4th INTERNATIONAL FOLKFESTIVAL 2008

Country : USA

Helene Eriksen is a dance ethnologist and international touring artist with a career spanning 30 years. Helene studied Dance Ethnology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and was later a doctoral candidate in Folklore, Slavistics and Turcology at the Georg-August University in Gottingen, Germany. In Los Angeles she performed with AVAZ International Dance Theater, Gypsy Dance Company and Jasna Planina Ensemble. After a year at the Folkdance Academy in Plovdiv, Bulgaria she was a guest of the Turkish State Folkdance Ensemble in Ankara. She directed her own ensemble Raqs-e Hilal for several years in Germany and is now the artistic director of a new ensemble in Seattle, WA, USA: Helene Eriksen's Traditional Dance Theatre

Helene is a teacher and choreographer of traditional dances of the Balkans and Islamic Orient. She lectures and publishes on dance ethnology and costume studies. In order to do this she was conducted many research projects in Bulgaria, ex-Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Egypt, the ex-USSR, Tunisia and Morocco as well as with immigrants in Germany, Canada and the USA. She speaks several Languages. She is an active member of the Study Group on Ethnochoreology (ICTM/UNESCO). For many years she has been leading dance and culture study tours. As a dancer she is in demand internationally with performances in Germany, Austria, England, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, France, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey, Russia, Canada, Norway, the USA, Algeria, Slovenija and Pakistan. This is her first international tour with her new dance ensemble in Seattle. The repertoire of the ensemble at the moment includes dances from North Africa, Central Europe, the Caucases, Iran and Central Asia. The current program includes a Berber dance of the Ouled Nail tribe of Algeria, a dance of the Roma (Gypsy) minority of Hungary, classical Court dances from 19th Century Iran and women's folkdances from Saudi Arabia, the Bandari Region of Iran, Armenia and Uzbekistan.



LATVIA
Folklore group "LIELUPE"

Dance, where is your origin? Where were you born? What shaped you, our dance? Dance has sprung from the Latvian people’s soul. I has taken root on the banks of the Daugava and the Gauja, the Lielupe and the Venta Rivers, by Lake Razna and Lake Burtnieku, on the shores of the Amber Sea. On the banks of the shores of the Amber Sea there is a small country - Latvia where people live, fish, cultivate their land and extremely love their folk songs and dances.

On the banks of one of the five biggest rivers - the Lielupe - there is a city - Jelgava, Latvian cradle of culture. ’’LIELUPE’’ (meaning the big river) - is also the title of the folk dance company in which dance loving people from all the districts of Jelgava has flowed like rivers running to the sea.

The group was founded in 1859. Since that it has achieved a high level of artistic performance and in 1989 by the leadership of ELITA SIMSONE ‘’LIELUPE’’ was awarded a honorary title - The People’s Dance Ensemble. The group has regularly taken part in all the biggest Dance Festivals in Latvia. In 1990 the group represented Latvia the Latvian culture days in Norway. The dance group has also participated in International Folk Festivals in Iraq, Egypt, Norway, Canada, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, Greece, Estonia, Mexico. A peculiar feature of the dance ensemble ‘’LIELUPE’’ is that it is formed of families. Each participant has a long dancing experience taking part in different folk dance groups before, and now in their wives and husbands. Starting from previous year the young generation of Lielupe has begun to give concerts very actively. Both casts regularly win awards and prizes in different competitions and dancing shows. Staffs give performances both together or teamwise and separately therefore the artistry of maturity and rompish vitality are linked up. Dancers are age 17 up to 45 years.

Each performance contains ethnographical, stage folk dances and dances with a plot, accompanied by the group of folk musicians or authentical records. The performance contains also ritual dances reflecting



Latvian ethnography.

The folk dance group «L?GO» was founded in spring of 1945 and is one of the oldest dance groups in Latvia. The title of the group «L?GO» is borrowed from the traditional Latvian midsummer celebration L?go – the most joyful holiday that is very much cherished by every single Latvian. We are from Riga City that is the capital of Latvia.

During 61 year since the establishment of the dance group it has always taken part in the biggest and most magnificent cultural festivals in Latvia – the Song and Dance Festivals. «L?GO» has achieved great success in the reviews of the Republic folk dance groups and is among the five best folk dance groups in Latvia. The group has in all times taken part in cultural life of Latvia. «L?GO» has given concerts in many countries, participated in various festivals introducing other nations with Latvian culture. Currently there are about 125 people of different age dancing in the group. Since 1995 the leader and choreographer of folk dance group «L?GO» is J?nis Purvi?š.

