Campus clubs explode with diversity, talent

Cullen Performance Hall was abuzz Wednesday night with music, dance and a raucous crowd for the Council of Ethnic Organizations’ annual International Explosion talent show.

The talent show featured 10 student organizations that competed in various cultural displays.

Erica Tat, assistant director of CEO and French junior, said International Explosion is one of its biggest events of the year.

“We are trying to showcase the diversity we have on campus. It’s also a chance for us to collaborate with these different organizations.”

Crowd favorites included the Wushu Club’s martial arts demonstration, which included a solo sword and chain weapon routines performed at a deadly speed.

The audience also enjoyed the Caribbean Student Organization’s booty-shaking dance number, Alpha Phi Alpha’s energetic step dancing and Roarin’ Raas’ Indian spectacle. Each organization had more than a dozen dancers in eye-catching costumes.

According to Tat, the show is always free for performers to enter and students to attend.

“We never charge for our events. It’s a chance for us to give back to them. That way if they win, they get cash prizes to help out with their organization or whatever they want to use it for.”

First, second and third place cash prize awards were determined by the judges through a combination of crowd reaction and cultural representation.

According to Tat, last year’s attendance was about 500 people. Though the Cullen Performance Hall was only half full, audience members filled the rest of the auditorium with enthusiastic applause, laughter and all-around good cheer.

CEO staff raffled off T-shirts to lucky show-goers in between acts, but members simply flung shirts into the greedy crowd toward the end of the show.

A significant portion of the crowd was made up of supporters of the defending champions, Roarin’ Raas.

Students carried Roarin’ Raas signs and went wild when the Indian dance troupe performed.

Pratham@UH took home third place for its performance, which featured a combination of traditional Indian dance and a modern-day morality play about the importance of young women receiving education in India.

The Wushu Club earned second place with its flawless acrobatic martial arts presentation.

For the second year in a row, the first place award and $500 went to Roarin’ Raas for its colorful and well-choreographed dance routine.

Though International Explosion was a fun, free event for students, Tat said it also serves an important purpose.

“It’s to help students know that we have these organizations. Everything’s free, and it’s just a fun thing for these organizations to do.”

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