On December 2, I attended the Arabic Talent Show put on by the Arabic Flagship Program. I decided to attend the show because, as mentioned in the previous post, I enjoy performance art. I have also not had a lot of exposure to Arabic culture, preferring Africa and Latin America to the Middle East and Asia, so I thought this event would be something different.
The program started out with a performance by the OU Belly Dancing Club, which I was delighted to learn exists. Their first dance was folk inspired, though later in the night they performed a more modern dance.
Much of the night’s entertainment came in the form of videos produced by Arabic language students. While some of the videos had English subtitles, many of them did not. Arabic not being my foreign language of choice, I did not fully understand what was happening. Presenters explained the videos in English before the viewings, but I know I missed things. It was strange to have people laughing all around me and not know why.
However, while that was uncomfortable, I think those kinds of situations are important for me to experience as a white, English-speaking American. I am not often uncomfortable around others, at least in that way. I do not often feel alienated or other. But I should know what that feels like since so many others do. I want to be able to empathize with those people and hopefully help alleviate such pain for them.
The show ended with a musical performance entitled “Oud Exhibition” on the program. Two men, one playing a string instrument and one playing some sort of drum, performed. It was a beautiful way to end the evening.