The fashions of the world were on display in a gym at Bozeman High School on Thursday.

Cowboy hat. Sombrero. Kimono. Hula skirt. Native American pow wow regalia. Bowler hat.

For the 26th year, the kids at Irving Elementary School performed songs and dances from around the globe during their International Day assembly.

“This is just a special, special day,” Irving Principal Adrian Advincula told the hundreds of families and friends who came to see the show Thursday afternoon.

Fifth grader Angelina Lawrence opened the performance, reading the poem “A Prayer for the World.”

“Let the rain come and wash away the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds held and nurtured over generations,” Lawrence recited. “Then let the sun come out and fill the sky with rainbows.”

The assembly then featured each class singing songs and performing dances that represented different countries and cultures, from Australia to Peru, France to Russia, Italy to Montana.

First graders took on the Seven Jumps dance from Denmark. Groups of seven kids, holding hands, danced in a circle. Throughout the dance, they spun in circles, stood on one foot and knelt on the floor.

Second graders performed the Ziguener Polka, a traditional folk dance of Germany and Switzerland that had the kids pairing up, skipping in circles, clapping and shouting “Woo!”

The fifth grade class took a more modern dance approach, opting for a flash-mob style performance that featured cartwheels, flips, jumping in the air and lots of smiles.

After the kids had their turn in the spotlight, staff members put their own twist on a viral YouTube dance video — “The Evolution of Dance,” a mash-up of famous dance moves from the last few decades, from the YMCA and Michael Jackson's “Thriller” to the robot and the funky chicken.

“It just gives us such a sense of family,” said Kathy Delap, special education teacher.

Delap said the students have been preparing for more than a month, learning their songs and dance moves.

“It's the highlight of the year,” she said.

Advincula said International Day defines Irving, which has 82 students who are Native American, hail from foreign countries or have parents who do.

“It celebrates who we are,” Advincula said.

The international festivities continue Friday at Irving. Students will use their passports to take “flights” to different classrooms and listen to presentations about different cultures.

Friday's schedule also includes a luncheon, more performances, a parade around the school and the singing of “Love Can Build a Bridge,” the theme song of this year's celebrations.

Whitney Bermes can be reached at or 582-2648. Follow her on Twitter at @wabermes.


Whitney Bermes covers cops and courts for the Chronicle.