ISO Show Breaks Through Boundaries


Photo by Michael O’Hara


This Saturday, Dec. 2, the International Student Organization (ISO) will put on the 21st rendition of its annual show. The show is a yearly highlight for an organization that also organizes international trivia nights, food preparation workshops, and excursions into the wilds of Vermont.

On a campus where over 10 percent of the student body hails from a country outside the United States, the ISO can be anything from a social network for people wanting to interact with a more diverse range of people to a support network for students feeling out of place in a new culture. During the ISO show, students from a few of the 70+ countries represented at the college are able to present their culture in a more explicit way than they regularly do.

A performance, when well done, has the power to transport you to a new place. For a little while you can forget that you’re sitting in a room filled with strangers tensed in anticipation for what is coming. For the length of the performance, you can just let the skill of the people performing sweep you to beautiful and emotional places.

But what happens when the performance includes a melancholy choral piece sung in Zulu,an ebullient Latino song and dance performance, and a Chinese Hip Hop performance, which to many might seem like a contradictory union of east and west?

Here, performance becomes a physical journey as well as an emotional one. The audience can see the ties that bind our small school to the rest of the world and be inspired them. That is the beauty of our surprisingly global student body here at Middlebury. That beauty is made manifest by Middlebury’s annual ISO Show.

This year’s show has a range of performances that reflect the wide breadth of people represented by the ISO. Crowd favorites such as Midd Masti, the South Asian dance troupe and Ingoma, the Afro-inspired a cappella group, will be joined by performances of Ukrainian dance, Indonesian a cappella and K-Pop mashups. Bombastic group performances will alternate with the intimate songs and poetry of individual acts.

“The annual ISO Show is a chance for our international student body to share their diverse cultural backgrounds, and an opportunity for the larger Middlebury community to enjoy them,” club president Roger Dai ’18 said.

“With the semester approaching the end and everything else going on in the country, maybe we all need a care-free night out to indulge ourselves in joyful dances and songs from all over the world. Plus, when else do we get to see so many cultures on the same stage in Middlebury, Vermont?”

If performance becomes a means of voyage, this Saturday’s event will be rewarding trek for its entire audience This Saturday, a truncated performance for families and children will begin at 5:30 p.m. before a full performance at 8:00 p.m in Wilson Hall.

Tickets are available through the Box Office. Prices are $5 for everyone.