CIA Week Showcase: A Night With the Stars
by Lali Pizarro
On Saturday, October 28th at 5pm, the CIA Week Committee and several student performers and supporters gathered in Upper tarble for two hours of talent, music, dance, and food. The occasion was the “CIA Week Showcase: A Night With the Stars.”
The attendees sat at several round tables, enjoying food and conversation. The seating arrangement gave the atmosphere a community-oriented feeling. To the right of the tables sat a large screen, which later projected a video presentation from CIA week’s “Humans of Swarthmore project” which can be found attached to this article. Opposite the screen were tables containing large trays of food—“breakfast for dinner” was the meal, including sausage and pancakes catered by Springfield Diner.
Performers included “Offbeat: Swarthmore’s newest co-ed a capella group,” who kicked off the performances with two songs, “La La La” by Sam Smith and “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse.
Next, “Mayuri: a Tri-co south Asian fusion dance group,” performed a lively and colorful dance, which was met with much applause by the student audience.
Following Mayuri, the CIA week Committee played their “Humans of Swarthmore” video presentation, which featured 9 minutes of footage of interviews with a diverse group of Swatties discussing their social and racial identities and cultures and their personal significance. Unfortunately, technical difficulties prevented the video from being played in full, but luckily, it can be found here in its entirety!
Next, Professor Peng Xu and Josie Hung (‘19) performed a traditional Chinese opera, “Fleeing by Night,” written in 1559. Professor Peng Xu sang, while Hung played flute. In addition to performing, Hung also serves on the CIA week planning committee. When trying to decide the focus of the performances this year, Hung outlines that the committee sought to feature a diverse array of campus groups.
“It’s kind of nice to have a mix of groups that are on campus and a bunch of different groups that have cultures and identities that are represented through the art forms,” she says.
Following the opera, Sixteen Feet, “Swarthmore’s all male and oldest acapella group,” dawning their infamous uniform of plaid shirts and bare feet, sang three songs, featuring Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed Delivered,” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On.”
Vivek Ramanan ‘18 then performed a traditional Indian Dance for the crowd. Ramanan explains, “Bharatanatyam is very, very cultural. It has a huge amount of stories that we tell through it, so it’s a very good learning mechanism for kids to get to connect with their culture. I grew up in Texas and California so this [dance] was like my connecting point to my home. So any time I would go back to India, this is what I used to do and this is how I’d often connect with my grandparents or my extended family that I didn’t really have as close as a connection [with] without this. So this became a very powerful tool for me to be able to express my cultural identity, which is why I was so excited to perform it here.”
Finally, to conclude the show case, Taiko gave the audience a drum performance that served as a “sneak” peek of their upcoming December Show.
Ultimately, the event was a lively celebration of art, community, and culture. Community members thank the CIA Week Committee for shining a spotlight on a diverse array of groups who engage in cultural traditions and make our campus a livelier, more colorful place.