World Folkfest Wows Audiences
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.
Members from Tablado Dance Company pose for pictures prior to performance.
Performers from the Bangladesh Academy of Fine Arts in Dhaka, perform to share their culture.