Cougars and Utes combine for WorlDance

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The cultures of Indonesia, Tajikistan and many other Eastern countries are coming together tonight for the University of Utah’s annual WorlDance show.

The 2,000 seats in University of Utah’s Kingsbury Hall will be filled for the event, which has been hosted there for more than 10 years. It is a celebration of cultures Utah’s Eastern Arts Department is proud to showcase, and will feature dancers performing traditional dances from their home countries.

Katherine St. John, director of the Eastern Arts Department, said this event will features acts that are uncommon in America.

[media-credit name=”Photo courtesy of Zarina Kolibi” align=”alignleft” width=”200″][/media-credit]

Zarina Kolibi from Tajikistan is one of many performers at WorlDance, a showcase of dances from around the world.

“These are parts of the world that we hear about often in the news,” St. John said. “But we don’t often get to see the arts of these countries.”

St. John also said the performers are not simply anyone who can do the routine, but natives of the country, most of whom are recognized master musicians or dancers.

“One of the Vietnamese musicians we have has actually been recognized by UNESCO as a national treasure of traditional Vietnamese music,” St. John said.

Along with the native performers, local dancers and musicians have been brought on board to compliment the show. Some of the local groups performing are the BYU folk dancers, Indonesian Gamelan Group, and Utah’s Eastern Arts International Dance Theater.

Delynne Peay is the director of the folk dancers performing, and she said she loves this concert because it showcases many types of dance from areas of the world unknown to many Americans.

Peay also praised St. John and Lloyd Miller, who have lived in Afghanistan and other places in the East, and are responsible for putting together this showcase.

“It’s really a wonderful show,” Peay said. “We’ve been a part of it for over 20 years, and it’s great every time.”

This will be one of the folk dancers’ first shows of the semester. They will perform two Russian dances, which will also be showcased at Christmas Around the World, BYU’s annual folk dance showcase.

Kelsi Devashrayee is a junior from Bountiful majoring in early childhood education. She started performing with the BYU Folk Dancers last year, and said she is excited to be a part of WorlDance.

“We study dance, so it’s fun to perform and we’re really excited to see the others performers who will be there with us,” she said. “It’s going to be a good show.”

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