World Expo Night!

July 12, 2014

The ability of people to connect and communicate without relying on the use of words is something that we have all come to better understand through living in language here at the Language Academy. The World Expo is a perfect example of the amazing human capacity for this understanding.

Tonight was World Expo night at MMLA Pomona. This annual event includes all academies and allows the students a chance to demonstrate to each other their language skills and what they have learned in class. Presentations tonight included skits, dances, songs, videos and fashion shows. Each academy also brought traditional food items representative of their respective languages.

Students were all dressed in academy colors (red, blue, orange and green) and seated by Language Academy. The ballroom in which the event was held was a checkerboard of all four colors.

The Spanish academy kicked off the event with a rousing performance of Bomba y Plena, which is a traditional Puerto Rican dance in which women wear colorful skirts and men wear hats. This was followed by theater scenes from instructor Alena’s theater class, which depicted humorous (mis) interpretations of student behavior in the classroom and student interactions with their parents. Next, instructor Taylor’s dance class entertained attendees with their Bachata routine, which is a social partner dance enjoyed in many Spanish-speaking countries. The Spanish Academy finished off their presentations with an enthusiastic sing-along rendition of Son Mis Amigos by Amaral, which was accompanied by a student music video.

The French Academy followed with an amusing song and dance, Corde à Sauter (Jump Rope), by Logobitombo. Next, instructor Meg’s class presented their hip dance routine to Stromae’s hit song, Papaoutai. After that, instructor Marie-Jo’s class presented a Senegalese fashion show, in which the student emcees described the traditional Senegalese outfits worn by their classmates. Next, instructor Christian’s class performed their dance routine to the popular song Cette Année-là by Claude François, complete with sunglasses. Much like the Spanish, the French academy ended their show with an upbeat academy-wide rendition of Aux Champs Elysées a timeless classic in the French songbook.

The Chinese Academy wowed attendees with a rhythmic Chopstick Dance, presented by the students in instructor Zhousu He’s class. Li Yang’s class thenperformed the Zhugan Dance, followed by a puppet show with students from several classes. It is worth mentioning that the students in the puppet cultural exploration class not only spent the week orchestrating their puppet show, but also creating their very own puppets from felt and cardstock. To conclude their show, all students in the Chinese academy sang their Academy and weathersongs.

Last but not least, the Arabic academy performed a fashion show of garments worn in various Arabic-speaking countries, in which student emcees described the outfits worn by their classmates. Next, two students expressively recited a love poem in Arabic by Nizar Qabbani, which was followed by a lively Dabkeh Dance. After that, students in instructors Majida and Abdullah’s classes performed a moral play about a princess who is lost in the woods. The princess’s father grants her hand in marriage to whoever is able to find her. It turns out that three men find the princess at the same time, so the princess must choose which man to marry. Her options are a man with a magic mirror, another with a magic carpet and one with a magic apple. She ends up choosing the man with the apple because it is the one object that is gone once it is used, meaning that this person has given everything they possess and is therefore unselfish. To conclude their performance, all students in the Arabic academy sang “Those Who Planted the Oranges” a song by famous Egyptian composer Muhammad Abdel Wahab.

The World Expo brought out special camaraderie between academies that is sometimes difficult to encourage while remaining in the Language Pledge® with all different languages. While students were up on stage, regardless of academy, all students actively cheered each other on despite (in some cases) being unable to understand even one word of an academy’s presentation. Overall, students were enthralled in what other academies had to offer and enjoyed each exposition. Once the performances were over, attendees had the opportunity to visit different academy tables to try some delicious cultural treats. Everyone was impressed by each academy’s showing; it is clear that students have learned a great deal in their cultural exploration classes, and that they have enjoyed doing so!

In all, this event was a huge success as a result of the collective effort of each academy and the support everyone had to offer each other.

-Abby, Spanish Academy RA, and Stephanie Loiselle, Activities Coordinator