Since 1997, Zoellner Arts Center has hosted student performances, and as campus evolves along with the ever-changing social and political climate, events such as Thursday’s FUSION play a role in highlighting the different cultures represented at Lehigh.
Twelve acts, including African Renaissance, Latin Dance Club and LU’s Finest Step Team, took to the stage in Baker Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. The performances represented a variety of ethnic backgrounds through their specific dance styles and music. The event, hosted by the Asian Cultural Society and the Black Student Union, was the kickoff to Lehigh’s annual International Week.
“FUSION is a great way to get people from all over campus to celebrate each other,” Vanessa Pedraza, ’20, said.
FUSION, an acronym for Fostering Unity Staged in One Night, is more than just a dance recital — it’s an act of cohesiveness between minority groups that want aspects of their culture to be recognized and celebrated through dance.
“It was a great way to experience the diversity that Lehigh has to offer and see different cultures represented in such a cool way,” John Pendergast, ’19, said.
Pendergast said he enjoyed the variety of performances and the standard of excellence that past FUSION events have set.
Mitul Suri, ’20, had no dance experience before joining Bad Company, LU Bhangra and African Renaissance. He said the groups went to great lengths to be prepared for performing in front of such a large audience — something that many students had never done before this event.
“We run through our mixes multiple times and look at each other to find the critiques we need in order to be better the next time around,” Suri said.
Suri said being a part of his three groups “feels like working with family,” and the inclusiveness of the environment made it easier to integrate into something out of his comfort zone.