremont Colleges will spend the week acknowledging and celebrating the various cultures represented at the 7Cs.
The gala was a colorful and exciting start to a time of celebration for the international community.

The show opened with an aerial silks performance by Sarah Sundermeyer PO ’21, then continued with hip hop dancing, rapping, Indian classical dance, and more. One group, Pangea, lit up the stage with their energetic dance performance and group chemistry.

Pangea is a hip hop group comprised of students from all five undergraduate colleges. One member, Kaila Teague PZ ’22, eagerly awaited the team’s performance while standing in line for the photobooth. “You should expect high energy and great dances that are all student-choreographed,” Teague said.

Students involved were eager to share the international community with the rest of Claremont. “This is a celebration of our international students and the connection we all share to different countries,” Teague said.

The dancing did not stop there. Contemporary African dance group, Dance Afrique, dominated the stage with their wide smiles and joyous moves. Their infectious energy spread to the crowd as people clapped and shouted.

A crowd favorite, Shogo Taiko, enchanted the room with traditional Japanese Taiko drumming. A roarous applause welcomed the group, as it was not their first time on stage at the International Autumn Gala.

Chrystal Orozco, international student advisor and interim director of the International Place of The Claremont Colleges, presides over the international community and served as support for the gala.

“Our goal is to create a lineup that reflects the variety of talent that our seven-college community has as well as the different cultures that are represented in our student population.” Orozco wrote in an email to TSL.

The involvement and inclusion of diverse backgrounds created a space where international students could connect with both their roots and the Claremont community. Diya Pereira SC ’22, an international student from India, recalled feeling at home during the performances.

“When they did the Indian dances, I was shouting so loud and I have never felt more at home.” Pereira said. “I was so happy to see my people. I felt like I belonged for those one or two minutes.”

To find out more about events for International Education Week beginning Nov. 12, check out their website: https://iplace.claremont.edu/events/international-education-week/.

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