On Friday, March 31, the Boston College Arab Student Association (ASA) will be performing their annual culture show at the Mediterranean Ball. The BC Armenian Club, Hellenic Society, and Hillel are also responsible for organizing the event in the Murray Function Room at 7 p.m.
“Especially now, with everything that’s happening in the current American political climate, I think it’s really important to humanize aspects of Middle Eastern culture,” commented Sarya Baladi, MCAS ’19, an organizer of the ASA event. “It’s just a way to view Middle Eastern culture in a fun, lighter way instead of what the media portrays about Middle Easterners.”
The culture show features dances, poems, a fashion show, skits, and more. Afterwards, the dance floor opens up, and attendees are treated to a Mediterranean buffet—bringing a ray of eastern sunshine to the Heights. All students can attend, dance, and eat free of charge.
“We got a lot of people who aren’t of Arab descent to participate in our dances,” said Baladi, “and I think that’s very important to get more people to learn about the culture and participate in it…That’s something that I’m really proud of.”
Baladi specifically highlighted two dances, “One of them is Dabke, [which] is a traditional Arab line dance that is very popular in Lebanon and Palestine. And then the other dance is like a modern belly dance.” She explained that Dabke is traditionally a male dance and that belly dancing is traditionally a female dance, but the ASA was excited to have both men and women performing in each dance.
The ASA culture show falls at the end of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Heritage Week, which also features a craft night with famed calligrapher Hajj Wafaa this Thursday in Stokes N131 at 7 p.m.
MENA week has rarely received much publicity, but Baladi believes her club’s contribution can still have an impact, “I think we can show that Middle Easterners are your classmates, your friends—people that you can dance with, laugh with. And they shouldn’t be characterized as the other, as I feel [like] we often are in the media.”