The Trent International Students Association (TISA) hosted one of its biggest events of the year on March 16. This event was none other than the Cultural Outreach 2019: The Exchange. The event had two showtimes: from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Showplace Performance Centre.
The event was very well organized and had plenty of performances by students hailing from different countries and cultures. The 17 different performances flew by in a parade of vibrant colours, angelic singing, and engaging choreography. The hosts were hilarious, charming, and witty. None of their jokes fell flat, and halfway through the show, they even persuaded the audience to abruptly engage in stamping their feet to the rhythm of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” The lighting and music for the show were spot on.
The TISA Choir, draped in their navy-blue choir scarves, started the show with their rendition of the popular song from The Lion King, “Circle of Life.” Later they performed K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag,” displaying various national flags. The Urban Rez Kids’ men’s grass dance and women’s jingle dress dance were mesmerizing.
A performance I had never seen before was that of “THE BIRD,” which was a solo dance by a Ukrainian student. She was wearing what surprisingly looked a lot like a traditional dress from my homeland, Bhutan, so I may be biased when I say that her dress looked exquisite. However, every performer’s attire was stunning and intriguing in their own way.
The smooth, sensual, and seductive chemistry between the male and female dance couples of “Sabor Latino” made the crowd go wild. “Punjabi Virsa,” “Secret Superstars,” “Kathak,” “Mystery of Life,” and “Bollywood” were a pleasant throwback to my days of studying in India. I can only compare the dancing of “Kathak” to intense, barefooted tap dancing. Never in my life had I seen more culturally appropriate twerking, courtesy of Bongo One Last Time and Mixed Spice. I marvelled at the fantastic solo singing of “Canto a Oshun” and “Mystery of Life.”
INTL performed a contemporary hip-hop dance to Korean Pop, more commonly abbreviated to K-Pop. Similarly, Motiv8 and the TACSU Rec Team also performed more contemporary and mainstream dancing, both of which were executed superbly. The show came to a conclusion after the Junkanoo Carnival, which had the most performers. The audience roared with enthusiasm as their spectacular performance climaxed with the performers running off the stage and past the audience.
On the importance of the event, TISA Secretary and Cultural Outreach stage manager Ankit Tripathi stated, “What I love about the Cultural Outreach is that it gives a platform to everyone to show the people what it is about home that they feel the most connected to.”
A short article like this can never capture the beauty and grace of the performances of Cultural Outreach. I can only strongly advise anyone who reads this to attend next year’s event.