WSU builds bridges between multiple cultures


Members of the WSU Belly Dance Club perform at the 22nd annual Building Bridges, Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014.

BY ALYSEN BOSTON | Evergreen reporter

Student organizations such as the Pacific Islander Club and the WSU Belly Dance Club, as well as individual students, performed for free last night at the 22nd annual Building Bridges event, as part of the Week Without Violence.

The Association of Pacific and Asian Women (APAW), a division of the Coalition for Women Students, hosted the event, a multicultural showcase that focuses on the cultural backgrounds of WSU students.

The theme of this year’s event was “Celebrating Diversity.” The showcase featured several student clubs, which presented traditional dances or acts that pertain to their culture.

Many of these groups perform at other on-campus events, some of which have an entrance fee.

Chansee Xiong, the chair of APAW, emphasized a few reasons these groups perform for free at “Building Bridges.”

“It’s definitely good advertising,” Xiong said. “Maybe it’s being able to share their culture with everyone.”

Audience members and performers alike were affected by the spoken-word performance by WSU student Dominique Norman.

Norman performed an emotional piece about her own personal experiences with molestation as a child and the long-standing impact of being unable to speak out about traumatic events. 

“It was awesome that she could be that vulnerable on stage,” said Bethany Bloomer, a WSU junior communication major. “She’s giving a voice to people who can’t speak up.

Victoria Young, a WSU sophomore and the coach for Group Effort, said she felt proud to share the stage with Norman.

“Hearing her perform before we went on, it made me very proud of where I came from,” Young said. 

On the performances overall, Bloomer said she was paying rapt attention.

“It was really cool that they were sharing their culture in that way,” Bloomer said. “It was really engaging to the audience.”

The Filipino American students presented a traditional dance in which female dancers balance a candle on their heads.

Another act, performed by the Sisterhood of Chi Delta Sigma presented a spoken-word piece entitled “The Struggle,” which detailed aspects of poverty.

The Pacific Islander club featured traditional dancing from the island of Fiji.

Regarding individual student acts, Cherrise Reyes, a member of the Native American Women’s Association, showcased her karate prowess after eight years of practice and Mitimitaga O Samoa, the only Samoan organization on campus since the 1950s, portrayed traditional Samoan dance, which received much appreciation from the audience.

A performance called “Drum Dance” was portrayed by a Native American student organization from the University of Idaho. The all-male group sat encircling a large drum that they all beat upon while singing traditionally.

The WSU Belly Dance Club performed a “tribal style,” non-choreographed piece featuring traditional attire.

Finally, the dance group entitled “Group Effort” performed various dance routines. Their performance opened by denying any scientific basis for race, leaving an emotional impact on the audience.