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By Michelle Ouellette
For the people of the Caribbean, dancing to drums is a way of life.
That’s what Sharisse DaSilva told the standing-room-only crowd gathered in E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium for the seventh annual Night of Nations — a student-run showcase of acts from around the world.
“When people think of Caribbean culture, they think that all we do is shake our rumps, but let me tell you something, eh? Our dancing is much more than that,” said the public relations major, whose family came from that region. “Yes. You see, we were slaves.”
Pema Lhakyi poses in an Indian sari during the pre-show open house. View our Facebook album of Night of Nations for more photos.
Dancing and drums “were our savior,” she said, adding that “although the music doesn’t sound the same as it did back then, if you listen real hard, you will hear the symbolic beats of a drum, and, if you listen real, real, real, real closely, you will hear our heart beat as it flows through the music and out through our dance moves.”
This year’s show featured traditional and modern dances from around the world, including capoeira, a martial arts dance from Brazil; a Chinese sleeve dance with long folds of red fabric arcing through the air; and a Korean tribute to the popular “Gangnam Style” video.
Plattsburgh has become a top destination for international students in the SUNY system. The college currently enrolls 345 students, hailing from 63 countries.
"The pre-show workshops and activities were informative and interactive with music, slide shows, crafts and discussions that celebrated cultural traditions from around the world,” wrote Dean of Education, Health and Human Services Michael Morgan in his blog after viewing the event for the first time. “The show that followed in Giltz by our international students was amazing. It was a standing-room-only event with one of the most diverse audiences I have ever seen in E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium.
“I celebrate difference and am thankful that our Campus Plan, now in its final stages of development, has a category titled: ‘Increase Global Experiences and Multicultural Competencies.’ Our ability to create a caring, productive community, country and world, where peace and social justice are the norm, rests squarely on our ability to do this well.”
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