Meet this year’s performing groups

 

Ballet Folklorico South Texas College • Texas

• Capital: Austin

• Population: 27.5 million

• Size: Slightly larger than France

• Location: Southern United States, bordering Mexico

• Religions: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Jewish

• Languages: English, Spanish

Assistant Professor of History at South Texas College Victor Gomez leads this 30-member group dedicated to promoting Mexican culture and the pivotal role of dance in religious worship, birthday celebrations and agrarian rites.

 

Ensemble Lo Gerbo Baudo • France

• Capital: Paris

• Population: 66.5 million

• Size: Slightly smaller than Texas

• Location: Western Europe, west of Germany

• Religions: Roman Catholic, Islam

• Languages: French

The first folk festival in France was held in 1958; two years later, Ensemble Lo Gerbo Baudo was formed in commemoration. One of the world’s best-known folk dance troupes, they are also noted for their costumes, representative of authentic French dress from the 1700s through the 1900s. 

 

Hibiki Rengo-kai • Japan 

• Capital: Tokyo

• Population: 127 million

• Size: slightly smaller than California

• Location: Eastern Asia

• Religions: Shintoism, Buddhism

• Languages: Japanese

This 12-member group directed by Hideki Kaneshima consists of seven musicians, three dancers and two singers and incorporates the bamboo flute, drums, gong and tabor as well as costumes from the Japanese medieval Edco period of 1603 to 1868. Translated to English, Hibiki Rengo-kai means “resound union.”

 

The Imani Milele Childrens Choir • Uganda

• Capital: Kampala

• Population: 37.1 million

• Size: Slightly smaller than Oregon

• Location: East-Central Africa, west of Kenya

• Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant

• Languages: English, Ganda, Luganda

Founded by Imani Milele through a non-profit created by Rev. Moses Ssemanda Mbuga, The Imani Milele Childrens Choir seeks to “rescue, develop, and educate many of the orphaned and vulnerable children” from war-torn Uganda though dance and drum routines in conjunction with customary African songs. 

 

The J Creek Cloggers • North Carolina

• Capital: Raleigh

• Population: 10.1 million

• Size: About the size of Nepal

• Location: Southeastern United States, south of Virginia

• Religions: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Jewish 

• Languages: English, Spanish

Led by Folkmoot Board of Directors Member Kim Ross and based in Haywood County, the J. Creek Cloggers will serve as local representatives of the unique American styles of mountain dance known as buck dance, clogging, and flat-foot.

 

KimuranttiKirjavat • Finland

• Capital: Helsinki

• Population: 5.4 million

• Size: Slightly smaller than Montana

• Location: Northern Europe between Sweden and Russia 

• Religions: Lutheran

• Languages: Finnish, Swedish

From Lappeenranta, a southeastern city just 18 miles from the Russian border, KimuranttiKirjavat is led by director Merja Skytta, who directs dancers in the dynamic, rhythmic Karelian folk dance reflective the region’s Russo-Finnish culture. 

 

Lanzhou Stars Dancing Group • China

• Capital: Beijing 

• Population: 1.37 billion

• Size: Slightly smaller than the United States

• Location: Eastern Asia

• Religions: Folk religions, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam

• Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin

Formed in 2010 and led by Tao Minggui, this group of 27 dancers and two musicians has performed over a hundred times across the world. With dances named The Thousand-Hand Dance Bodhisattva, The Tambourine Dance, Flower and Youth, Fan Rhythm Dance and Jasmine Flower, the Lanzhou Stars preserve the historic Han culture while also reflecting the influence of other Chinese cultures to the north and west.

 

M&K Dance Studio Group • Dominican Republic

• Capital: Santo Domingo

• Population: 10.4 million

• Size: Almost as large as West Virginia

• Location: Caribbean, east of Haiti

• Religions: Roman Catholic

• Languages: Spanish

Modern movement and traditional Merengue collide with the colorfully costumed, energetic dancers of the M&K Dance Studio. Citing influences from Africa, Cuba and Spain, these Dominican dancers will be accompanied by an eclectic mix of accordion and African drumming.

 

Peru Multicolor Espectáculos • Peru

• Capital: Lima

• Population: 30.4 million

• Size: Almost twice the size of Texas

• Location: Western South America, on the South Pacific Ocean

• Religions: Roman Catholic

• Languages: Spanish, Quechua

Peru Multicolor Espectáculos was founded in 1999 with the goal of energizing and promoting ancient Peruvian culture. This year, 20 musicians and dancers will represent pre-colonial Peru with both wind and percussion instruments.

 

Song and Dance Ensemble, Warsaw University of Technology • Poland

• Capital: Warsaw

• Population: 38.5 million

• Size: Slightly smaller than New Mexico

• Location: Central Europe, east of Germany

• Religions: Roman Catholic

• Languages: Polish

Operating continually since 1951, this group of 16 singers, 13 dancers and six musicians will perform dances from several different regions of Poland, including Warsaw and pre-war Lviv.

 

Tsa-la-Gi Touring Program Dancers • The Qualla Boundary

• Capital: Cherokee

• Population: around 16,000

• Size: about 25 percent larger than Washington, D.C. 

• Location: Western North Carolina

• Religions: Protestant, traditional tribal religion

• Languages: English, Cherokee

The Cherokee also used movement as ritual, revealing their deep connections with nature through dances named after animals like the bear, beaver, buffalo, horse and quail.

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