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Oak Leaves

December 9, 2016

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Ethiopian Students showcase traditional Ethiopian dance

OMA Presents 'The World From A to Z'


Maddie Jo Shultz

Lights, camera, fashion! Manchester University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs celebrated international students’ diverse backgrounds and cultures in its ninth biennial International Fashion Show, called “The World from A to Z.” The show featured clothing, dances and music from 15 countries represented by MU students, as well as a stand-up comedy act, and counted as a VIA for the fall 2016 semester. At 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, university students, faculty and other members of the community filled up the seats of Cordier Auditorium for the show.

The evening began with a short video of the participants practicing their catwalks, which garnered plenty of positive hollering from the audience.

Sophomore Sean Patton and first-year Chelsea Glenn hosted the event, introducing the models representing and information regarding the 15 countries, listed in alphabetical order from England to Zhōngguó/China.  Sophomore Eve Hansen was the first model out on the stage, showing off the London look in a purple dress by English designer TNFC. Ethiopia followed with Dagmawitt Alemu, Maraki Tihtina, Fotini Kristuli and Fiker Zelealem, who modeled both traditional and modern interpretations of the habesha kemis (hah-bisha-ka-mis), as well as dresses with cross designs often worn on holidays or to weddings. A total of six female models further exemplified Ethiopian culture, trading their heels for bare feet and igniting the stage with a dance.

Mam Samba strutted her stuff in a vibrant-colored Gambian gown, described by emcee Glenn as “an absolutely beautiful kente,” with geometric shapes. Patton, Glenn’s fellow host, did a quick change into the typical Western men’s fashion of Ghana: a practical but pristine white shirt and black pants.

Some individuals represented multiple countries during the show, such as TerraceUniq Johnson and Rebecca Mundroff, who modeled for both Hindustan/India and Israel. Sisters Bijal and Nicky Patel modeled the chaniya choli (chan-ia-cho-li) from India. These pieces have designs made of beads, can be quite heavy, and are worn for a dance festival known as garba (GAR-ba). Arpan Paul and Ryan DeMars both wore a sherwani; Paul’s was more elaborate and formal, while DeMars’ was a more casual, day-to-day version of the outfit. An Indian dance, featuring the Patels and Hansen, brought Bollywood to North Manchester, Indiana.

Junior Tabo Chata represented sunny Namibia in a formal, leopard print shirt, and brought many smiles and laughs to the audience with his stand-up comedy act. During his performance, Chata expressed a dislike of practical jokes and enjoys inserting irony into his humor. “Is there a right way to eat a tomato?” he asked the audience, then added, “I’m pretty sure you don’t start by putting ketchup on it.” Chata believes that babies should not vote because they are materialistic (desiring only food and sleep) and cry inexplicably. He added that if babies were reasonable creatures, they would turn to their parents and say, “You changed more than my diaper; you changed my life.”

At the end of the show, Michael Dixon, the director of Intercultural Services, thanked Mariam Ibrahim for her hard work in putting the show together and before concluding the event, encouraged audience members to attend the International Buffet in April 2017.