Standing in the back of The Stompin’ Ground in Maggie Valley last week, several languages could be heard in every direction. To the right, Spanish and Estonian. To the left, French and Cherokee. All present for the “Opening Gala” of Folkmoot USA, all versed in the universal language of performance.
There’s a secret ingredient behind the bright lights, splashy costumes and glossy programs of Folkmoot: for every two parts planning, there’s one part improv.
Each year international groups from all over the world travel abroad to share their traditional folk dances and songs with other cultures.
They spend hundreds of hours researching, learning and rehearsing these songs and dances. They spend a lot of money on authentic costumes to accurately represent their heritage and they spend even more to go one tour and share their work with others.
With just days until the 32nd annual Folkmoot USA international dance and music festival is set to kick off, the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Hazelwood is a frenzy of activity. Construction projects are finishing up, fresh paint is drying on the walls, beds are being prepared for the performers and new Executive Director Angie Schwab is squelching fires left and right.