Lectures and dance performances are typical fare for Kresge auditorium, but the Women in Action (WIA) brought a unique combination of both art forms to the stage last night. The six female Nicaraguan dancers of WIA performed traditional Nicaraguan folk dance pieces while incorporating informative lectures about WIA's humanitarian initiatives to combat poverty in Nicaragua.

WIA is a project of Compas de Nicaragua, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit that works with local Nicaraguan organizations, such as WIA and Brothers and Sisters of Reconciliation. Compas de Nicaragua seeks to raise awareness of and support rural and urban Nicaraguan issues through fundraising, service trips and cultural exchanges.

Christina Pindar '12 and Laura Till '12 worked with Compas de Nicaragua to organize a service trip with other Bowdoin students in 2009. Pindar has been in close communication with Compas de Nicaragua to organize the Bowdoin stop on the WIA dance tour.

"They perform partly to thank their volunteers and for the purpose of a cultural exchange because they're coming here to see the other side [of things]," said Pindar. "I'm really excited about Nicaragua and what I've done and I'm really glad WIA was able to come."

Latin American Student Organization (LASO), the Departments of Latin American Studies, Sociology and Anthropology and Romance Languages as well as the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good helped to sponsor the multi-media show last night.

"We think it is an awesome opportunity to expose unfamiliar things to the campus, and to provide something comforting for our members who are perhaps more familiar with Latino culture," said President of LASO Sean Campos '11. "Having events like the Nicaraguan Dance Group, in addition to embracing aspects of cuisine or politics or art, is something I think LASO should do, and I'm proud that we have the ability and resources to do so."

LASO wanted to bring cultural awareness to campus.

"[We] decided to bring Nicaraugan dancers because they represent a side of Latinos that in our modern world is not widely recognized," said Secretary of LASO Sandra Martinez '13. "Bringing a Nicaraguan dance group expands cultural diversity."

"It's a fundraiser and it's another way of getting WIA and the name of Compas out there," said Pindar. "It's also a great way to educate people about Nicaragua and women's groups. It's multifaceted."

Spanning from September through the end of October, the WIA dance tour is making its way through the Midwest, New England and the Mid-Atlantic.

The group performs at colleges, universities, community centers and high schools. The group's stop in Brunswick was their northernmost on the East Coast portion of their U.S. tour.

During their 2009 winter service trip, Till and Pindar worked with WIA to help build irrigation-like systems for the homes of women in Managua, the nation's capital.

"Their sinks and showers are connected, but there was no drainage system so the water would run into the yard and become an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos," said Pindar. "What we did is we installed grey water filter systems to take the run off out so that the water would not settle into the yards and [would instead] run through a pipe and get filtered through minerals and basically be an irrigation system for gardens in their yard."

In addition to this project, Pindar, Till and the eight other Bowdoin students on the trip worked with Brothers and Sisters of Reconciliation to help install biogas systems in La Paz, Bolivia.

The performance coincided with Hispanic Heritage month, and aimed to educat the Bowdoin campus and community about Nicaragua's struggles and its culture.