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Cultural Outburst Celebrates 15th Year 

Zennon Briggs ’22 started dancing with the Zolotyj Promin Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Hartford when he was 8 years old. This year Zennon and the dance ensemble will be part of Loomis Chaffee’s 15th annual Cultural Outburst celebration, an evening of ethnic food, performances, and a fashion show on April 6 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., in which about 100 students will participate.  

There will be 24 food booths staffed by students representing their cultures, which include Afghani, Armenian, Botswanan, Canadian, Chinese, Colombian, Ecuadorean, Ethiopian, Fulani, Ghanaian, Hong Kong, Indian, Islamic, Jamaican, Japanese, Jewish, Kenyan, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Nigerian, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese. About 12 cultures will be represented in the fashion show. The school’s Step Team also will perform.  

The Ukrainian dancers will lead off the evening’s festivities. Zennon has Ukrainian roots on his mother’s side of the family. 

“My parents found it valuable for me to experience Ukrainian culture,” Zennon said. “I started going to Ukrainian School in Hartford at the age of 4.” 

Now a freshman majoring in marketing at Fairfield University, Zennon said Ukrainian dancing allows him to remain connected to his heritage.   

“When I perform at festivals or fundraisers, I am an ambassador to Ukraine and have the privilege to show Ukrainian culture,” he said. “I am at a point now where I am an assistant/teacher at Zolotyj Promin and get to teach younger dancers.” He also dances professionally with the Syzokryli Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of New York City. 

Zennon said he was thankful that Molly Pond, director of international student support, reached out to his mom to see if he was available to perform at Cultural Outburst.  

After graduating from Loomis Chaffee, Zennon took a gap year, traveling to Peru, Ecuador, and various European cities. His plan had been to spend his gap year in Ukraine, but the war with Russia changed that. 

Cultural Outburst was created in 2010 by then-senior Chinwe “Chi Chi” Oparaocha, who said at the time, “I wanted everyone to dig and find their roots, their ethnic background — that's what inspired this event."  

The event highlights the diverse cultures represented on campus. This school year there are 736 students with 33 states and 48 countries represented through citizenship and/or residency.  


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