In less than five minutes, students from all over campus rushed to Vaquero Plaza, leaving the rest of GCC rather empty. Conversations, games, lunch and telephone calls were cut short when a couple of dancers stunned the crowds with their performance.
“I don’t know how many people exactly attended but there was a lot of them,” said the president of the International Students Club, Hirono Enami, 19. The old president of the club, Hennan Joof, 23, also agreed that this was the biggest crowd they’ve ever managed to draw.
World Culture Week at GCC opened on May 18 with a fashion show that featured students showcasing their native country’s traditional wear. Students performed traditional dances, including a performance of the Japanese dance Awa Odori.
“I never danced Awa Odori before. Another student taught me how to do it,” said Masami Takigawa, 39-year-old Alcohol and Drug Studies major, who was one of the dancers at the event.
The International Students Club put the event together to celebrate the different cultures at GCC. “We have so many students of different cultures and we just wanted to let everyone know that ‘hey, this is where we come from’,” said Enami. There are over 500 international students at GCC and they are all a part of the club, and we wanted to bring everyone together, Enami said.
Japan, Mexico, and the Philippines were only three of the over 20 countries represented. The couple of dancers representing Mexico in drew the most attention from students. “They were awesome. At one point I looked around and there wasn’t anyone who wasn’t paying attention; everyone was gathered around them,” said 19-year-old photography major, Katherine Djaghouri, an onlooker at the event.
The Mexican couple practiced for months to earn the praise they got. Their routines included combinations of steps that had the male dancer catching his partner with the back of his leg as she fell backward on to him. “It was very exciting to watch these dancers perform. It’s one of the few times I’ve actually been compelled to pay attention to an event like this,” Djaghouri said.
The celebrations continued on May 20, with the international food fare. For two hours students offered their country’s traditional foods on 22 tables spread out in front of San Gabriel Plaza. Some of the dishes, such as the Japanese cuisine were homemade by members of the International Students Club.
Chirashi-Sushi, a Japanese party dish, was one of the homemade foods offered at the event. Students also had their choice of Yakisoba Noodles which is “like chow mein but it’s Japanese and the spices that we use are different,” said Takigawa, who also helped prepare this dish.
“The people that were selling the food had the chance to donate the proceeds, and most of them did,” Joof said. After the event, proceeds went to scholarships for international students.
Events for the week wrapped up on May 21 with a dance banquet held at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena. “The event was successful. More students were participating compared to last year,” Takigawa said.