International Week: Pause & Play in the World around You

Posted: April 13, 2012 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: April 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm

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By Beth Pullias

Have you ever stopped and looked at the people around you? Have you realized how vast and diverse Mason’s population is? If you haven’t, International Week will give you the perfect opportunity to pause and play in the world around you.

“Pause… and view the world around you. Play… and explore the world around you” is this year’s theme for the 32nd annual International Week. Events will begin on Saturday, April 14 and run through the following Saturday.

“We really want students to not stop, but pause, like a when you are watching a movie. We want you to question and not miss the important clues,” explains Bigit Debeerst, assistant director for programs and outreach for the Office of International Programs and Services. “That way you can view, enjoy it, and better understand what is going on around you.”

On Tuesday, take time to pause and view the Dance Competition—one of the highlights of International Week–on Tuesday, April 17 from noon to 2:30 p.m. in the JC Dewberry Hall.

International Dance Competition 2011. Photo courtesy of Creative Services.

“There are so many supporters in the audience. The crowd goes crazy even if they don’t identify with a certain dance group,” says Debeerst. “The music, students, and level of enthusiasm have increased over the years.”

This year, 12 different dance groups will perform, but of those 12, three groups will perform one dance together. Though it is up to the group to decide on how they want to represent their culture, points are added to their overall score for showcasing.

Each performance should last no longer than ten minutes to perform, but teams are encouraged to give an explanation of certain moves, facial expressions, or the history of the dance for the judges to have context to what they are performing. Judging will be based off of choreography, group execution and dance technique, appearance/costume, cultural representation, and audience response.

The top three winners from the competition will perform on Friday, April 20, at the Dinner Dance in JC Dewberry Hall. Guests are encouraged to dress in traditional clothing from their culture. Food stations will provide international food.  Students will sing, perform, and play instruments throughout the night. This signature program will close out events taking place during the week.

The dance competition is a free ticketed event and tickets can be picked up in the Office of Student Involvement (The HUB) Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If tickets are unavailable, the competition will be available to watch in the JC atrium or online through a live stream.

Information on all International Week events and activities can be found on the website.

Write to Beth Pullias at

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