«LIGO» gives about 50 concerts in the home country every year. During the year approximately 10 elaborate and stylized dances are set up in the dance group, most of them get rewards in the dance competitions of the state significance. Until now 4 of those dances have received the 1st reward, 4 of them have received the 3rd reward and 6 – the special prizes. «L?GO» prepared concert programme in Italy, Finland, Norway, France, Russia, England, Poland, Germany, Turkey, Taiwan, Spain, Mexico, Greece, Malta, Estonia and Brazil. In 2001 «L?GO» received the prize of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia for its contribution in the development of the folk art in Latvia. In the August of 2001 the group participated in Festival International de Musica de Cantonigros, Spain and in a competition of 14 dance groups from different countries received the 3rd reward. In the April of 2004 «L?GO» participated in International Folklore Festival AMITEX (Valletta / Malta) and ranked the 1st in dances, 1st in music and 3rd in national costumes. When «L?GO» celebrated its 60th anniversary and had concert that took place in Dzintari concert hall in June 18, 2005, 35 dances were performed and 86 dancers were participated. Please find attached information about «L?GO» in the poster and DVD.

The folk dance group “L?GO” is working on a new concert program and is looking forward to participating in the festival.



Sri Lanka
Visakha Vidyalaya

Visakha Vidyalaya was founded 1917 by the late Mrs. Jeremias Dias as an institution of learning for the Buddhist girls of this land at a time when such institutions were rare.

Begun under the name of the "Buddhist Girls' College" in a house called " The Firs" at Turret Road, Colombo, it was moved to its present premises at Vajira Road on the 21st of November 1927 and named "Visakha Vidyalaya" by Lady Stanley, the wife of the then Governor of Ceylon. From humble beginnings, it has risen to the position of the most sought after school for girls in Sri Lanka, and the only girls' school to be identified amongst the first National Schools in the Island.

Starting with just 20 students' way back in 1917, she has about 4,000 students on her roll today, with an academic staff numbering 146. Today, Visakha stands unchallenged. It is at the top of all the schools in the Island for academic excellence and the prestige she enjoys is indeed a fitting tribute to her founder. Her records in sports and other co curricular activities are no less worthy of mention. Indeed, the most remarkable characteristic of Visakha is her ability to blend the best of the traditional and the modern aspects of life. An old Girl is found leading the way in every field; be it academic, professional or aesthetics giving credence to the fact that the proudly uttered words "I am a Visakhian" mean so much.

The school owes its origin to the far-sightedness and philanthropy of her noble Founder, its development to the vision and leadership of the long line of Managers and Principals and its continued standard of excellence to the devotion and loyalty of its Teachers, Parents and Students, both past and present. Visakha Vidyalaya has represented Sri Lanka for the following International events.
Year 2001 - I- Nan International Dancing Festival - Taiwan
Year 2002/2005 - Celesta International Dancing Competition - India
Year 2004 - Sivo International Dancing Festival - Nether land



India
Punjab Folk Art Centre

“Punjab Folk Art Centre” is an organisation which is joining the people of Punjab with their culture.The main office of the Punjab Folk Art Center is situated in Town Gurdaspur In State of Punjab, India. This organization is working in collaboration with “Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (Govt. of India) & NZCC New Delhi for more than 5-6 Years. It is registered with Govt. of Punjab and Govt. Of India wide REGD. No DIC\BTL\SOCIRTY\2002\1386. Punjab Folk Art Centre has successfully organized several Cultural Programmes. At present more than 2000 youths are the active members of our organization. Our institution is traing about five hundred artists every year under various cultural trainings, seminars & workshops conducted with the help of Department of Culture, Govt of India. Now-a- Days this centre has started a well planned programme for the conservation and promotion of Rich Punjabi Culture. This programme is entitled as “Cultural Enlightment Programme This centre is organizing various Cultural Awareness Camp at Gross Route Level under cultural enlightenment programme. This centre is organizing Cultural Programme at various occasions like Independence Day, Republic Day, State & National Levels Festivals and Games. This centre is appreciated several times by Govt. of Punjab and Nehru Yuva Sangathan (Govt. of India) The Artist of Punjab Folk Art Centre have participated in various State & National Level Cultural Programmes and Festivals held at different places of country like Bikaneer, Jaipur, Chamba, Manali, Delhi, Mumbai, Banglore, Goa etc.



ISRAEL

The Jewish Yemenite Dance Troupe of "Moshav Amka" – Mate Asher Regional Council The Jewish Yemenite Dance Troupe was established in 1976, with the sole purpose of renewing the rich cultural and traditional customs of their ancient Yemenite heritage. The troupe consists of 22 dances in which the majority live in Moshav Amka and Oshrat. Their range in age from 20-60. The troupe rehearses at Moshav Amka once a week. The love of Yemenite dance and folklore has been former parents to their children. In the 1960's there had already existed a folklore group at Moshav Amka which performed throughout Israel. After a number of years of inactivity the Mate Asher Regional Council initiated a project to revive the dance Troup. It was felt that the preservation of traditional Yemenite ethnic culture was an essential element needed to be perpetuated throughout Israel's many faceted societies. The group participate in many festival such as: June 2006 Inter. Festival of Traditional Dance, Greece. May 2000 inter. Festival in Sao Paolo, Brazil October 1999 Inter. Festival in Sauth Korea February 1999 Inter. Festival in Taiwan and Hong Kong January 1997 Intern. Festival in Italy. France, Austria, Mexico, Germany, Spain etc..



