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Night of Nations 2015 Night of Nations Event Offers Trip Around World | SUNY Plattsburgh

Two students dressed as flight attendants ran down the aisles of the SUNY Plattsburgh’s E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium, toting suitcases behind them.

“To fasten your seat belt, insert the metal clip into the buckle,” said Alya Aisyah Fadil Binti Norfadilah, a biology major from Malaysia, as Lisa Carmargo, a senior business administration major from Queens, demonstrated.

The 10th annual Night of Nations, held on Saturday, Nov. 14, celebrated the cultures of SUNY Plattsburgh international students through a series of lively dance and musical performances.

As part of the production, titled “Away We Go,” more than 150 students from numerous campus organizations took the audience on a theatrical trip around the world starting in Barbados and ending in Korea.

Cultural Education

Club Caribbean kicked off the show with a collection of dances and skits interspersed between sections of humorous dialogue inspired by “West Side Story.”

Keshell Jordan, a freshman criminal justice major from Brooklyn, was among the dancers in the Club Caribbean troupe.

“The best part (about Night of Nations) was seeing up close and personal how extremely diverse Plattsburgh is,” Jordan said. “It was also rewarding to get an inside look on what it really takes to work together as a team no matter your race, color or background.”

At the next stop was the Dominican Republic, as El Pueblo members took the stage. Men in jeans and white T-shirts twirled women dressed in flowy white skirts and red halter crop tops to lively music as red and blue lights illuminated them.

A series of dances performed by six couples followed as the journey moved to Rio de Janeiro. Their parts incorporated elements of swing and salsa dancing.

Next, the audience was transported across the Atlantic to Africa where dancers from the student group African Unity performed a modern mash-up of dances followed by a more traditional selection set to the beat of tribal drums.

From there, the focus shifted to several European countries and on to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Students donned elaborate dress for a Bollywood-style number, and later a guitarist, pianist and vocalist performed a South Asian love song.

The last countries showcased were Vietnam, Japan, Korea and China.

The students representing Japan wore kimonos and used fans as part of their piece and Chinese Association members used parasols and an elaborate Chinese dragon costume as props.

Learning Experience

The evening was hosted by the SUNY Plattsburgh Global Education Office and sponsored by the Student Association and College Auxiliary Services.

Night of Nations got its start in November 2006. Its first installment organized by Harrison Sindima, a graduate student from Malawi, said Jackie Vogl, assistant vice president for global education.

Back then, it was a small open mic-type event held in the Angell College Center with a plywood stage, Vogl said.

Over the years, it has grown in size and scope and is now performed in SUNY Plattsburgh’s largest auditorium.

Students organize almost every aspect of the event, including choreography, music selection, logistics, public relations and art direction.

BaWool Lim, a junior marketing and business administration major from South Korea, served as the public relations coordinator for this year’s production. He was happy to see the auditorium nearly full for the performance.

“People might not realize the rich international diversity at SUNY Plattsburgh because we (international students) all speak and write in English,” Lim said. “I think Night of Nations is one of the most important events of the year that can show people international students are here with our own cultures.”

Artistic director Ashlee Moschitta said she “loved being a part of such a successful event that students and community members love.”

Moschitta’s role wasn’t just behind the scenes. As a Dance Corps member, she took to the stage with the group.

The audience members were engaged and energized by the performances, she said, noting they were very responsive and cheered everyone on.

The significance of Night of Nations goes beyond the performance itself.

“I think that the display of different cultures resonates most with the audience after they see the performance,” she said. “I think and hope that the audience takes away some new knowledge on the different countries and cultures that the performers embody.”

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