By LISA MARIE MEYER
One of the largest international folk dance festivals in the United States, the Springville World Folkfest is in Springville until Saturday, with dancers and musicians from 12 countries.
Teddy Anderson, Folkfest general director, explained that the performers have come from all over the world.
“These people have traveled such a great distance to perform,” Anderson said.
The performers have also paid their own way for this opportunity to perform — which is very expensive, Anderson said. The performers are interested in educating others about their heritage, and they want to experience our culture as well.
This year’s dancers will be from England, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Taiwan and the United States. The 400 performers will give nightly performances and will participate in a street dance and parade during the week.
Saturday the festival began with a parade down Springville’s Main Street. That evening was the first of six performances.
For the nightly performances, Anderson said every country will give a 10-minute presentation each. The performances will be at Spring Acres Arts Park amphitheater, 620 S. 1350 East, Springville.
Families in Springville and Mapleton will be hosting the dancers, where the performers will be able to experience American customs and family life.
“The dances and music from around the globe are the public elements of the Folkfest, but the private experiences of the host families as they interface with their guests are where lifelong bridges of understanding are constructed,” said Martin Conover, chairman of the festival’s board of directors in a press release.
“We have host families who still correspond regularly with people they housed 10 years ago and others who have visited their Folkfest friends and stayed in their homes on trips abroad,” Conover said.
More than 20,000 spectators are expected to attend. Observers can sit on chairs or bring blankets to spread out on the lawn. Either way the spectators will be able to see and hear everything performed.
Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and $3 for children under 12. For more information about the Folkfest, call Terry Anderson at 489-2700.