International Gala Reflects, Represents Students From Abroad


Four women in colorful garments dance on a stage
Students perform

From K-Pop dances to an international fashion show, Saturday’s International Autumn Gala, presented by the International Place of the Claremont Colleges, rose to the challenge by bringing performances from around the globe right here to Claremont. 

The captivating night began with a reception outside the theater, including a live DJ, hors d’oeuvres and a photo booth for guests to enjoy under the evening lights and palm trees. Students and members of the Claremont community enjoyed the SoCal weather while snacking on international treats—the chicken empanadas were a popular favorite.

As audience members took their seats, the four international MCs kicked off the evening with a bang, cracking some jokes about the cultural differences in their home countries and in the U.S.—who knew napkins in Zimbabwe were considered diapers?

First to perform was a Mexican Ballet Folklorico dancer, who lit up the stage with her vibrant, traditional Mexican dress. Other international dance performances for the first half included Bharat Natyam and Columbia Cumbia. Reverb, the 5C hip hop dance club, also made an appearance. Musical performances ranged from Chinese covers of pop songs to Chuck Lee PZ ’19, who rapped about his first-semester experiences. The international fashion show, which included casual and formal wear from countries including Kenya, Ethiopia, Burma and more, wrapped up the first half of the night.

Franny Lin CM ’19, an international student from Taiwan, felt at home seeing her fellow international students perform.

“One part that was really interesting was the saxophone duet, since it shined light to the Japanese tsunami,” Lin said. “I felt surrounded by a community of international students that I could relate to.”

A group of people dance on a stage
The K-Pop Dance Crew performs • Lucas Carmel


After a brief intermission, the Mariachi Serrano de Claremont opened the second half of the night, dedicating their performance to the Iguana kidnapping of 43 male students in Mexico. The K-Pop Dance Club busted their moves to well-known K-Pop jams, and a saxophone duet, playing a traditional Japanese song, performed to a Powerpoint of images of the devastating Tohoku Tsunami. An audience favorite was the solo gym wheel performance from 5Circus. The intricate yet effortless performance to Coldplay’s “Atlas” left many in awe.

“I thought the night was a blast,” Emily Wang CM ’19 said. “The gym wheel was a definite highlight and I really enjoyed the fashion show.” 

Some were even able to see friends present their talents, including Devang Patel CM ’19.

“I thought it was awesome to see the diversity we have at the 5Cs and how talented the student body here is,” Patel said. “Plus, I was able to see my boss roommate, Rafael Velasco [CM ’19], perform with Reverb and the K-Pop Dance Club.” 

The International Autumn Gala provided a window out of the Claremont bubble, celebrating the multitude of cultures that Claremont students come from.

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