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Diverse cultures to converge at Santy

by Dan Bischoff, Of the Record Staff
Members of Kai Viti during a recent trip to Washington, D.C.
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Each culture has its own unique dance tradition, according to author Elizabeth Powell.

"Music and culture are inextricably linked," writes Powell, a 12-year scholar of Ethnomusicology (the study of music in culture), on her Web site. "Qualities or characteristics of any given society/culture invariably make their way into their music and dance traditions."

Taylor Productions will showcase various forms of cultural dance diversity Saturday at the Jim Santy Auditorium in the Park City Library at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5. Local actor Marc Raymond will be the host of the show, which will feature 13 different dance genres ranging from Latin, hip-hop, Irish, to Polynesia.

"There will be a lot of visual stimulation," said Tanya Taylor, the founder of Taylor Productions. "There will be a lot of things going on; it extends to different cultures and styles."

This will be Taylor’s twenty-sixth production in the seven years that she’s been in Park City. This one will be, by far, her most diverse show.

"Basically from my point of view, people are going to realize the different flavors of dancing in Utah," said Aisake Vuikadavu, a member of Ki Viti, a Fiji dancing group. "People will get a great appreciation for other cultures around them. Showing these dances gives a different perspective from different cultures."

Ki Viti, a group of Fijians that currently attend B.Y.U, recently performed in Washington, D.C. for the Fiji embassy. They will perform two numbers. One of them is New Zealand-based Maori Haka called "Ka Mate." There are various Haka dances; each one was used prior to war, Vuikadavu said.

"We performed this at the Polynesian Cultural Center and everywhere. It’s a challenge before battle."

The Fijian dance they will perform is called "Raude," a dance that tells the story of the first aiplanes that arrived on the islands.

"Its pretty lively with a modern beat," Vuikadavu said. "The actions of the song came though a man’s dream, he was dancing when he woke up, the movements are pretty unique. It’s won a lot of dance competitions in Fiji."

Vuikadavu encourages the spectators to cheer them as they watch the dance.

"People that watch dancing are very conservative, especially in the states. With Polynesian island dancing, the audience should feel free to yell and cheer," Vuikadavu said.

Raymond has worked with Taylor on other productions before and expects an entertaining show.

"You’ll expect a high quality presentation that has a high entertainment factor," Raymond said.

"She (Taylor) is a born entertainer and she’s a good communicator herself and he teaches them how to be a good entertainer to the audience. She teaches her students how to give it their all."

The Little Man Jamm Company from Dance Tech Studios will also perform its award-winning hip-hop break-dance routine. The ensemble placed second in an international dance competition in Las Vegas.

"(Taylor) wanted to show diversity in dance just to show that there are so many different varieties of dance and different things they can do. She’s done a phenomenal job of showing the diversity of what you can do with dance from all cultures and the opportunities that are out there for kids," said Nicole Fielding of Dance Tech.

Taylor Productions will present a cultural dancing performance called "Rhythm!" Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Jim Santy Stage at the Park City Library. Local actor Marc Raymond will host the show, which will feature 13 different dance genres ranging from Latin, hip-hop, Irish, to Polynesia. Tickets are $5. For more information, call 513-9009.


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