Spotlight on this year’s newest FONs

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By Tanisum Halim, staff writer

Russian and African American FONs will make their debut for the first time in Townsend Harris High School history, joining the twenty-two other cultures that will be featured in Festival of Nations this year.

Russian FON, choreographed by the junior trio Anastasia Codjebas, Anna Gutowska and Sabina Prochowski will feature both modern Russian dances as well as traditional dance with a special twist. “For our traditional dance, we chose a very old, well-known song that represents the Russian spirit perfectly. The modern dance also shows the vibrancy of Russian culture through a popular upbeat song that many Russians enjoy listening to. The goal of the finale was to express our joy and pride of succeeding at creating something new with a collective effort,” explained FON leader Anastasia.

The creation of this new FON provided an opportunity for both Russian students of THHS and the student body to participate in or look forward to learning about a new culture through its performing arts. “I joined Russian FON this year because it’s the first time my culture is represented in FON. It’s my first time in FON, and as a junior, I regret not doing it my last two years given the great time I’ve had this year,” says Brenden Picioane.

“We hope to inspire others to not be afraid to start a FON they are passionate about. It is not easy, but completely worth it,” explained Anna.  

Seniors Caleb Williams, Alyssa Mohamed, and Cirndie Joseph created African-American FON, inspired by similar motivations. They hope to use FON as a platform of cultural expression. “Townsend does not have a large African-American community, which is why it’s even more important to represent our culture,” says Caleb, who originally proposed the FON.

African-American FON will performed in two sections, featuring both old school and new school music along with a mixture of hip hop from 90’s and modern rap. “You can expect nice throwback music and oldies in our old school section and then we’ll have some recent bops in our new school section,” said sophomore Brandon Cruz.

Though African American and Caribbean FONs have been distinctly present in the Festival of Nations for a while, African-American FON will be the first to celebrate these cultural fusions this year. “We know it’s not a nation or a country,” says Brandon, “but it’s a culture to celebrate.”