Folk and Traditional Arts
ACHF Cultural Heritage
The variety and number of folk and traditional arts activities in which Minnesotans can participate increases. The number of Minnesotans who participate in folk and traditional arts activities increases. The number of Minnesotans who teach or learn folk and traditional art forms increases.
OUTCOME. Iny Asian Dance Theater successfully hosted the Folk Arts project – “Preservation of Hmong Dance.” We have successfully reached our Vision of the Preservation project, that is - Bringing the Hmong Traditional Dances to Life: Sharing Hmong cultures and talents to build a better community. EVALUATION METHOD. Our Project is a great success, with more than 123 dancers participating at Hmong Dance training, eight community performances and a final Hmong Dance Drama – “Longing for Qeej,” where 500+ audiences cheered non-stop at Central High School Auditorium, St Paul. After the Central High Performances, we hosted feedback session right away with all dancers, parents and invited audience to join us for evaluation. We have also utilized the social media (blog) to collect feedback from the audience. TARETED GROUP - Hmong Americans. MATCHES INTENDED PARTICIPANTS. We have successfully matched our project participants. Led by the Iny Asian Dance Theater’s Artistic Director, Iny Mai Vang Xiong, our Project has successfully included following activities: a) Weekly FREE Hmong Dance Lessons for 123 youth in different levels; b) Researching the Hmong Dances with a pilot website to publicize the information with photos; b) Hosting a Hmong Dance Symposium at August 16, 2012 at Concordia College to discuss the transformation of Hmong Dances; c) Master Classes with the award-winning Baoting Li and Miao Autonomous County Song and Dance Troupe from China, to learn the traditional music and dance from Li and Miao (Hmong) ethnicities in October, 2012, and performed the opening dance for their show at University of Minnesota’s Ted Mann Hall, with the Qeej dance (Traditional Hmong Bamboo music instrument); e) Presenting through eight community performances at local Schools, New Year Celebrations and Festivals (ex. May 20th, 2012 Pan Asian Arts Festival; and f) Presenting a Final Hmong Dance Drama – Longing for Qeej, at December 19, 2012 at Central High School. 2: INTERPRETATION - To truly honor the Hmong traditional dance arts, we have ample opportunities throughout the training and performances for the participants and audience to learn about the cultural origins of Hmong dance. The Hmong Dance Symposium invited three scholars: Guohua Jin (Artistic Director of Canadian Asian Folk Dance Studio); Pei Shen (Executive Director of East Cultural Center); and Kaiwen You (Artistic Director of the China Dance School and Theatre in San Francisco), to present and host discussion with audience with the topic - Hmong Dance Transformation from China to United States. Additionally, we have publicized Dr. Nengher Vang’s paper, “History of Hmong Dance,” in the Program Booklet to enhance community understanding and awareness of Hmong traditional dances. BARRIERS. For many centuries, the Hmong language was firmly an oral type of communication. There was no alphabet system, no written texts, and no cultural activation to need a literacy system. Cultural aspects and learning was passed on to the next generation from memory and oral wisdom. In the early 1950s, a group of French American missionary-linguists developed a method of writing Hmong words that used the same letters as the English language. Within ten years, it became very popular, and remains to this day the most widely used writing system for the Hmong people. Due to the newly developed language, many Hmong dances have neither a systemic way to document the arts, nor any research to valid its authenticity. STRATEGIES OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS. Our project has utilized following strategies: a) Outreaching to Hmong 18 Clan Council for support and cultural relevancy; b) Posting training and performance information at Hmong Village and Hmong Stores; c) Offering free classes.
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