Wamidan brings new cultures to DePauw through music and dance

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NATALIE BRUNINI (1 of 1)-2
NATALIE BRUNINI (1 of 1)-2

Through dance and music, the World Association of Musicians, Instrumentalists, and Dancers, Wamidan for short, brings pieces of cultures from around the world to Greencastle for the DePauw University community to experience.

On Sept. 13, Wamidan will be hosting their kick-off event in Reese Hall at 6 p.m. All students are invited to learn more about the group’s upcoming performances, dance workshops, and cultural events. Games and free food will be provided.

“We focus on showing the campus and the people of Greencastle music, dance, instruments, and performances from different cultures,” sophomore Preet Kaur, president of Wamidan, said.

During the fall semester, the group will host dance workshops for various styles of dance. Two have been held already, one on hip hop and one on Kpop, on previous Fridays in the Lilly Center. Information for upcoming workshops will be posted to the group’s Facebook page, Wamidan at DePauw.

Throughout the year, Wamidan plans to host cultural events honoring a specific culture on different nights. Dates and details will be announced later in the semester. Wamidan will perform for the first time this year at the International Bazaar in November. This gives the group a second performance including their spring showcase.

For Kaur, a performance at the International Bazaar led to her involvement with Wamidan. With the help of a friend, Kaur performed a bollywood dance. “I feel like at DePauw there is not a strong south asian community, and I thought the international bazaar would be a great way to showcase my culture,” Kaur said. After her performance, the former president of Wamidan reached out and asked her to join.

According to Kaur, come spring semester, practices will be held once a week and will be open to anyone interested in learning and performing in the group’s Spring Showcase. Not only is the group in search of performers, Kaur said they are also in need of choreographers.

Last year, sophomore Adja Camara, vice president of Wamidan, taught afrobeats with the help of a friend. “Afrobeats is basically West African music mixed with hiphop and more current styles of music,” Camara explained.

Camara got involved with Wamidan because she felt it put an emphasis on many of the different cultures in the world. “It is sort of an opening to the world, and it shows you things that are happening outside of the U.S. culturally,” Camara said.

Hattie Blair is the group’s faculty advisor. She inherited the role when she came to work at DePauw as Program Coordinator for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Blair emphasized the importance of the cultural effect Wamidan has on the community. “Because Wamidan is an organization that showcases global culture, dance, and music, our office is happy to support them and the ways they create an inclusive space that celebrates culture through creative expression,” Blair said.

So far this year, more than 65 people have signed up to receive information about Wamidan. Kaur is optimistic their numbers will be larger than last year, hopefully allowing them to showcase numbers from more cultures.

Authentic outfits are provided for the performances. Kaur explained that after the list of performances is finalized, the group budgets their money so traditional outfits can be provided for the performers because it is important to the group to provide an authentic experience. “We don’t want [cultural appropriation] to happen, so we try our best to get outfits that represent that culture,” Kaur said.

Anyone interested in Wamidan does not have to have prior experience. “Back home I would never have performed in front of anyone at all,” Camara said. “So I wanted to get outside of my comfort zone. Just try it. It won’t kill you.”