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Devoted to diversity

Photos by David Harden/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Members of Sajaan Ve perform, top, and 5-year-old Adia Marble does a cartwheel in a capoeira dance, bottom, during Friday's "One Love Multicultural Showcase." The event was held to help promote campus diversity through the performing arts.
By Thuba Nguyen
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, April 5, 2004
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Campus community celebrates cultural diversity with 'One Love'

The voices of performers echoed through the crowded auditorium of the Modern Languages building Friday night, where people of many ethnicities, ages and interests gathered for the third annual "One Love Multicultural Showcase."

The event, organized by Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority and the Baha'i Association, showed an audience of more than 350 the diversity and talent of people around campus.

"Diversity is important because in the United States people come together from all different parts of the world. And it's just important to recognize ... and appreciate that," said one of the Persian dance performers, management and information systems senior Parisa Rouhani.

The band Ember opened the show by jamming to a little bit of rock mixed with folk on the stage, which was decorated with black, white, purple and red streamers.

Next, capoeira performers demonstrated Afro-Brazilian martial arts by dancing and chanting to the beating of drums and "berimbas." Berimbas are traditional African instruments that control the "roda" - pronounced "hoda" - a circle created by the performers that symbolizes the world, said Rhonda Marble, an instructor at Capoeira Malandragem.

As the music began, Marble's 5-year-old daughter, Adia, walked into the middle of the roda and performed the "ginga" - a basic movement of capoeira.

DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Five-year-old Adia Marble does a cartwheel like a trained professional during the Capoeira performance at Friday night's "One Love" multi-cultural showcase in the Modern Languages building. The showcase 18 performances including dance, vocal, and comedy routines preformed by students and community members.

In addition to capoeira, salsa, Persian dancing and break dancing also captivated the audience.

"The performance is so diverse; everybody has so much rhythm," said Rupali Roy, second-year medical student.

Vocal Ease, an all-female a cappella sextet, sang "It's Raining Men," "You're Never Gonna Get It," "Natural Woman" and ended with "Miss Independent."

Vocal Ease member and biology junior Tamara Bill said, "We've always had a cultural mix within our group with lots of different interests, so we just like to pull it all together and show the audience what we're all about," Bill said.

Four Persian female dancers appeared after intermission with vibrant traditional costumes and yellow, turquoise, orange and purple scarves that emphasized the fluid movement of their dance.

UA improv comedy troupe Charles Darwin Experience used its comedic improvisational skills to act out scenes from geographical locations suggested by audience members. One scene was a Turkish dinner party where the daughter asked the father to throw her a themed birthday party. While acting, the performers pulled out small pieces of papers with phrases written by the audience and read them aloud. Phrases included "Man , who goes to bed and wakes up with sticky fingers?," "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't" and "Peace starts with me."

Charles Darwin Experience member Alec Fairey, a fine arts senior, said, "I think this is a really good cause because it brings a lot of people together that would normally not see each other."

That was the intention of Opal Tometi, history junior and education chair of Theta Nu Xi, who brought the show together in one month. As she was running back and forth to be the master of ceremonies and confer with performers, she managed to say it was a lot of hard work.

"Hopefully after this event, the people who came will be able to see the beauty of unity and diversity by being exposed to all these artistic pieces from different cultures," said nutritional sciences sophomore Soroosh Behshad, Tometi's onstage partner.

"It's nice to see our campus arranging something where we get to see people from all walks of life," said public health sophomore Lucy Saldana.

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