Small soccer balls and multicolored light equipment were carefully placed on the edge of the Jewett auditorium’s stage last Friday evening. The stage’s black backdrop consisted of a soccer ball logo of the “Wellesley 2014 World Cup” surrounded by quote bubbles with the phrase “I won” written in different languages from around the world.
“Good evening everyone. Welcome to the World Cup-Slater style!” shouted Slater vice president Mashiwat Mahbub ’15 as she and the rest of the Slater executive board kicked mini soccer balls into the packed audience to kick off the annual Slater International Culture Show. She continued by explaining the reason for the World Cup theme: the FIFA World Cup did not have all countries represented in its competition.
“So we decided to have our own World Cup, and it will be better because nobody loses, there are no qualifications and everyone is represented,” Mahbub said.
She then explained the format of the tournament. The World Cup featured two hours of performances and a 30-minute intermission during which audience members could taste cuisine from around the world. Slater also collected donations for Doctors Without Borders, an international organization that is helping fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The first performance was a rousing dance from Slater’s executive board, who were clad in black jerseys, with the Wellesley 2014 World Cup logo and brightly-colored pants and shorts. Their dance was followed by the cultural fashion show, which divided the contestants and their countries into groups in a similar format to that of the FIFA World Cup. The students wearing clothing from different countries were pitted against each other in a friendly competition. The opponents danced with each other and held hands. When the mustached representatives of France and Italy took to the stage, the audience burst out laughing. In the spirit of Slater, everyone won the competition.
The first-year international dance took place shortly thereafter. Students of the Class of 2018 from different cultures joined together in performing a breathtaking Soran Bushi dance, depicting the daily lives of Japanese fishermen. The students were clad in beautiful blue costumes with Japanese calligraphy on them. An Ethiopian dance gave the audience a sampling of five Ethiopian ethnic groups. Wellesley On Tap dazzled viewers with their rendition of “Audition” from 42nd Street, which was altered to be the tryout song of the tournament. The group wore soccer uniforms with their tap-dancing shoes.
Slater soon followed by showing a slideshow of the many highlights and lowlights of the past year. The audience was later released for intermission. A long line wound to the front entrance of Jewett. Viewers had the opportunity to taste delicious ethnic foods like baklava and vegetable samosas.
The show returned with an incredible performance by Harvard Bhangra, which fused hip-hop music with the Punjabi folk dance. They were followed by a class act from Aiko, which, through energetic drumming and dance, told the story of a Japanese sea god transforming into a dragon. A fascinating performance from the Wellesley Belly Dance Society followed. Anita Li ’15 next offered an incredible Chinese ribbon dance, moving with such fluidity and skill that the ribbon enveloping her looked like colorful liquid.
The audience then was transported to Neverland through Wushu’s entertaining narration of the story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook through modern martial arts. The organization put together an incredible performance featuring the two main characters, other pirates on the ship, an aggressive crocodile and Tinker Bell. The performance culminated in a riveting duel between Captain Hook and Peter Pan, complete with flips and sparks from clashing swords.
In the second to last act, Victoria Yu ’16 fused 1920’s European jazz with a popular Chinese opera song in her rendition of “If Without You.” She perfectly captured the timelessness of her song through her sassy tone and beautiful voice. She ended her performance to thundering applause. Seniors from Slater gave the final performance by dancing to a mashup of popular contemporary songs. They then gathered on the stage to see a slideshow of the golden class’ experiences at Slater over the years.
Overall, Slater held a very successful Wellesley World Cup. The event was an excellent opportunity to make bonds with other cultures, learn about other traditions and see some of Wellesley College’s premier performers.
Photo by Bianca Pichumuthu ’16, Photography Editor