Photos: 2022 International Night, UH Hilo students share their cultures through song and dance

After a two-year hiatus, UH Hilo’s International Nights returned with students sharing song and dance of their homelands. There were also some peaceful statements made about cultural identity and war. 

The back of an audience member with a replica of a Ukrainian flag in her hair.
A Ukrainian flag is displayed by a member of the audience at International Night, March 24, UH Hilo’s Campus Center Plaza. Photos by Kirsten Aoyagi.

Celebrating an annual tradition that was put on hold for two years during the pandemic, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo presented a scaled-down version of International Nights in a one-night event at the Campus Center Plaza on March 24. Featured were international student dancers representing Japan, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Melanesia, Marshall Islands, and Samoa.

Traditionally, International Nights, produced by the UH Hilo International Student Association, is an annual two-night show held at the Performing Arts Center. After a two-year hiatus during covid restrictions, performers put on a smaller show this year at the open-air plaza at the center of campus to share the songs and dances of their homelands, continuing the tradition of UH Hilo’s international students sharing their cultures.

There were also brief and peaceful displays of international politics at this particular event: a member of the audience displayed a replica of the Ukrainian flag in solidarity with the Ukrainian people who are currently suffering a brutal invasion by the Russian military, and students held up signs following the dances of Papua New Guinea to express their feelings about the identity of their homeland.

Photos by Kirsten Aoyagi, click to enlarge.

Puna Taiko
representing Japan
Natsu No Kodo / Uneri

Puna Taiko group on drums.

Ngelekel Belau Club
representing Palau

Two rows of six dancers in t-shirts and cloth wrap skirts face each other

Melanesian Fusion
representing Papua New Guinea & Melanesia

Three women dancers in grass skirts gesture toward the audience.

Marshallese Iakwe Club
representing the Marshall Islands
Traditional Marshallese Biit

Women and men dancers in white t-shirts and black skirts and pants. All dancers wear black masks for covid protection, but one woman has a whistle in her mouth.

Japanese Student Association
representing Japan
Soran Bushi

Women's hands reach out toward the back of a dancer in traditional Japanese dress.

Tupulaga O Samoa Mo A Taeao
representing Samoa

A group of men and women in traditional Samoan dress, head woman in large headdress.

Photos by Kirsten Aoyagi, a communication major at UH Hilo.

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