Sacramento’s Fairytale Town, located at 3901 Land Park Drive, hosted the colorful and ethnically rich International Celebration on Saturday. A day of international music and dance performances took place around Mother Goose Stage. With its colorful background, the stage provided a great setting for the many local acts showcasing Sacramento’s great cultural diversity.
The Eastern Ways Martial Arts Chinese Lion Dancers and Bhaskar’s Arts Academy kicked off the International Celebration. The families attending were treated to morning performances.
On such a hot day most visitors found shade underneath the many trees around Fairytale Town. The day was a fun outing for local families to come share their own culture and learn about others through music and dance.
Petra Koln Servin spoke about the event and why she brought her family to the park.
“I am German and Scottish and I married a man whose mother is French and father is Mexican. We are culturally diverse and try to attend cultural events like this so that our children are exposed to the many people whose culture makes up America.”
Servin continued, “Today will be the first time my two kids are exposed to Scottish dancing. I think this will be a fun show.”
The Kyla’s School of Highland Dance was represented by three Scottish Highland Dancers. Each dance had a story behind it. Knowing a little about the dances helped visitors enjoy the stories told by dance. Each interpretive dance looked like a fairy tale story coming to life. The Mother Goose Stage added ambiance and the Highland dancers’ dramatic moves created folkloric visions.
Fenix Drum and Dance Company’s African drummers and dancers brought a large group to the stage and warmed up the audience. The African drum beats made the audience move no matter where they were situated. The group included a few children that danced their little hearts out.
The beautiful African outfits were very colorful. As the dancers onstage entertained visitors, Fenix Drum and Dance also got the audience involved in their performance as they passed out various hand held musical instruments. Children in the audience smiled as they played along with the performers. An Afro-Colombian cumbia was also part of the repertoire of songs played by the dance company.
The Folklorico Aztlan de Sacramento made a dramatically beautiful entrance. With their back to the audience, five young girls spread a colorful “robozo” (shawl) above their head. As the music began playing they turned to face the audience, revealing gorgeous outfits.
Most dances were performed by children, who delighted the audience. Wearing black and gold outfits, a couple also performed traditional dances from northern Mexico.
The Minyo Tanoshimi Kai group interpreted several Japanese dances. As dancers were about to perform, the audience was given a short description of the dance. Several of the dances were named after Japanese festivals.
The Minyo dancers also took the time to involve children (and adults) in a dance. After teaching the audience participants dance steps, “A Miner’s Story” was danced by both the audience and the Minyo Tanoshimi Kai group.
A set of Polynesian dances were performed by the Ka Pa Hula O Kalama. As with other groups who had previously performed, the Polynesian dancers were represented by several children.
Dances performed by Ka Pa Hula O Kalama also told stories that were explained as they were brought to the stage. As a Hawaiian dance was being performed by a boy dancer, a couple of children sitting next to me in unison said, “That’s a boy dancing.”
The Polynesian dancers asked for volunteers to come to the stage as they were finishing their performance. As if inspired by seeing a solo dance by a boy, other boys volunteered to take the stage and learn a little hula dance.
The last group to perform was the Maquilli Tonatiuh Aztec Dancers. The dance was also recently performed at the Piñata Festival at Southside Park.
Maria Miranda introduced the group. The Aztec drum beat and a conch announced the beginning of the traditional set of Aztec dances. The dancers began by following tradition and paying homage to nature. As the conch sounded dancers turned to each corner, and after the initial ritual began a series of dances.
The Aztec dance contingency was quite large and used almost every inch of the stage. As they were about to finish their performance they performed a dance and asked for volunteers. The grass area in front of the stage was used for audience participation.
In her closing remarks Miranda invited the public to attend the 36th Annual Xilonen on Aug. 4 at Southside Park.
The International Celebration was a fun family event. Fairytale Town continues to reach out to the community and offer various programs throughout the year.
Fairytale Town will be hosting a concert by Mumbo Gumbo on July 11 and a Very Special Arts Day on July 14. More information on these and other programs can be found at www.fairytaletown.org.