Global Initiatives holds first ever global dance party

a group of people dance in the center of the room

By Rachel Berry

Students gathered in the center of the room, colors from the disco ball bouncing off the floor and walls around them. They danced, at first hesitantly, and then with more confidence as more people joined them on the dance floor.

students stand around a tall table covered in a white table clothFor most of the night, they couldn’t understand the music; they didn’t speak the language or know the customs associated with it. This didn’t matter, though. They could still dance to the upbeat tunes.

The Global Dance Party was held as one of the first events of International Education Week. The DJ played music from around the world, and students could request their favorite songs from their home countries.

This was the first year Miami University had the dance, but Karla Guinigundo, director of global partnerships, said she has been thinking about starting something like this for years.

“I think sometimes international education week focuses a lot on students going abroad, but we also want international students to feel like this is a week for them as well and that they — by virtue of being here — are helping contribute to the internationalization of the campus as a whole,” Guinigundo said.

The Armstrong Pavilion was transformed into an array of cultures, with flags decorating the walls. In the center of the room was a dance floor, with tables on the edges where students could sit and talk or take a break from dancing.

Students from Hillel performed a traditional Israeli dance as they walked in a circle, waving their arms to the beat.

Mark Celsor, a software developer at Project Dragonfly on Miami’s Western Campus, was the DJ for the night. Celsor has worked at international events across Cincinnati.

a man sits with headphones around his neck next to sound equipment

“I think that it’s important just so people can get exposed to each other’s cultures,” Celsor said. “They can see a group of people get really excited about a song in a language they’ve never heard, and it’s a big hit with some other group of people, and they can start to make connections.”

Like any other dance, people would be enthusiastic when their favorite songs played, but they also danced to songs in languages they didn’t know, sharing in the cultures of their peers.

“It makes people feel validated, especially on a campus that’s dominated by white culture,” said sophomore Chan Jones.

Her friend, sophomore Elizabeth Short, chimed in: “I never hear music like this. It honestly is bopping.”

This event was funded by Miami Activities and Programming / Late Night Miami.

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