Sunday, December 7, 2008

Culture anyone?

Opa!! (In case you don't know what that means, it's hello in another language although I can't recall which at this point in time.)

So last night I had the opportunity to go to Provo to see my cousin perform in Christmas Around the World. I really enjoyed myself too!! I've never seen it before, but dance shows like this are right up my alley. A friend of mine told me the other day when I mentioned that I was going that this means I'm more cultured than he is. I don't know that I would say that so much as it means I enjoy dance performances (probably because a secret desire of my heart has always been to be a dancer, but I'm not really so I just like watching other people who can) and was especially excited to see this one! I do enjoy learning about other cultures, and this was also a good opportunity to do that.

Anyway, I thought I would go through and talk about each dance and what I liked or didn't like about each. I realize this may mean that this is an extraordinarily long entry, but be that as it may, oh well!

Poland--Truthfully, this dance didn't do a lot for me. I liked the colors and the dance itself, but I just didn't find it very exciting.

India--This is the number my cousin was in, and I really loved it (not just because she was in it either.) It was very upbeat and apparently depicts a new dance craze that's a combination of classic and modern dance (another plus, IMO) and the costuming was great. As a general rule, you will probably notice that I like the upbeat numbers more so than the slow ones.

Mexico--Love this one, particularly the part where the men threw the machetes (fake ones I'm sure as I'm sure they didn't want to injure themselves) into the air and skillfully caught them again. They even threw them to the next person down, and I think only one machete fell the whole dance. Pretty cool! Magnifico! Me encanta much! It was also a fun and upbeat number, and I thought it was cool that the men were dressed like the Three Amigos! The girls also had these full skirt costumes that I thought were awesome!

China--Okay, this one was very rhythmic and was done with the assistance of umbrellas. While it was very graceful and beautiful, I found myself impatient for it to be over so we could move on to the next.

Canada--Magnifique!! Apparently Turlette is "a captivating form of 'mouth music' found in the music of Quebec" and three soloists performed in the center of the floor and were accompanied by Mountain Springs, BYU's folk music ensemble, which was just cool! I had never seen anything like it before. The dance that followed was pretty awesome too. If I'm not mistaken, it seemed like they had these little clickers on their feet that made it more interesting. Who knew our neighbors to the north had such a fun dance tradition? Certainly not me.

Israel--First Mountain Springs played a musical arrangement of Oy Chaunukah, which was cool and then the dancers performed. It was another upbeat number with fun costumes that I liked. I'm also basing my overall impressions on what I remember from it, and nothing really stands out, so I guess that means it might not have been quite as memorable to me.

Scotland--Loved it, loved it loved it! How can you not with traditional Scottish dance by three soloists in full Scottish regalia, accompanied by a bagpiper and then joined by the BYU Men's Chorus!! I'm going to say it here and will probably say it again, but I have to admire these dancers. Those moves they were doing, frolicking and skipping around (for lack of the proper terminology) definitely didn't look easy and I decided they must have some wicked strong calves too. Anyway, cool dance all around! Loved getting to hear the well-known BYU Men's Chorus!!

Wales--From what the program says, this number "is a collaboration of Welsh folk music and dance, depicting the spirit of this Celtic nation." The emcee mentioned that the wording, I believe, was done by the director of the BYU Men's Chorus, who is Welsh. Loved the collaboration and the part where some of the choir boys came out and stole the female dancers from their male counterparts and then had to run back into place. Also, when the men started dancing with the chorus director and ended up tossing her into the air three or four times (don't worry--she had plenty of men below to catch her). She came back to her podium and ceremoniously bumped the person directing in her absence off the podium to finish off the number. Loved it!

Ireland--Another performance by Mountain Springs, which I loved better than the Israeli one because, let's be honest, I'm more of a fan of Irish music, and I have a tie to it since I've been there before. I just love the lilting sound of it. I have also always loved Riverdance so to get to see that style of dance performed was pretty darn awesome! I think it's terrible of me to admit but there was a sort of lyrical part in the center where these girls came out and were dancing slowly (without shoes even!) and I was impatient to return to the Riverdance stuff! The ending was my favorite when all the dancers got in a line and were dancing in perfect unison. Awesome!!

Armenia--Another slower, lyrical number, performed with candles. I liked it okay, but it just felt long.

Turkey--They started out singing this sort of melancholy sounding song that I really kind of liked. The dancing was different than anything I've ever really seen before, but I quite liked it. I was surprised at the amount of pieces that combined singing and dancing, such as this one. I bet the dancers didn't realize that they had to be a double threat. . .or maybe they did and they're all just multi-talented or something. One of my favorite parts of this dance was the chest shake they did! Perhaps that's shallow, but I think it's kind of cool because it's something I definitely can't do. Later, my aunt and my cousin referred to this as the "zombie dance" because they have such rigid movements and said some little kids who came the night before were scared. Who knew?! I just thought it was cool!

United States--The first number was a little too cliche for me and was a mix of country dancing. I felt like it was a little too stereotypical. The second I liked a lot better it was kind of a funk clogging number, and I loved it!! I felt like it was a better representation of American dancing since although country dancing is an important dance form, hip-hop/funk also is and the fact that they were clogging while hip-hopping, well that's just impressive!

Romania--I liked this one pretty well, but it wasn't terribly memorable to me. Plus, this entry is way long, so I'm trying to close soon.

Philippines--Loved this one many times over!! First they had a part where these girls were dancing with candles on their heads (I'm pretty sure they were battery-operated or something since it would be dangerous to do it with real flame and they probably had something to attach them to the girls' heads so they wouldn't fall off.) which was just cool! I liked the second part, the stick dancing or where they put the poles down and bang them on the stage, even better! I thought it was unfortunate though because one of the guys beating the sticks messed up and accidentally smashed a couple dancers' feet. Whoops! One of the things I found most interesting about this dance is that I've seen it before and liked it but didn't realize that it was from the Philippines. Cool beans!

Ukraine--The emcee said they like to close with this dance because it's a crowd favorite. They started with this funny little number about a taller, high-flying dancer paired with an unlikely and unsuspecting partner. I found the parody quite enjoyable. The Ukrainian dance begins with the traditional ceremony of bread and salt, which they hand out to their audience, and involved some very colorful costumes, cool kicking out moves by the men and lots of energy. I can see why it's a good one to end with.

Anyway, I found Christmas Around the World to be quite an enjoyable experience!! If liking it means I'm more cultured. . . so be it!

1 comment:

Confuzzled said...

As One Who Is Culturing You, I must say that seeing Christmas around the world does, in fact, help you to be more cultured.

Not quite as cultured as Josh Groban's Christmas CD helps you be, of course, but cultured all the same :)