The South Asian Society brought a message of cultural unity to the Marvin Center ballroom with its “Spin the Globe” program Saturday night.
The multicultural reception featured native food, dance and attire from 12 different cultural groups.
“It is a very good idea to bring people together like this,” said Aline Hitti, the Arab Student Association social and cultural committee chair. “I’m hoping that we can continue to integrate other cultures through these events.”
The show began with an energetic display of dances from the Jitterbug Swing Club. Swing dancing is an improvisational dance that began in Harlem, New York, in 1926.
The Indian Students’ Association followed with a medley of native music and traditional dance. The traditional themes expressed through this dance form are love and marriage, which is symbolized mainly by the close interaction between male and female dancers, according to program literature.
Members of the Sikh Student Association performed a high energy dance called bhangra. The dance is traditionally performed in the northern Indian state of Punjab as a harvest celebration. The dance is characterized by an upbeat rhythm with quick movements.
A Spanish dance class presented two traditional dances. Farruca is a type of flamenco dance. The dance is associated with the gypsies who lived in Andalucia, a region in southern Spain.
The Sevillanas is a traditional folk dance performed throughout the Nile region and neighboring Arab countries. The dance exemplifies graceful hand and foot movements and often is accompanied by rhythmic finger snaps and hand claps.
“The Sensation,” a new varsity dance squad at GW, also performed. The group performs at men’s and women’s basketball games along with the cheerleaders and mascots.
One couple from each cultural group wore traditional clothing and participated in an international fashion show.
Each group also brought its native foods to the event.
“I think one of the things SAS tries to do is unite people from South Asia, but we don’t want to limit ourselves,” said Ami Shah, SAS program director. “Cultural groups especially don’t get to see other cultures and that is something we wanted to expose our membership to.”
The event drew about 200 students from various cultural groups, said SAS President Mital Desai.
“Spin the Globe” has been held three times at GW, but was not held last year because it coincided with the 50th anniversary celebration of the independence of Pakistan and India, Desai said.
Proceeds from the event will help flood victims in Bangladesh, Desai said.