Monday, May 20, 2024

Wickett-Ford brings dance and culture education to Leavenworth Public Library


Although the theme of the Leavenworth Public Library’s summer program’s is a “Universe of Stories,” local children and adults received a glimpse into other cultures from around the world, courtesy of Susan Wickett-Ford.

The Seattle-born writer and dancer gave a presentation “Jump for Joy, More Village Rhythms from Around the World” on June 25 at the Leavenworth library.

According to her website, Wickett-Ford uses dance to educate children about different cultures. She has written for the stage and performed comedy monologues, completed various artistic projects, and has written the novel "Lover's Waltz."

Wickett-Ford began the presentation by handing out scarves to the children and placing them on the floor. She likened each child's scarf to a country and had asked them to dance within their boundaries. 

Using music and dance, Wickett-Ford narrated a story about a child who traveled to different lands - like Ninja Land and Rhythm Land - before he met other children on another island. As she described each country, she had children act out moves, such as mimicking karate poses for the Ninja Island.

After telling the story, Wickett-Ford asked the children to show them their own moves. 

“We’re getting a whole range of human emotion,” Wickett-Ford said as she watched the children dance.

She also encouraged parents to participate in the fun.

“One of the things I love about dancing, is that we are doing it together,” she said.

The audience also watched a seven-minute video that featured dances from various countries, such as ribbon dancing from China, the Russian Folk Dance and castells, which are human towers built in festivals in Barcelona, Spain.

Wickett-Ford explained that some cultures will take their village dance, practice and perform them in front of a wider audience.

After the video, Wickett-Ford and the audience performed the dances seen on the video. During the Russian Folk Dance, kids also learned a little bit of Russian numbers and words.

Kids also used wooden sticks to perform the Mexican Machete dance before transitioning to Chinese ribbon dancing, followed with a traditional Hawaiian dance.

For the final dance, Wickett-Ford and the audience performed a circle dance from Middle East. At different points, everyone would move toward the middle before going back outside.

Wickett-Ford noted that the art of dancing, no matter what the culture, brings everyone, young and old, together.

“We’re just taking a piece of the culture and seeing what is so special about it,” she added.

library, leavenworth, dance, performing arts


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here