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Faces of Fort Wayne

By Michael Summers

michael_summers@fortwaynereader.com

Fort Wayne Reader

2008-03-24


The mission statement for Faces of Fort Wayne tells you that the event will showcase the artistic talents of the city’s diverse international community.

That’s true enough, but it hardly does justice to the wealth of sights and sounds audiences will experience at the Arts United Center on March 30.

Produced by Arts United and funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Faces of Fort Wayne features a 90-minute performance representing the many faces of Fort Wayne’s ethnically diverse and immigrant populations. The Gallery will be open for an hour before and after the performance and will display visual arts pieces. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet the artists and performers.

The Korean Fan Dance Troupe, composed of members of the Korean language service organization of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Wayne, was organized in 2005. The Fan Dance is one of the most popular Korean folk dances. They’ll also be performing the Drum Dance, a solo piece in which a dancer plays a large temple drum to invoke a spirit. This drum expresses the sound of the mother-like earth and the elegant and gentle movements of the dancer express the great joy of mother earth. The director of the dancers and performer of the Drum Dance, Myong Hee Park, was born in Taegu, South Korea. She started dancing at the age of six and majored in Korean Dance at Kyungpook National University.

The Lao Loon Mai Forn Samakky group will be performing two popular and traditional Lao dances. The first, called Lum Saravanh, features the girls dancing in a line, wearing traditional dresses. The second piece, called Lumvongpurne chai is a popular song that is used for dancing ceremonies like Lao New Year, and is a partner dance featuring both boys and girls.

A diverse and energetic dance troupe from the Fort Wayne Urban League, the Urban Mimes perform Hip-Hop and Krump, as well as more traditional jazz and ballet. Krump is a fast-paced, energetic dance style that uses various chest pops, stomps, and arm swings used to express one’s feelings towards another through dance rather than violence, and is heavily influenced by hip-hop, African tribal rituals, pantomime and martial arts.

Formed in 1993 with the mission of promoting and preserving Mon (a district of Myanmar) traditional dances in Fort Wayne, the Mon Dancers have participated in a wide range of cultural shows such as the International Festival, Leadership Fort Wayne, the Three Rivers Festival, and Dance Explosion. 12 kinds of Mon Dance will be performed by the group followed by a solo dance.

The long-standing Maennerchor/Damenchor (it’s been around in Fort Wayne for 139 years!) is dedicated to the preservation and cultivation of Fort Wayne’s German heritage as expressed in choral music. Originally, the members were all German immigrants, though these days the number is about 25%, with most of the members being second or third generation immigrants, or others just interested in German culture.

A traditional Columbian dance troupe, Brisas de Colombia will perform two styles of Colombian dance, Cumbia and Salsa. The word “Brisas” doesn’t translate directly, but it basically means “breath of fresh air,” or the feeling you get when you meet someone new and they are nicer than you expected.

Jembe Jam Fam is a group of local urban professionals that has been studying under Ketu Oladuwa, a founder of the Three Rivers Jenbe Ensemble and the Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Arts and Culture. They’ll be performing traditional Mande drum ensemble works.

Faces of Fort Wayne
Sunday, March 30, 3 pm
Arts United Center
3030 East Main

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