The floor vibrates. A loud murmur goes through the audience as the anchors announce the following groups. The light turns off, and the John W. Hart gym is cloaked in darkness.

The audience can hear footsteps before the light turns on. Group members appear and show their biggest smiles.

Proud dancer at the end of his performance from the Peru Group

Proud dancer at the end of group performance for Peru. Photo credit: Chester Chan

One group after another presents its culture supported by the loud clapping and cheering of the audience. International students show off their colorful, traditional dresses and outfits as they represent their unique cultures.

This year’s Cultural Night was the largest to date with 22 participating groups.

BYU-Idaho has students from 93 different countries, making up 17% of the student population. Twice a year, during the fall and winter semesters, all students have the opportunity to experience the cultural diversity on campus.

Participants of the Tonga Group

Participants representing Tonga. Photo credit: Chester Chan

For weeks, performers and employees of Student Life Events have worked on perfecting the performance. Tryouts, multiple rehearsals and the performance are all a part of their efforts.

Gerimae Abiera is member of the Philippines group, which showcased its culture through two dances, originally dating back to the Spanish Colonial era, incorporating some modern expressions.

Native American Dancer

Native American dancer. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Her group began practicing at the beginning of February.

“I’m excited to see all of the different cultures. People expressing how and where they grew up. It’s so colorful and fun,” Abiera said.

The event lasted two hours, exceeding all expectations. Upwards of 1,200 people came to learn more about the diverse cultures at BYU-I.

Katia Romero singing and dancing for her Mexican culture

Katia Romero singing and dancing for Mexican culture. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Natalie Eudaily, employed with Campus Life Events, loved the show and expressed how it’s always the highlight of her semester.

“Everyone put in so much heart and dedication, and they put everything on the floor tonight. It was awesome,” Eudaily said.

The audience cheered for every person and act, eager for the next culture and its performance.

Dancers of the Venezuela Group

Dancers representing Venezuela. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Hallie Cardon and Katelyn McCann came to support their friends with extra loud cheers.

“I like seeing all the different cultures, especially the ones where they came together to dance,” Cordon said.

As the last group finished their performance, all participants returned to the floor to appreciate the last cheers and claps before the music switched, and the audience flooded the gym floor to dance.

All participants of Cultural Night

All participants of Cultural Night. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Everyone danced with each other, smiling and laughing as the DJ put on songs.

This dance party truly represented the theme of the event: “Better together.”