Culture Couture returned in person for the first time in two years to the Becker Amphitheater on April 28. Hosted by the Association for Intercultural Awareness, the multicultural event highlights the diverse history and traditions of Cal State Fullerton’s cultural clubs and organizations.
“This is just an opportunity for all organizations to come out and show students their mission statements and how much they value their culture, and try to exemplify the diversity here on campus,” said Isabella Galvan, president of the association.
Galvan said she wanted the event to feel like the students were traveling the world. Several organizations, including the Lebanese Students Association, the Philippine Business Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, and the Japanese Anime Club, were on hand to raise awareness and educate students about their cultures.
“I think what’s really cool is seeing how these organizations have flourished over time,” said Maysem Awadalla, the association’s events coordinator and second-year political science student. “(The association) is the fundraising council for cultural clubs and so to see them come to life with all that we’ve funded for them is really rewarding I think, because you see them there for it, you see them wanting to do it. , and then you watch it all unfold.
The event also included great performances from CSUF’s Ballet Folklorico, Long Beach’s Mahana Dance Company and a Dabke group from Los Angeles’ Sa’id Music and Dance Company.
Dancers from CSUF’s Ballet Folklorico, Odalys Garcia and Arnold Garcia, took the stage and performed the regional Mexican dance of Chihuahua. Influenced by polka music and Eastern European customs, the Chihuahua is a couple dance that showcases the wardrobe and footwork of its dancers.
“The wardrobe in this state is a much shorter skirt so you can really focus on the footwork that’s going on,” said Jennifer Uribe, president of CSUF’s Ballet Folklorico.
Uribe said she wants students to understand that Folklorico is more than just women in big dresses.
“We’re more about history and understanding than it’s a representation of our culture and how we can express who we are and where we come from,” Uribe said.
From the islands of Tahiti, members of the Mahana Dance Company performed a Tahitian dance that showed the beauty of Polynesian culture. Five students were encouraged to take the stage at the end of the show to learn some quick Tahitian dance moves as the audience cheered them on.
Galvan said the arrival of the Mahana Dance Company was significant for CSUF students who felt there was not enough Pacific Islander representation on campus.
“I brought them because a lot of people have expressed that there isn’t enough Pacific Islander representation, and while we don’t have a specific Polynesian group here on campus that I’m aware of, I would love to embrace all cultures as much as I can,” Galvan said.
Finally, from the southwestern region of North Africa, the Sa’id Music and Dance Company returned to CSUF after 25 years. The company performed a traditional Dabke dance which completed the whole event.
Dabke is a Levantine folk dance that originated in villages in Middle Eastern countries. Villagers gathered to help seal the cracks in the mud roofs. The process of forming a line and joining hands while stomping through the mud eventually became a dance to unite communities and celebrate with each other. The performance was so well received that several students ran onto the stage and joined in the dance towards the end.
Sa’id Judeh, founder of Sa’id Music and Dance Company, expressed his gratitude that CSUF continues to be a school that celebrates diverse cultures.
“The good thing about this school is intercultural, it’s that you get to know all cultures. I’m from Palestine and my dance company is from all over the world,” said Judeh “The idea is that music and dance is the only language that everyone understands, and we hope that we will all live in peace.”