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International Students Stage Sensational Show

The Cosmopolitan Club hosted its annual Cultural Talent and Fashion Show wowing the crowd with its spectacular costumes and performances.

Under the dazzling spotlights of the historic Phelps Stokes Chapel, Berea's Cosmopolitan Club hosted a spectacular event, exhibiting Berea College's tremendous wealth of talent. Performers leapt across the stage displaying breathtaking feats of acrobatics and students were mesmerized by the wide range of skill of the cultural pieces that only took a month to plan. Blindfolded swordsmen, Russian acrobats, belly dancers and beautiful African and Nepali folk dances were among many of the captivating performances of poetry, song and dance. There was "Fyah", heat and a whole lot of laughs delivered from the lively Emcees and smoldering performances that left the audience stunned. "The best part about this is that almost all of dances were choreographed by students,” shared Miluka Gunaratna, President of Cosmo and lead organizer of the show. Gunaratna, a junior Biology major from Sri Lanka, began recruiting for the show only a month ago in February.

Miluka, who opened the Cosmo Cultural Show, began by leading the audience with a moment of silence in order to “pay respects to all of the innocent people all over the world who have died due to wars, poverty and injustice.” According to Miluka, the focus of this year’s Cosmo event was to showcase many of the diverse customs and cultures of Berea College’s International students. Established in 1946, The Cosmopolitan Club is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse clubs on campus. It was developed to establish cross cultural relationships and bring more awareness of world issues to Berea’s campus.

Gunaratna admitted that she was overwhelmed at first, but her strategy was to work with the Executive Committee members of the club into breaking down all of the production duties into simple tasks. These officers, as well as the twenty-four performers and other members of the Cosmo Club were all very involved in the tiresome planning and process of organizing this incredible show. Even Juan Carlos Hernandez and Jesus Jacobo risked possible injury during La Danza de los machetes in which the two students tossed machetes blindfolded as they performed their spectacular dance in order to captivate the spellbound crowd. But the Executive Officers and other participants of the Cosmo Cultural Show also showed tremendous effort and careful planning in order to make this event a huge success.

When asked about the colorful Tibetan costumes and masks that were used to kick off this celebrated cultural event, Miluka explained how she chose specifically to open the event with the Tashi Sholpa, a lively “Good Luck Dance”. Performed in colorful masks and costumes, this custom, which dates back to to 1645 is traditionally staged for large Tibetan gatherings to bring about good fortune and success. This was one of many performances arranged to commemorate special occasions, such as the Burmese Dance meant to celebrate the Water Festival during Burmese New Year. This is but a few of the astounding talents showcased by Berea’s talented inter-cultural group. The Cosmo Club should be commended with how much time and risk its members put into planning such an incredible show.

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