A structured drum beat and shifting bamboo poles guided performers through a traditional Filipino dance as they acted out the story of a Muslim princess rescued by a sultan. But a hip hop number set to contemporary singer Mya”s “Case of the Ex” rounded out the Filipino dance group”s performance.
The performance embodied the theme of the third annual Encompass show, “Breaking Barriers, Broadening Horizons.” The pan-ethnic program featured a multitude of students from various backgrounds performing dances that ranged from traditional to modern in nature in front of a sold-out audience at the Michigan Theater on Friday.
The Filipino group presented a style of dance called SINGKIL with the intention of “giving people a taste of traditional Filipino culture” while “connecting it to the American experience,” said Engineering junior Jennifer Jaramillo, a dancer in the SINGKIL group. “We fused them together,” Jaramillo said.
The show is “exactly as it says all-encompassing,” Jaramillo said.
The program showcased performances of Korean drumming, tap dancing and hip hop. Instead of doing a traditional dance, the Maximum Impact group performed the lyrics of the song “Testify to Love” in sign language. The dancers of the CaribRhythms group donned brightly colored costumes individually designed for each person.
They danced to reggae and soca and mellow remixes of contemporary pop hits from the likes of the Backstreet Boys.
Encompass seeks to be “a truly diverse show,” said Abheshek Narain, co-chair of the organization.
“They do it in a very exciting way very explosive and dynamic,” said Art and Design senior Sung Yi, who attended the show.
“There were so many different ethnicities. It wasn”t just for one group,” said LSA freshman Sangeetha Varanasi, who performed “The East: Unveiled,” a dance showing a mixture of Eastern and Western cultures.
Narain said that most students are not aware of other ethnic groups on campus, and part of Encompass” goal is to expose students to cultures they would not ordinarily see.
“We strive to achieve diversity on this campus, and we strive to achieve multiculturalism on campus,” Narain said.
“It really does show something about other cultures,” Engineering sophomore Neeru Khanna said. Otherwise, she admitted, “I would never see a Persian dance.”
Narain said that people of different backgrounds gain valuable insights from each other, and that is an integral part of what Encompass tries to do.
“There is more to campus and more to life than the groups you traditionally stick with,” Narain said.
Encompass was founded three years ago by a group of students who saw a lack of diversity on campus and were committed to changing that. Their goal was to bring together students of different backgrounds who would not normally interact.