Dance Across Cultures creates cultural awareness through dance


Panel discussion featuring representatives from multiple cultural dance organizations on campus. 

Molly AdamsReporter

Students representing Ireland, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Peru came together Tuesday, at Dance Across Cultures panel discussion.

The event, hosted by Barefeet Dance Tribe, invited students of all backgrounds to attend a discussion panel and dance workshop showcasing the meaning of dance through various cultures and to bring awareness to the cultural differences in the art of dance.

For 11 years, Barefeet Dance Tribe has embraced the diverse student body not only by telling the story and dances of African culture, but by expanding its reach and inviting other cultures to join the conversation.

Captain, Ni’Ambi Fagan, discussed the inspiration behind the event, “we want to appreciate all cultures and their art,” while co-captain, Kamille Pierce added, “especially for those underrepresented groups on campus.”

“We want people to be aware that there is so much more culture and richness in our traditions than is shown in the media,” Siu Mei Diana Hau Yon Sanchez,representing Peru said.

To begin the discussion panel, creative director of Barefeet Dance Tribe, Rumbi Mupinga, born in Zimbabwe, emphasized the importance of the conversation.

“We always talk about the educational aspects of our international students, but what about their backgrounds in art and dance?” Mupinga said.

To better understand the meanings, music, and formations of the dances from each culture, panel representatives showcased videos of their country’s dance forms.

Mupinga said she wants students to learn from each other because, “things in my culture mean something different in other cultures, and understanding this is key to being culturally sensitive.”

Senior applied engineering major, Hamad Albiabi, representing Saudi Arabia, shared the importance of dance in his culture.

“To understand our dance, one must understand our history, and that is why this conversation is important to have,” Albiabi said.

Throughout the panel, the audience interacted with each culture and had the opportunity to share their curiosities about one another.

Following the panel, a dance workshop welcomed anyone to share their cultures dances and invited others to learn steps with them, and the meanings behind them allowing each group to connect through movement and music.

Barefeet Dance Tribe created Dance Across Cultures to bring about cultural awareness and to enrich the knowledge of diversity at Kent State.

“Dance is a language that unites us all,” sophomore Lucy Hess, representing Ireland, said, “and it’s fascinating to see how different cultures see dance as a form of expression.”

Contact Molly Adams at [email protected].