Last Sunday afternoon, dozens of students, spirited and
costumed, rehearsed in the Pendleton Room on the second floor in
the Michigan Union. Dancers and organizers bustled around the room
and trickled into the hallways, running through last-minute
alterations to dance routines, making changes to music selections,
recording lighting cues and mentally preparing themselves for the
upcoming show.

Laura Wong
Members of the all male segment of “ARABesque” practice during dress rehearsals on Sunday. (ELISE BERGMAN/Daily)

Tonight, months of extensive planning, collaborating and
rehearsing will come to a celebratory finale as the annual
Encompass Multicultural Show takes place at the Power Center.

The spacious room, where the dress rehearsals were being held,
radiated with color as one group of students, calling themselves
“ARABesque,” danced proudly and joyfully, dressed in
black and fire engine red.

The makeshift stage quickly transitioned as the line dancers
accompanied by jovial Arabic tunes made their way out of the
room.

The stereo then played an airy and serene song as six young
women, decorated in lavender Hawaiian-print dresses, positioned
themselves between the masking tape that was used to dictate the
edge of the performance space.

Four pairs of dancers in a group called “Salsation”
elegantly and rapidly dipped, spun and rotated their legs around
the dance floor as the black frills of the ladies’ elegant
costumes accentuated the swiveling of their hips.

One group after another performed number after number of
contrasting movements to distinctive songs. Tonight’s show
will feature other performances such as Greek, Vietnamese and
Persian dances as well as Korean drumming, hip-hop, poetry and
jazz.

Encompass annually organizes the University’s only
pan-ethnic cultural show and makes an expansive progression from
last year’s sold out event at Lydia Mendelssohn Theater in
the Michigan League. This year’s performance, entitled
“Sol Omnibus Lucit (The Sun Shines Upon All)” will host
a larger audience at the Power Center.

“This year seems bigger and more structured. It is a big
jump from Mendelssohn,” said Engineering sophomore Saada
Jawad.

This variety show of sorts is one collection of students’
attempts to expose the University to the multi-faceted culture and
tradition of the diverse campus. A goal of this event is to develop
a forum that invites all types of individuals and groups to express
their thoughts and cultures in an informative, nurturing and
comfortable environment.

“By coming to the show, we hope people will be inspired to
want to meet new kinds of people, learn about different cultures
and join diverse programs around campus,” stated Encompass
co-president and LSA sophomore Jacqueline Wood.

The primary objective of Encompass is to facilitate unity and
awareness in the University’s often segregated student body.
Encompass’ mission and vision statements are deeply rooted in
its desire to create an interactive harmony among the races
represented at the University.

“One of our goals is to have 50 percent of each dance
include a participant of a different race or culture than the
culture the dance derives from,” said Encompass co-president
and LSA senior Julia Milne.

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