THUNDER BAY -- Dahab is doing what she can to provide exposure to different types of dance from around the world.
The owner and artistic director of the World Dance Centre Thunder Bay says some traditional styles from across the world might be lacking in popularity, but just need a spotlight.
“We like to explore the dance heritage for many different cultures. We think it’s very valuable to people’s cultures,” Dahab said after a brief belly dancing performance to promote the 41st annual Folklore Festival.
“We do it respectfully and hope to keep them alive. Sometimes the traditional dances are dying a little or are losing interest but we want to show that they are really fun and interesting.”
In addition to the belly dancing display they exhibited, they will be doing Iranian, salsa, a Russian gypsy piece and various Latin American dances.
The annual celebration of diversity, which will be held next weekend at the Fort William Gardens, held a showcase featuring the World Dance Centre Thunder Bay, Zorya Ukrainian Dance Association and the Filipino-Canadian Association of Thunder Bay on Saturday to provide an appetizer for the upcoming event.
Dahab added some groups spend an entire year preparing for the festival.
The Folklore Festival is one of the most well-attended events in the city, featuring international dance, music, visual art, merchandise and, of course, cuisine.
Festival sponsorship and promotion chair Jeanetty Jumah says the emerging diversity in the city has magnified the scope of the event.
Once averaging just a couple of thousand attendees, organizers now prepare for as many as 10,000 people over the course of the weekend
“It celebrates the rich diversity of our community and our country. When you come there you’ll see we’ve changed,” Jumah said. Canada is a rich, beautiful nation because people have come here, as my parents did, from all over the world.”
Zorya dance school coordinator Alice Chony says the group will have about 100 performers take to the stage at the Fort William Gardens next weekend
“It’s important they start at a young age to gain an appreciation of the culture,” Chony said. “Things like the Folklore Festival help them learn, understand and appreciate other peoples’ cultures at a very young age and that’s so important because we’re not one little entity.”
More information on the Folklore Festival can be found online.
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