17th annual International Festival: music, dance and cuisine from around the world

Ishwarya Iyer, adjunct professor of social informatics, tattoos henna at International Festival

Chelsey Carr

Ishwarya Iyer, adjunct professor of social informatics, tattoos henna at International Festival

Kristin Kennedy, Staff











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  • Deanna Hoying, Susan Rouse, and Mercedes Nelson, dancers with Flamenco Louisville for three years, seven years, and five years respectively; performed with singer Shannon Fitzgerald at the International Festival Tuesday, March 10. Hoying said the group has been dancing together for years. “My favorite part is that we are like a family,” Rouse said. Nelson appreciates how Flamenco challenges her in many different ways. Fitzgerald moved to Huelva, Spain with her husband and taught English. When she came back to the United States she was homesick for Spain. “I found Flamenco Louisville and decided to join them. Once you leave college it’s hard to find performance opportunities unless you’re part of a performance group or you do karaoke,” she said. Fitzgerald has been singing her whole life but has been singing with Louisville Flamenco for two and a half years.

  • Flamenco dancing at the IU Southeast International Festival

  • The 17th annual IU Southeast International Festival was held Tuesday March 10, 2015 and featured many different cultures.

  • Flamenco dancing at the IU Southeast International Festival

  • Ishwarya Iyer, adjunct professor of social informatics, tattoos henna on Julie Schubert, graduate student. The Center for Cultural Resources (CCR), located on the second floor of the library, had a booth at the International Festival in which they gave free henna tattoos. “We always do it [henna tattoos] for free. It’s really popular and a lot of people usually have questions about being a tattooist. They also ask about the design and why they chose that one and what it means. We are preserving the art and giving back to campus, which makes us feel more connected,” Sridhar Ramachandran, associate professor of informatics, said. According to Ramachandran, the CCR has always encouraged diversity on campus. “The International Festival is a good platform to see diversity on campus. It’s an annual event so it’s become part of the culture. We feel more connected with campus, having seen diversity increase over time,” he said.

  • Julie Schubert, graduate student has a henna tattoo placed by Ishwarya Iyer, adjunct professor of social informatics

  • Kimberly Pelle, manager of the adult student center, served students at the International Festival Tuesday, March 10. She volunteers for the International Festival every year because she enjoys interacting with students and teaching them something new about international foods. “I love curry because I’m partial to spicy, exotic flavors. When I was younger, I went to boarding school in India,” Pelle said.

  • Mehru Hassan, of Bollywood Dance Louisville engages the crowd in her performance

  • Mehru Hassan, of Bollywood Dance Louisville, performed at the International Festival Tuesday, March 10. She participated in the festival because she thought representing India would be a lot of fun and because she loves to share the culture and energy of Bollywood Dance. “It is very high energy, kinda a melting pot of all sorts of dance: ballet, tap, jazz, and classical. I found a home in it because it incorporates all those things together beautifully,” Hassan said. She teaches Bollywood dancing on the weekends.

  • Mehru Hassan, of Bollywood Dance Louisville preforms at the IU Southeast International Festival

  • Chancellor Ray Wallace was recognized for his photography in a contest, which was awarded Tuesday, March 10 at the International Festival. Wallace saw the local competition and decided to enter, but he was glad it was a blind contest. “Sometimes I’ve got good luck and sometimes I’m ignored. I was fortunate,” he said. Wallace said he was lucky in taking his photo, “Japanese Bookstore Dreams.” “I was in Tokyo, walking down the street. I looked across and saw a young woman looking intently at a book. I had a long telephoto lens so I was not intruding on the moment. A few days later, I started really looking at it; I was lucky,” he said.

  • Brian Dennis, a senior in psychology, won the photo contest with his two photos “A Cheap View” and “Kudu’s Gaze” at the International Festival Tuesday, March 10. Dennis entered photos based on the praise of others, although he never imagined he would win. “Winning isn’t important, but being in the company of great photographers like Chancellor Wallace is a pretty incredible experience,” said Dennis.

  • The Louisville Lion Dance team performed at the International Festival providing a show and education

  • The Louisville Lion Dance team performed at the International Festival Tuesday, March 10. The dancers range in age from 12 to 22. Team Leader Hugo Tran said he likes seeing the crowd happy, especially when they laugh. Dancer Tony Ha said he enjoys seeing new faces when they perform. “We really enjoy preserving the art of lion dancing and bringing it to the community, no matter the background or age,” Kevin Le, who has been dancing for nine years.

  • During the Lion Dance, the performers interacted with the audience

  • The Louisville Lion Dance team dance to music at the IU Southeast International Festival

  • The Louisville Lion Dance team performed at the International Festival Tuesday, March 10

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The sound of bagpipes traveled, Bollywood dancers shimmied and the smell of bangers and mash wafted through the air during the IU Southeast International Festival.

The 17th annual International Festival occurred on Tuesday, March 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Hoosier Room in University Center North. The festival featured music, dance and cuisine from countries around the world.

International Festival attendees could sample a variety of international dishes, including Greek olives, Italian gnocchi, German apple strudel and dishes from several other countries.

Additionally, several dance groups performed during the International Festival. The groups included the Louisville Lion dance team, the McClanahan School of Irish Dance, Flamenco Louisville and others.

Valerie Scott, psychology professor and co-director of the International Programs department on campus, said the International Festival helped bring diversity to the IU Southeast campus.

“I think it’s a mix of being exposed to new culture and new food that people otherwise could not experience,” Scott said.

Rebecca Eberhardt, psychology and criminal justice senior, said she enjoyed sampling the food at the International Festival.

“There was food I’ve never even heard of, so it was nice to just try it,” Eberhardt said.

Trevor Allen, history and political science freshman, said it was his first time attending the International Festival. Allen said he enjoyed the diverse experiences.

“I like the music and I like the food,” Allen said “It’s just getting to experience different cultures. I think that whole thing appeals to me.”

Some students, faculty members and staff members volunteered at the International Festival. Criminal justice senior Catherine Daugherty and communications sophomore Sierra Harris volunteered as cashiers.

Daugherty said she enjoyed volunteering at the International Festival because she was able to see all the sights.

“I volunteer at all kinds of random stuff a lot, and it’s just really interesting to see everyone,” Daugherty said. “You see all the dancers coming down from upstairs, and all their outfits and everything’s just really cool too.”

The International Festival was open to students, faculty, staff and community members. Harris said she thinks the festival was successful because several community members attended.

“There’s a lot of people coming out to see it,” Harris said during the International Festival. “It’s not only students who (are coming).”

International Festival tickets cost $5 for students and senior citizens, and general admission tickets cost $8. The proceeds from the festival will benefit IU Southeast’s study abroad scholarships.

The International Festival was sponsored by many IU Southeast departments, programs and organizations, including International Programs, the Non-Traditional Student Union and the Office of Equity and Diversity. Several local businesses, including The New Albanian, Coffee Crossing and others, were donors.

Scott said the International Festival benefitted attendees in several ways.

“I think it makes students aware of the international programs and the fact that the campus is beyond just our walls,” Scott said. “Education is beyond our walls. And it brings people from outside the campus also. I think it’s an opportunity for people to get together.”