The IC Unity Tibet Club started last spring semester and is devoted to spreading awareness and education about the region of Tibet. Senior, Ngawang Chime and juniors Tashi Choezom and Tsering Yangkey are three out of the club’s four members who performed in Ithaca College’s International Club “One World” concert this past Friday, Oct. 27.
“Performing here gives us the chance to show more people who we are,” Chime said. “If they know who we are and know the club exists then we can spread the word about Tibet to more people.”
The annual concert celebrates different cultures represented at Ithaca College and Cornell University. The concert features acts ranging from solo musical performances to large group numbers. The majority of performers are international students or a students participating in a number whose origins stem from a different culture. Students from France and Thailand performed well-known songs in English and Cornell’s HanChum Korean Traditional Dance Club performed a fan dance. IC Unity Tibet was the only performance featuring students all from the same cultural background, who blended where they are from with what they were doing.
“First when we came to IC as a freshman…we noticed that there are a lot of Ithaca people, Ithaca College students, who don’t know about the Tibetans… we thought it’s our own responsibility to share with the Ithaca College students and educate (them) about it.” Choezom said.
Chime, Choezom, and Yangkey all went to the International High School At Laguardia Community College in Long Island. Though Yangkey and Choezom arrived to Ithaca a year after Chime, they all noticed a need for awareness.
“People would come up to us all the time and ask what we were.” Yangkey said. “When we said ‘Tibet’ they would ask, “Is that even in Asia?”
The students drew inspiration from their Tibetan club in High School. They knew the IC community had International clubs that focused more generally on students from different countries, but wanted something more centralized on their own culture similar to the one they had before.
The dance they performed at the concert merged Bhutanese and Tibetan styles of dance. Costume inspiration was drawn from three different Tibetan cultures to thoroughly represent how a Tibetan woman would dress on the average day.
The aprons or “chuH” represent marriage in their culture. “In Tibet we don’t wear rings, we only wear this,” Choezom said. “If you go to an event or something and you wear a chuH that means you’re married and the boys won’t come up to you”
Their skirts aren’t tied too tight because there needs to be space to keep belongings. “Here you wear bags over the shoulder, but there, it’s a little space in your clothes where you put everything inside.
The ribbon braided in their hair is also common accessory worn by many Tibetan girls.
Plans for the Future
The “One World” concert was their first big performance of the year, and they hope this appearance will inspire more engagement for the club.
The club will continue to collaborate with the International Club, and attend more events to raise awareness. They plan to have a spring showcase that focuses solely on the their club’s initiative through performance and speakers.
More information on IC Unity Tibet can be found on their Facebook Page.