Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mongolian dancers in Townshend



Last night Kathy and I were treated to a performance at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, VT. Leland & Gray is the school in southern Vermont that operates the Journey East China-Vermont program about which I blogged last Spring.
The performance was of ethnic Mongolian music and dance from the Inner Mongolian University Performing Arts College, and their performance, I believe, would rank with the best that the area could offer. And this was all free of charge. From traditional to contemporary--I think-- dances as well as Mongolian "throat singing," were all performed with magnificent artistry. The musicians played traditional instruments such as the horse head fiddle or Morin Khuur, which is considered a symbol of the Mongolian nation.
The dancers were divided into female/male solo, and female/male group. The women effortlessly glided across the stage waving their arms and hands in elegant ways that resembled tips of a Chinese paintbrush. Their costumes were colorful and festooned with chimes that would jingle as they shook their shoulders together. Shake is not the correct term: this was more akin to a vibration or shiver that only somebody trained could do. The men's dancing was quite athletic reflecting the culture of high plateaus, desert, grasslands, and the importance of livestock especially horses to the nation. The songs were plaintive and may have been derived from their long-songs but I am unsure of this. The soloists were quite good and had incredible voices.
The evening's performance was quite impressive, and the gymnasium was full with nearly 200 in attendance. View some photos taken with my Zire 72 handheld at the event.

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