Cabaret fosters understanding, dancing

Sonia Emmons

It is a truth universally acknowledged that dancing and feasting are the finest ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.
It is by good chance, then, that this Sun., April 15 at 1:30 p.m., Lawrence students from around the globe will twirl and cha-cha across the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage at the long-awaited Cabaret 2007: The International Difference.
The feast will follow the show.
Organized by the students of Lawrence International, Cabaret uses dance to showcase the many different cultures represented at Lawrence. American culture is included in the international spectrum, and the acts range from the Cuban cha-cha and the samba to Chinese martial arts and the Charleston.
This year marks the 31st anniversary of Cabaret, which has grown from a small event in Riverview Lounge to an 18-act spectacle profiled by the Post-Crescent.
Lawrence International events coordinator Abdalwahab Khatib, a senior from Palestine, expressed the ultimate purpose of Cabaret.
“It brings parts of our international heritages to Lawrence, and gives students a greater appreciation for different cultures.”
According to senior Gaby Szteinberg, the current Lawrence International president who hails from Bolivia, “It is important to show people what happens in other countries, and that these other cultures exist!”
As one international student related, “Much of the world views Americans as being rather self-absorbed.”
This year’s production should help to offset that stereotype. While the international students involved in Cabaret always learn more about the cultures of their fellow internationals, this year they also learned something about Americans: Perhaps we are more open than they had thought.
This year’s performances contain a record number of American dancers, most of them participating in the international dances.
“I am so proud that this many Americans are involved in Cabaret this year!” Szteinberg exclaimed.
She went on, saying, “International students become more tolerant of Americans when we realize that Americans ****are**** interested in learning about other countries.”
The emcees for the show are Deana Brown, a senior from Jamaica, and Ki-Yong Min, a senior from South Korea.
Brown eloquently described Cabaret as “a melting pot of cultures,” and “a window to the international world.” Both students are excited to present a show that represents a year’s worth of planning and hard work.
Min and Khatib both related the high level of stress involved in planning the event.
Khatib explained the difficulty of juggling homework with his tasks for Cabaret, such as the frustrating task of communicating with multiple departments.
“In order to coordinate everything, I went from the Physical Plant, to the Con office, to the theater department . there are so many people involved behind the scenes.”
As Min reflected, “Sometimes you have to decide, should I go to dance practice or write this paper? You always expect the worst, but in the end somehow everything comes together.”
As on any college campus, Lawrence’s international students are an invaluable part of the student body. International students have the important responsibility of representing their countries on a day-to-day basis.
Khatib explained, “By sharing small parts of our heritages, international students bring so much diversity to the Lawrence community.”
Brown agrees, saying, “Each student acts as an ambassador for his or her country. We also help to correct a lot of stereotypes.”
Brown continued jokingly, “For example, I am Jamaican, but I do not live in a palm tree. They are reserved for the upper class, and my family is middle class, so we actually live in a mango tree.”
Cabaret will last roughly two hours, and will be followed by a multicultural dinner at Lucinda’s in Colman Hall.
Tickets cost $5 for the show only, and $3 and one ID swipe for both the show and dinner. Tickets for the dinner are limited.
And, as the emcees proclaimed, “Viva Cabaret! Go buy tickets!