This past Friday, the African Student Organization (ASO) presented their talent show “Culture Shock.” The talent competition took place from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Old Union Hall and was an opportunity for a multitude of talents to be represented on stage to contest for a $500 grand prize.

The show opened with a welcoming announcement from Derek Jorden, resident director of Rafuse Hall, introducing the performing teams and judges. In between performances ASO also hosted a variety of audience interactive minigames such as “So You Think You Can Dance?” and musical chairs. Old Union Hall was vibrantly decorated with balloons, a stage for the performers and blue and purple lights that illuminated the room. All decorations corresponded with the winter wonderland theme.

Hawa Fofana, the educational coordinator of ASO and a junior double-majoring in biology and global public health, explained the significance of “Culture Shock” and why ASO hosts events such as this one.

“When students first find themselves in college, one of the first things they do is try to find their community or ‘home away from home,’” Fofana wrote in an email. “Luckily, so much of what makes the POC community unique is how we express ourselves in the arts, so there is no better place to find your home than on a dance team, singing, step team, etc.”

Fofana went on to describe why “Culture Shock” means so much to ASO.

“ASO thrives off of unifying the community, which is why we bring in teams from different schools to create an opportunity for a collaboration of shared interests,” Fofana wrote. “We love to see how this competition and our cash prize bring out the competitiveness of our peers as everyone puts their best foot forward to display their passions. We all deserve a chance to showcase our talents.”

Many groups performed at “Culture Shock,” including some of Binghamton’s very own such as MODA, Black Dance Repertoire, MajorNoir, Masti, Uyai Nnua and X-Fact’r. Groups showed off their talents in dancing, singing and step dancing.

Laila Hamza, president of ASO and a junior majoring in human development, described the process of organizing “Culture Shock” as well as her hopes for the show.

“We haven’t had the event since I was freshman, so [while] organizing it I knew it had to be great,” Hamza wrote. “All planning started in the summer so we already had an idea on who to invite to compete. My hopes for the show is for everyone to enjoy the performances and create a space for everyone to learn about the various dance forms and the culture expressed through them.”

Each team showed off their talent through the use of upbeat songs and dances. Lots of teams incorporated singing of their own as well.

Fofana also expressed her hopes for the audience.

“ASO hopes to display the best of what not only the [BU] multicultural community has to offer but the surrounding area as well,” Fofana wrote. “We also hope [that] through the diversity of genres, the audience can learn something new and possibly spark some new interests.”

Anna Kabwa, public relations (PR) and historian of X-Fact’r and a sophomore majoring in anthropology, explained her experience as a performer at “Culture Shock.”

“Being a performer in ‘Culture Shock’ was so much fun,” Kabwa wrote. “The energy was amazing both while I was on and off stage. To be able to see all of the amazing forms of dance within [BU] and the surrounding schools was so cool.”

“Culture Shock” was a celebration of culture and dancing such as step, majorette and African dance. The night concluded with the announcement of the winning team, along with an abundance of cheering and applause.