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ETHNIC VARIETY COMES TOGETHER AT FOLK FEST

SHARE ETHNIC VARIETY COMES TOGETHER AT FOLK FEST

A parade up Main Street launched Thursday evening's opening ceremonies of the Bountiful/Davis Summerfest International, followed by a show featuring the entire cast. Here's a sample of what festival-goers will be treated to this weekend:

The Peoples Ensemble of Russian Dance, Samarka, started the show with a high-energy, high-kicking aerobic dance accompanied by their own folk musicians on accordian and strings. The troupe followed with a surprisingly comical piece dramatizing the men's romantic pursuit of the coy ladies.In the presentation of Israel's Dance Company of Ramat Gan, the teenaged troupe wished to express the joy and hope for peace between all nations. Their dance appropriately focused on a circle formation and they invited the crowd to clap in unison.

The slow samba beat of Costa Rica's Arrieros Semos, accented by the long, flowing skirts of the women, turned to play as the men mimicked charging bulls.

The Forras Folkensemble from Hungary, in their embroidered skirts and riding boots, fancy-footed, kicked and spun to traditional music played on violins and dulcimers. The boys presented a farcical piece on married life where the male figures danced sitting on footstools while the "wives," in skirts and carrying brooms, batted their "husbands."

A more serious and visually outstanding piece was performed by Korea's Chang Jung Hee. The dancers wore brightly colored gowns and danced with beautiful fans that became butterflies and flowers in the girls' hands.

The Lithuanian troupe Suktinis sang, played and danced a happy, skipping melody that portrayed the important social function of dance. The German Pommeraner Folklorrensemble emphasized this role with a dance where two girls fought for one boy.

Dressed in black and gold with their faces veiled, India's Askara imitated snakes by shaking their hips and raising their bangle-covered arms to produce rattling sounds.

The floorboards shook as the Echo Mountain Performers clogged to the Appalachian tunes of the Hog Back Mountain Band. The Mexican troupe Taller De Danza de la Ujed produced a similar effect as the dancers combined Old World style and New World vigor.

Navajos and Apaches were represented by the Native American group Bitttersweet Singers and Dancers with traditional, jingle, fancy and hoop dancers, accompanied by chants and drums.

The final performance of the evening featured the Peruvian Wayanay-Danzas playing authentic handmade reed instruments and executing the same steps as their Incan ancestors.

As audience members began to leave, Korean girls could be seen posing for a picture with Navajo dancers while teens of two different languages tried to communicate with hand gestures. What was already evident in much of the dance was true also in the social circles - a striking similarity among the many cultures there.