World Folk­fest Wows Au­di­ences

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Shirley Hop­kins

Image hav­ing a pass­port that would al­low you and your fam­ily to ex­pe­ri­ence the sights and sounds of coun­tries around the world at a bar­gain price. Stay in your seat. You don’t need to rush out to your near­est travel agent as you have it right here in Springville ev­ery year about this time. It’s the World Folk­fest, brought to you and made pos­si­ble by the vol­un­teer ef­forts of many vol­un­teers, host fam­i­lies, and par­tic­i­pat­ing spon­sors. The World Folk­fest has been bring­ing the real fla­vor of cul­tures around the world to your doorstep here in Springville since 1986. The ex­trav­a­ganza fea­tures hun­dreds of dancers, mu­si­cians, and other tal­ent from di­verse cor­ners of the world along with some spe­cialty lo­cal groups.

For in­stance, Thurs­day night, July 31, started with a pre-show group of fla­menco dancers from Salt Lake City, the Tablado Dance Com­pany. Min­utes later we were in France, watch­ing dancers cel­e­brate their lo­cal way of life through folk dance. From there our world travel ex­pe­ri­ence went to Bangladesh to watch the dancers from the Academy of Fine Arts in Dhaka. Af­ter be­ing trans­ported to their coun­try via mu­sic, dance, and stun­ning cos­tumes it was on to Lithua­nia to watch the stage folk­lore com­pany from Vilin­ius, that na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

Next, the Rocky Moun­tain Ex­press, from Orem, Utah brought us back home with its rous­ing fast and pre­cise clog­ging foot­work.

Start­ing with a tra­di­tional bless­ing of the baby, the Na­tive Amer­i­can per­form­ing group Morn­ing Star (also based in Utah County), high­lighted its pre­sen­ta­tion with the ever-pop­u­lar Hoop Dance.

Then it was back to our world trav­els first to Bel­gium where they cel­e­brate clean clothes in one of their tra­di­tional folk dances. We then trav­eled from Europe to the Far East where the Wa­ter Re­flec­tion Dance En­sem­ble from Taipei, Tai­wan, in­tro­duced us to three cul­tural di­ver­si­ties through dance. We then ven­tured to the out­backs of Aus­tralia to ex­pe­ri­ence the sounds and dance of the Abo­rig­i­nal Ny­ooon­gah na­tion. Our world travel ex­pe­ri­ence ended in In­done­sia see­ing this coun­try through the Radha Sar­isha cel­e­brat­ing phys­i­cal strength and skill through their dance.

The out­pour­ing of artis­tic ex­pres­sion is con­ta­gious. Soon hands are clap­ping, feet and tap­ping, and peo­ple in the au­di­ence are sway­ing with the mu­sic. Dur­ing the twenty minute in­ter­mis­sion, you are sure to see more than one solo per­for­mance from a young­ster who has been caught up

in the mo­ment. It’s elec­tric. The World Folk­fest is more than dance. It is an op­por­tu­nity to get to know peo­ple and cul­ture through a medium we all un­der­stand. What makes the World Folk­fest such a unique ex­pe­ri­ence is the close­ness one can ex­pe­ri­ence with the per­form­ers. Mem­bers of our group en­joy speak­ing to the mu­si­cians and dancers be­fore and af­ter the per­for­mance. And, if you think the cos­tumes are ex­quis­ite on stage, just wait un­til you see them up close and per­sonal. If you missed this year’s per­for­mance, cir­cle your cal­en­dar for some­time near the end of July next year. Plan to get your fam­ily to­gether with blan­kets, camp chairs, and some spare change to buy a CD from one of the groups, or to en­joy some de­li­cious food from one of the ven­dors, Plan to go early, and stay around for a few min­utes af­ter to get to know some of the dancers and a craft ven­dor or two.

S. Hop­kins

Mem­bers from Tablado Dance Com­pany pose for pic­tures prior to per­for­mance.

Www.steveg­raypho­tos.com

Per­form­ers from the Bangladesh Academy of Fine Arts in Dhaka, per­form to share their cul­ture.

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