Lighting the Night with Music and Dance
By Grace Tevaseu, Correspondent
In the lineup of OctoberWest events, the Cultural Performance Expo filled the dry Prescott air of Tuesday night, Sept. 28, 2021, with harmonious music and laughter. Following the Cultural Organization Expo prior in the day, the celebratory demonstrations featured Taiko drums, Lion dancers, Samba dancers, and Hula and Fire Dancing.
A large audience of ERAU students and professors alike gathered with a great interest and love for culture to experience the danging. The Student Union’s amphitheater seats were lined with curious eyes and open minds. “I loved the inclusion of a variety of cultures which really brought home the theme of this year’s OctoberWest,” reminisced cyber student Vicky Ross. This festivity of culture began with the hypnotic beat of big Japanese drums, a sacred set of drums usually played in temples of festivals or honorary events.
Next, the lion dancers took the stage. This traditional Chinese dance simulates a lion’s movements to pass along the good luck and fortune commonly associated with the fierce animal. Led by four talented individuals, two lion costumes flowed along the cement, moving and swaying to the tone of the music. Following these Lion dancers were energetic Samba dancers, bringing Afro-Brazilian energy to the tranquil Prescott evening.
In the downtimes between performances, students scurried over to the free snack area, sorting through the variety of common snacks from varying cultures in the world. The assorted snacks included Hello Panda cookies, Indian-style trail mix, and Filipino mocha snack cakes, to name a few.
Perfectly timed as lighting the dark night, the final performance of the expo was the Hula and Fire dancing. After a mesmerizing dance demonstration, the performers opened the stage to audience involvement and an opportunity to share their expertise on Polynesian dance. “I enjoyed how interactive the performers were. It was really cool learning how to do hula and do the haka,” said engineering student Wilson Tadena. Many audience members performed the haka after step-by-step lessons from the male performer and hula for the women.
In the concise words of Air Traffic Control student Jaliah Butler, “I loved it.” The Cultural Performance Expo was a success in the scheduled events of OctoberWest, hosted by BCA. The mutual vibe in the audience was thorough entertainment at witnessing these expressions of unique cultures. Similarly, the performers seemed to have a grand time sharing their practices with the ERAU community.