Performers from Harvard University’s ethnically diverse student groups gather each year at Sanders Theatre to participate in the annual Cultural Rhythms showcase. This year’s event, hosted by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, marked the 25th anniversary of bringing dance and music from around the world to one stage during the daylong festival.

The Indian Classical Dance Troupe opened the Feb. 27 show, and was followed by everything from bluegrass music to break dancing and mariachi.

“Whether we’re in the audience, backstage, or performing, for a short time this show brings us together as one community on a shared experience,” said the co-director of the afternoon show, Kevin Liu ’11.

Kelly Fitzgerald ’10, a member of Corcairdhearg, an Irish step dancing troupe, said that performing in Cultural Rhythms is a way to be part of a storied tradition.

“I think it’s a really crucial way to show all that Harvard has, because there are so many different cultural groups here,” she said.

S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation, joined Dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds to present the annual Artist of the Year Award to musician Wyclef Jean. Jean was honored for his creativity as a musician, fusing musical styles from around the world, as well as his efforts on behalf of the people of Haiti. He emceed the event, joking around with performers between acts, asking them to teach him headstands and back flips, singing along with the bands, and making cameo appearances in dances.

For Hammonds, the event symbolizes the diversity of the Harvard community and helps to bring people of many different backgrounds together.

“I think it’s one of the events people look forward to every year,” Hammonds said. “I think it’s just an extraordinary effort on the part of the foundation and the students involved. I can’t say enough good about it. It’s just great.”

2010 Cultural Rhythms

Kristyn Ulanday/Harvard Staff Photographer

  • Drop it like it's hot

    Drop it like it's hot

    Members of the Harvard Breakers get down and dirty with a gymnastic performance during the 25th Annual Cultural Rhythms event held inside Sanders Theatre.

  • A big fan

    A big fan

    A fan-wielding beauty from the Harvard Philippine Forum sashays across the stage in full costume and headdress.

  • On fire

    On fire

    With their yellow and red outfits, coupled with good lighting, dancers from the Asian American Dance Troupe appear to be licked by flames.

  • Stomp


    Barefooted, breathless, and joyous: The Pan-African Dance and Music Ensemble stomps across the stage with utter delight.

  • Footloose


    The poised feet of a dancer from the Indian Classical Dance Troupe slow down enough to be captured in photograph.

  • Viva la mariachi

    Viva la mariachi

    Players from the Mariachi Veritas de Harvard wow the crowd. The self-taught group is the only mariachi student group on the east coast.

  • Rejoice!


    The Kuumba Singers of Harvard College uplift and inspire with their musical numbers.

  • Ready, set ...

    Ready, set ...

    A dancer from the Indian Classical Dance Troupe awaits her cue.

  • All together now

    All together now

    Representatives from each of the performance groups gathered for an eclectic and exuberant finale.

  • In position

    In position

    Members of the Harvard Breakers use their hands to lift off from the stage while using their feet to spin their bodies around. This feat of contemporary dance is known as break dancing!

  • Pick it good

    Pick it good

    Here, a picker from Bluegrass, a five-piece Appalachian-inspired ensemble, gets down with the music.

  • Wyclef, why not?

    Wyclef, why not?

    Musician Wyclef Jean was Cultural Rhythms' guest of honor. Here he is seen after joining in on the finale and donning some of the students' gear.