Cultures collide at Kent State

Ally Melling

Variety of ethnic clubs, student organizations entertain students with music, trinkets

Yancouba Mane dances with Vicki Doe’s African Dance Studio I class. Yesterday was the last day in the week long Culture Shock celebration. AMANDA SOWARDS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

When freshman English major Kevin Lloyd stepped off the campus bus yesterday an unusual sound caught his ear.

“I heard this music lilting through the air and it drew me to it,” Lloyd said. “It was interesting. It’s a very good vibe to be a part of, regardless of who you are.”

What Lloyd heard was the last day of All Campus Programming Board’s week-long Culture Shock event.

The Risman Plaza show opened with the rhythmic beats of the Muntu Kuntu Energy Ensemble. The four members of the reggae-style band played on a stage above a steadily growing crowd and various display tables.

One of those tables displayed a colorful variety of wares on sale by the Glass Club.

“Today is a good opportunity for exposure, to show our work and get some money for the Glass Club,” said senior glass major Becky Gorman. “It’s a cooperative studio. Eighty percent will go to the artists and 20 percent is for the club, for supplies and tools to keep it running.”

Down the row from the Glass Club were tables for student organizations such as SALSA, Hillel and the May 4th Task Force. There were also vendors selling trinkets ranging from rings to hemp necklaces and accessories such as handbags and incense.

The four members of the MacCallum Highlanders added bagpipes and a touch of history to the day. After playing “Skye Boat Song,” the kilt-clad Highlanders speaker regaled the audience with the story of Scotland’s “Bonnie” Prince Charlie. He said Charlie was Scotland’s only hope of rebellion, but he was exiled to the Skye island; hence the song and its mournful melody.

Following the Highlanders was junior biology major Ayat Shendy, who performed a Middle-Eastern belly dance on behalf of the Arab Student Association and received applause from her fellow students.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Shana Scott, Culture Shock coordinator and senior communications studies major. “We’ve had a really nice turnout. People said they liked the food selection, and, obviously, we had a really nice day.”

It was the sunny weather that brought out former student Chris Holmes and his 5-foot-long female iguana, Max.

“She’s with me wherever I go,” Holmes said. “She likes natural sunlight. I thought I’d take her out.”


In the midst of the heat, dancer Alyssa General spoke between performing with the fancy dancers from Cleveland’s American Indian Education Center.

“Fancy dancing is a contemporary form of dance that women were not allowed to do at first,” General said. “It’s also called the ‘butterfly dance,’ because it looks like you’re flying from flower to flower.”

General and her three companions donned brightly colored Native American garments, some adorned with metal “jingles” that accentuated their movements. A handful of students who were gathered in front of the Student Center joined them in a traditional dance at the end of the segment.

The Csardas Youth Ensemble followed at 3 p.m., performing both traditional Hungarian dances and modern interpretations in twirling skirts and layered petticoats.

However, audience applause reached its peak at the effort given by dance instructor Vicki Doe’s African Dance Studio I class.

Waists wrapped in colorful sarongs, 17 members of Doe’s class joined her and two drummers on the stage. All of them, drummers included, performed a rapid, energetic demonstration of the ekon-ekon style they learned throughout the semester.

“ACPB wanted us to perform,” Doe said. “I said, ‘Why don’t we have my class do it?’ Here, we can show the things that we’re learning, which is a good thing.”

Erin Miele, sophomore fashion merchandising major, watched throughout the day’s events.

“I should be studying for an exam, but I’m skipping it to be here,” Miele said behind dark sunglasses. “It’s outside, and it’s fun to watch. It’s something I don’t mind my money going towards.”

Contact on campus reporter Ally Melling at [email protected].