Celebrating Cultural Diversity: Cirque Culturel


Cultural Outreach, the annual cultural show organized by the Trent International Student Association (TISA) is set to perform next Saturday, March 16. It will take place at Showplace Performance Center and there will be two shows, one at 2:00 p.m. and another at 7:00 p.m.

TISA’s Director of Publicity, Anya Nikolaeva, says that the purpose of the show is “to display the whole range of talent at Trent that sparks from the working together of both domestic and international students.”

She also stated that it is important to create a cultural image of Trent as a place that celebrates cultural diversity. The organizers started planning the show from the beginning of the year and the theme was selected in December. This year the theme voted by people on TISA’s website was “Cirque Culturel”.

Auditions took place during January and parts of February and each act was selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants. The show will be featuring acts from different regions, from Zimbabwe to Russia, from Arabic music to Uruguayan folklore. Nikolaeva will also be a performer in the show. She participated in last year’s show and was overwhelmed by the professionalism of the event and the magnitude of the stage. She points out that “it is more than a normal school performance.”

The environment of the show is stunning, captivating the audience with a feeling of celebration emanating from the stage. Cirque Culturel will play with the mystique of the circus imagery to show how the different cultures come together to celebrate diversity. Celebration is what Cultural Outreach is all about – the celebration of difference, the celebration of coming together, and the celebration of youth.

Camila Lopez, a first year performer, also agrees that the show is a great opportunity to see Trent’s diversity. She said, “I am a little bit worried about the actual performance day because but I am so excited to be a part of it. I am doing it because I want to do as much activities as possible in my time here at Trent. I also love to represent the Latin Culture. In my opinion, one of the goals of Cultural Outreach is to show the diversity of cultures that we have at Trent and to learn from them.” This is just one example of how students, both international and domestic, see Cultural Outreach as an opportunity to do just that – reach out to their peers and learn from one another.

Cultural Outreach not only gives students a chance to learn about other cultures, but perhaps it is a chance to learn about their own culture as well. In showcasing and highlighting what is central to their own culture, students can feel closer and more engaged with a culture they might have taken for granted.

Seeing other cultural performances can raise differences and conflicts between cultures, enabling them to compare and contrast their own cultures and to learn from that.

On a bigger scale, this kind of interaction contributes to a more peaceful world – after all, as Lester B. Pearson once said, “How can there be peace without people understanding each other, and how can this be if they don’t know each other?”

The show is one of the best ways to illustrate how committed and engaged international and domestic students in the Trent community are. Trent is well known for the number and quality of its international students.

The show exemplifies one of the main goals of TISA: to connect domestic students to the international community and vice versa. Not only internationals will perform, but also domestic students are highly involved. It is also an important opportunity to reach the Peterborough community.