Dance workshop integrates multiculturalism

 Original Expressions collaborated with Latin Student Association and African Student Association to host the Xpress Your Culture dance event in MacVittie College Union ballroom on Friday Feb. 2. Attendees had the opportunity to learn several cultural dances from the different organizations’ representatives. (W.j. jiang/staff photographer)

Original Expressions collaborated with Latin Student Association and African Student Association to host the Xpress Your Culture dance event in MacVittie College Union ballroom on Friday Feb. 2. Attendees had the opportunity to learn several cultural dances from the different organizations’ representatives. (W.j. jiang/staff photographer)

The United States is a melting pot of diverse races, customs and cultures. The Geneseo campus is much like this as well, as it offers a great place to be able to learn and become immersed into customs with which we are not familiar. 

That is exactly what the Xpress Your Culture event accomplished. Geneseo Late Knight hosted an event with Original Expressions, Latin Student Association and African Student Association called Xpress Your Culture on Friday Feb. 2. 

“Xpress Your Culture is essentially OGX and some really cool cultural clubs—LSA and ASA—coming together to express their culture through dance and showing the participants how to dance as well,” GLK member sophomore Thasfia Chowdhury said. “It’s engaging, it’s fun and it brings people together.” 

The event had a significant turnout, and all the participants seemed to have a wonderful time learning new moves and dancing with their friends. 

“We really like to dance and learn different kinds of dances. Especially salsa, I’ve been working on that,” biochemistry major junior Sara Feinland said. 

GLK often partners with cultural clubs and organizations to help them put on events. Representatives from GLK helped with the Xpress Your Culture night by setting up, obtaining equipment and supplying food.

“Groups like OGX, LSA and ASA will approach us with a grant, and depending on what the grant is, they get to choose how to run their event,” GLK member junior Shelby Schmigel said. “We figure out what kind of things the clubs need for their event … and then we provide that.”

“We definitely work with a bunch of groups on-campus. At Holiday Jubilee, we were able to work with Bhangra and other performance groups. We also work with Pride Alliance, who puts on their own type of culture events and it’s just really cool,” Schmigel said.

It was encouraging to see four different organizations—representing diverse cultures—coming together to put on this workshop for the students and teach them new moves, while creating a fun and accepting environment.

“I feel like it’s really an issue when one person tries to teach and represent other cultures that are not their own,” OGX president senior Jennifer Liriano said. “I think it is really important to collaborate with other groups and have them be there to represent themselves, instead of us speaking on their behalf.” 

The Geneseo campus promotes inclusivity and teamwork, and this night represented those particular values. 

During the dance workshop, representatives from both LSA and ASA taught the participants authentic Latin and African style dances. Each group took about a half hour to teach their moves, and then at the end there was a big dance party for everyone to just let go and have a good time—while utilizing the new styles they had just learned. 

“It’s a free event and there are a lot of different groups here doing a lot of different styles [of dance] so it’s exciting,” English adolescent education major junior Kelsey Kwandrans said. 

Staying updated with GLK events allows students to see what culturally themed occasions they can participate in throughout the semester. Programs like Xpress Your Culture are sure to be worthwhile with participants embracing and sharing each other’s backgrounds.