Anticipation for DISA’s International Night grows with completion of final auditions

The Dalhousie International Students’ Association (DISA) held its final auditions for its annual International Night on Saturday.

By Maia Kowalski

Karthik Damodaran and Iman Aftab Khan audition with “Jai Ho.”

The Dalhousie International Students’ Association (DISA) held its final auditions for its annual International Night on Saturday.

“The International Night has been the only cultural event that binds all the diverse cultures on Dal campus together,” said Ishika Sharma, vice president of external affairs for DISA.

This year’s event will happen on March 15, and DISA expects it to attract an audience of about 200. The council held three auditions in the last month, inviting international students to dance, sing, act or do all of the above to show their peers what their culture is all about.

Mandy Peng, vice president of DISA events, emphasized that the most important thing to take away from this event is the celebration of diversity among students.

“We’re trying to collaborate [with] all the different cultural societies,” she said. “Maybe we have a traditional dance from China, from India, [or] a singer from Turkey. We’re trying to make the event more diverse.”

Auditions begin

While the last two auditions attracted 15 to 20 people each, only a handful of hopefuls showed up to the final audition last weekend in the Killam Library.

Hidaya Ahmad, a student from Malaysia, auditioned as an MC.

“I’m always involved in DISA,” she said. “I’m always backstage, but this year I thought I should get out there and reach out to people.”

Two other students, Karthik Damodaran and Iman Aftab Khan, auditioned with a rendition of “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire. Their performance was met with instant applause from Peng, who said she would “definitely say yes” to putting them in the show.

“I’m really interested in performing culture-wise,” said Damodaran, a fourth-year Dalhousie student.

“It’s [also] really important to get together with the international people. I’ve made good friendships [here],” he said.

Decisions, decisions

The council has yet to decide who will go through to the actual event and will decide at the next council meeting, held at the end of this week.

Four members of the DISA Council. From left: Xinyu Wang, marketing rep; Ding Fan, VP executive; Mandy Peng, VP of events; and Jinrong Ge, first-year rep

Sharma said that it’s “usually really difficult” and “the people who audition are usually really passionate about performing arts.”

“We do judge based on the quality,” she added. “If there is no expert in a particular line to judge, we ask someone who is an expert.”

With hundreds of audience members expected, the stakes are high to put on a great show. But the council is not too worried.

“It has been a success ever since it’s come into being,” said Sharma.

DISA’s International Night is being held this year on March 15 at 6 p.m. in the McInnes Room (within the Dalhousie Student Union Building). Tickets cost $15 for students and $25 for non-students and can be purchased at the DISA Office (on the second-floor of the Grad House) or at the International Centre.