Global Gala brings cultures together


Bollywood Dance Club performs its last dance of the night. ISU’s Global Gala was hosted by SUB on March 27. The Gala annually brings together performers from diverse backgrounds and encourages students to enjoy other cultures.

Adam Sodders

Colorful flags from all over the globe adorned the walls in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union as students prepared for the Global Gala, a live show celebrating Iowa State’s diversity.

This was the setting for the 10th annual Global Gala on Friday night. 

A total of seven acts performed at the event, including some comedy and dancing from the event’s four emcees.

Victor Theng and Krista Mayanja, co-directors for multicultural events with the Student Union Board, were in charge of the night’s festivities.

Mayanja, junior in marketing, said the Global Gala is an important event at Iowa State meant “to promote and kind of bring together other cultures.”

The planning for Global Gala began before the start of Winter Break last semester.

The Celtic Dance Society kicked of the show with traditional Celtic music, dance and dress. 

The organization performed four dances.

The Celtic Dance Society was followed by hip hop/jazz dance fusion act Motion Sickness. The performance was marked by booming bass and fast paced dance during a continually changing music track.

The Bollywood Dance Crew performed next. Their performance and dress were inspired by traditional Indian culture. 

The dance crew also had booming songs, and the performance was cheered and spurred on by many people in attendance for the event.

An Indian drumming performance followed, and the drummer got the crowd involved in the performance, having a section of call and response. 

The drummer would play a beat and have the crowd follow by clapping the beat.

Sucka Punch, a break-dancing hip-hop group, followed the drumming performance. 

Sucka Punch’s performance contained a mix of spinning, jumping, flipping and dancing to various music tracks, including Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.”

At the climax of the break dancing performance, the crowd reacted with laughter and surprise when two of the members shed their shirts in the middle of a complicated dance routine.

Tap dancing followed Sucka Punch. Tap Dance Iowa State had a short but energetic tap-dancing performance, which saw the entire group performing in sync with one another. The dancers relied entirely on their shoes to make the music, and had no background music.

The ISU Bhangra dance group rounded out the night with another Indian culture inspired performance. The group used staffs, colorful cloths and other props in the dance. This performance also got the crowd excited, and many people shouted and cheered on the group.

In between performances, the gala’s four emcees performed dance and comedy routines. The emcees eventually held dance-offs, to see who the best emcee was.

“It is a great opportunity for all these cultures to represent Iowa State,” said Dean Vanevery, junior in electrical engineering and one of the emcees.

Robert Nichols, senior in mechanical engineering and another emcee, agreed. 

Nichols said the Global Gala is important because it exposes and celebrates different cultures at Iowa State.

Attendees also expressed their feelings about the night’s performances, and some of the students in attendance were not from Iowa, such as Briana Ward and Jessica Woodson, students from University of Missouri-Kansas City. They said they liked the friendly and comfortable environment at the Global Gala.

Many ISU students were also present at the gala.

“I thought it was eye-opening,” said Kyle Brandenburg, junior in kinesiology and health. He and his peers, Ryan Williams and Jake Speer, also sophomores in kinesiology, attended the show for a class requirement.

Despite being required to be at the gala, all of them agreed they were glad to have gone, saying it was an interesting and fun celebration of the diversity on Iowa State’s campus.

“Many students won’t be able to go abroad,” said Karter Ruzicka, sophomore in political science and emcee. “This event opens their eyes to other cultures.”