Costa Rica
Esteban Alvárez

Esteban Alvárez was born in Costa Rica in 1981. After high school, he studied physics at the University of Costa Rica in San Jose. In college, he decided to follow his lifelong love of music, and earned a full scholarship to study piano performance at Baylor University’s outstanding School of Music in Waco, Texas, USA. While completing his bachelor’s degree, Alvárez was appointed as an ambassador for Baylor for the performance tours that the Baylor Symphony and Baylor Jazz ensemble made to Costa Rica. In 2001, he was the music director for the Association de Folklor de Escazu’s European tour in Belgium, England and the Netherlands. In 2005, he was awarded a full scholarship to participate as a representative of Baylor at the International Mission on Music, a prestigious festival in Austria, Hungary, and the Czechoslovakia Republic, organized by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars in Washington, DC. In 2006, following graduation from Baylor, Alvárez was awarded a full scholarship to study jazz in the master of arts program at the celebrated University of North Texas’ School of Music in Denton, Texas, USA. That same summer, he travelled with a small combo from the University of North Texas to help inaugurate the first International Jazz Festival in San Jose, Costa Rica. Also in 2007 he worked with the government of Costa Rica on its Plan National de Prevention de la Violencia y Promotion de la Paz Social (National Plan to Prevent Violence and Promote Peace). Alvárez wrote the theme song for this nationwide initiative, and received special commendation from Costa Rica’s president, vice president and minister of justice.



INDIA

Rajasthan Art and Culture group;

Rajasthan is known for its spirit of celebration. Each region in Rajasthan has its own form of folk entertainment. In most parts entertainment is provided by professional communities of entertainers whose livelihood depends on it, and who have evolved their respective arts into fine forms. Certainly the patronage of the former royal families in the past helped to support the entertainers. Traditionally, families would invite these dancers, singers and musicians at family celebrations whether births or marriages or other festivities. No Rajasthani marriage is for example, complete unless led by the DHOLI/MANAGANIYARS/LANGAS with their simple drums (Dholak) and accompanied by the deep bass of their voice. Professional entertainers who performed a particular type of dance, or entertainment, are to be found in the more fertile tracts of eastern Rajasthan. These include the Bhopas (who sing in praise of PABUJI RATHORE the folk hero from Marwar, accompanied by the PHAD paintings), the Kachhi Ghodi Dancers, and the puppeteers. Some of the best known entertainers of Rajasthan are the KALBELIYA Dancers with their rhythmic snake dances. The LANGAS of Jodhpur & Barmer districts and the MANAGANIYARS of Jaisalmer district have traveled all over the world to entertain audiences, so simple and uncomplicated, but compelling, is their repertoire. In recent years however, these performer have become more widespread so that their regional distinction is beginning to wear off. Celebrations in Rajasthan range from the religious to the popular, linked with commerce, as in the case of the camel and cattle fairs. In more recent years, the tourism department of Rajasthan too has initiated a number of fairs and festivals in an attempt to showcase the performing arts of Rajasthan, region wise. Amazingly, though the soil throbs with the sounds of celebration, its vibrant chords require little sophistry apart from the simple, unsophisticated instruments that include the RAVANHATHA (a stringed instrument), the MORCHANG (a Jewish harp), the BANKIA (Trumpet), ALGOZA (the Twin flutes), the DUFF (Tambourine), and the amazingly innocuous MATKA (earthen pitcher) which is flipped over to play the most amazingly mesmeric beat that resound with the pulse of Rajasthan.



Nepal
Everest Nepal Cultural Group

Everest Nepal Cultural Group is registered under the Government of Nepal, is working for the cultural heritage, conservation and development, overall culture of Nepal. ENCG already organized 1st International Folk Festival 2002, 2nd International Folk Festival 2004 and 3rd International Folk Festival, 2006, 4th International Folk Festival 2008 in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Trisuli, and the most beautiful Himalayas valley, that is Pokhara of Nepal. ENCG is hosting 5th International Folk Festival 2010, in most important city of Nepal, more information about festival www.folkfestivals.org. Everest Nepal Cultural Group organizes Int'l Folk Festival every two years in Nepal.

EVEREST NEPAL CULTURAL GROUP has been running its verities of cultural activities within the country as well as all over the world for decades. It has got experiences in the cultural exchanges with various international communities. It therefore, has a genuine scope and ability to promote the national and international cultural exchange program for the benefit of the people of Nepal and the world.

Nepal is the land of multi dimensional beauties, and cultural heritage. It has got so many resources that attract tourists and admirers from the outer world. In the last decades Nepal is pretty much exposed to the outer world but still it is not satisfactory as compared to its attractive resources. We believe Nepalese economy is lowly depending upon Tourism. We believe that this kind of cultural promotional activity could boost up the Nepalese economy.

It is our endeavor to keep friendship and that cordial relationship with other cultural group all over the world. It’s culture that could give us entire satisfaction, peace, cool and the concept of cooperation to each other. We feel that EVEREST NEPAL CULTURAL GROUP [ENCG] is always capable to participate for conduct any such folk festival program and as it has abundant of experiences observing and participating in various international folk festivals all over the world already. They are: France, Spain, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Greece, India, Qatar, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Austria, USA etc.