Dance fest to feature 2 shows

Posted Feb. 11, 2009, at 6:29 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:06 a.m.

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine’s fifth International Dance Festival will be held on Saturday, Feb. 14, in the newly renovated Collins Centre for the Arts, showcasing homeland dances and traditional costumes of some of the many international students at UM.

Two shows are scheduled — at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. — because of the immense popularity of the festival.

Traditional dances from India, Africa, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Tibet, Persia, Brazil, the Middle East, Cuba and the United States will be performed, in addition to Western favorites like the waltz, swing, R&B and hip hop.

Typically, the production involves more than 100 dancers, technical staff and coordinators from as many as two dozen countries. This year, audiences can expect a greater array of traditional dances and colorful traditional costumes, said Andrea West, a festival volunteer coordinator.

The dance festival is free and organized by the International Student Association, a student club representing the diverse international community at UM. The Office of International Programs cosponsors the event with financial support from UM’s Office of Student Affairs, Student Government and the Cultural Affairs-Distinguished Lecture Series.

The idea for an international dance festival originated with a former Nepalese student who recognized an unusual opportunity to create an event that pulled together local and international communities to share the talents of the university’s diverse population of international students.

“Each year the festival has grown in participation and diversity of performances,” said Sarah Joughin, international student adviser. “It is exciting to be able to offer a selection of dances from such a wide range of countries and cultures. This year, we are looking forward to performing in the brand new Collins Centre for the Arts. I think people will appreciate a chance to get a first look at the arts center free of charge.”

Professor Paul Myer from the Maine Business School will be the emcee this year.

Information about the dance festival is available by calling the Office of International Programs at 581-2905.

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