People and Community University

International Students’ Day celebrated with dance and flair

The Council of International Students and Organizations within the Department of International Student and Scholar Services hosted the annual International Dance Competition to celebrate International Students’ Day, a celebration of multiculturalism, diversity, and interconnection.
Dance competition
The K-Pop dance team was named champion of COISO's International Dance Competition on Thursday evening during the annual event that celebrates International Students' Day. Photos: Mike Montero/University of Miami

Each year the Council of International Students and Organizations (COISO) within the Department of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) hosts the International Dance Competition with a mission to foster friendships, show appreciation for cultural dance, and to build a sense of creative community. 

The competition was fierce as teams representing various cultures and countries showcased their best dance moves on Thursday night on the Lakeside Patio. The event was co-sponsored by Student Activities and Student Organizations, Hurricane Productions, Student Affairs, and Student Government.

Alexis Martin, despite never having visited Korea, has an immense appreciation for the culture. This was evident in her role as president of Love of Chinese Korean and Eastern Dances (LOCKED), the only K-Pop dance team at the University of Miami. 

To commemorate the day, the dance team participated in the competition to express their love for Korean Pop culture. As the reigning champions, they were eager to defend their title. 

“A unique thing about LOCKED is that we’re able to get a lot of diverse people together to celebrate Korean culture,” said Martin, a junior studying political science and international studies. “Through this club I’m able to experience the culture and appreciate it.” 

Dancers perform at the International Dance Competition

The event’s co-chairs, undergraduates Ju An Chen and Laura Garcia, selected Disco Fever as this year’s theme in hopes of creating a groovy and unforgettable experience for the international students. Claudia Anderson, associate director of international services, helped the student duo coordinate the competition. 

“COISO’s annual event is a wonderful representation of how the University of Miami community comes together to showcase a variety of international dance and music,” said Anderson. 

As each dance group took the stage, the energy was high as the audience cheered them on. Judges Stephanie Nunez, assistant director of the office of Multicultural Student Affairs; Ana Rendon, senior assistant director of ISS; and Wyatt Waterbury, residential life coordinator, tallied their votes and announced the winners.

Martin’s K-pop dance team regained their first-place title along with a $150 cash prize; Hurricane Bhangra, a Punjabi folk dance team, won second place and $100; and UTaal, a classical Indian dance group, earned third place and $75.

Visit the COISO website to learn more.

Hurricane Bhangra performs at the International Dance Competition