Featured Visual & Performing Artists
- Happy Bees Dance
- Harisen Daiko
- Harper Steinbach
- Margarita Arguedas
- Raw Art Within
- Salvat Lea Dance
- Taraangini School of Dance
Happy Bees Dance is a group connected with the Eden Prairie Chinese Association made up of traditional Chinese dancers from Eden Prairie and Edina. Experience a dance entitled “Hong Yan,” adapted from traditional dances from a Mongolian ethnic group in China. Depicting flying geese in the sky, the dance shows beauty, tenacity and aspiration for freedom.
Taiko, the ancient Japanese form of percussion, is performed and explained by Harisen Daiko. Learn more about the art form and the different taiko drums through the links below.
Learn how to express yourself through simple art projects in this educational tutorial featuring local artist Harper Steinbach. In speaking about the project, Harper says, "Not only do these signs spread positivity and remind us all of our community goals, they are showing a collective creative release from people who may or may not consider themselves artists. [...] My goals for this project are threefold; connect and encourage the community, foster ingenuity and creativity with household items, and provide encouragement for getting through a national crisis. This project is for everyone; meaning it was designed to encourage the use of any material and to have people express creativity by whatever it means to them."
“The fabric of society is made vibrant by the variety of cultures represented within it.” Experience multi-cultural artist Margarita Arguedas (through time-lapse video) deconstruct knit fabric and transform it through new structures and connections.
In Margarita's own words: "Each piece of knit fabric may come in different colors and shapes, yet it is all constructed the same way—just like each one of us." In explaining her submitted art, she explains, "The fabric is deconstructed and fixed to a leather surface. Adhering a ‘second skin’ to actual skin as a representation of how we integrate and internalize our identities and culture...—it showcases the individuality and multitudes that each one of us creates. Highlighting the intersections that occur within cultural groups and how those are cross-culturally connected. That we are all similar in the sense that each one of us does not fit perfectly within the boxes society prescribes to us. Because in the end, we all belong to the culture and conditions that make us all human."
Bharatanatyam dance is an ancient dance form from Southern India that conveys stories and religious and spiritual themes through movement. This intricate art form involves coordinated hand and leg movements, rhythm, facial expressions, costumes and accessories portraying compelling storylines. Nrityavidyalaya collaborates with musicians specializing in Carnatic music, another South Indian classical art form, and explores fusion with western pop and jazz. Through their art, Eden Prairie resident and dancer Narayanee Ananth and her niece Keerthana Sreenivasan will take you through an empowering story of a domestic abuse survivor, demonstrating the power of Bharatanatyam as a form of expression about social issues.
Raw Art Within was featured in the 2019 Southwest Airlines San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, one of the largest of its kind in the nation. Celebrating Chinese culture and heritage, the parade was televised nationally and viewed by millions. The group, which was founded by Robert Yu, is a collective of primarily Chinese-American dancers from the UC Berkeley dance community. The performance draws on hip-hop and other dance traditions to create an “urban dance” experience, a favorite artistic expression for this group.
In Robert's own words, "This event means so much to me because I have been attending this event since I was a young child. This event allows Chinese Americans (as well as other Asian Americans), to celebrate Chinese culture and heritage. The Southwest Airlines San Francisco Chinese New Year Parades is one of the largest Chinese New Year Parades in the nation. [...] The parade itself was viewed by millions, and it felt so surreal. Leading up to the event, I gathered my friends to help me out. This opportunity was so important to me, as it allowed us to share our cultural heritage with the world. Almost all of the dancers in my cast are Chinese American, and to be able to represent ourselves through our favorite medium, urban dance, was a dream come true."
Featuring the Argentine Tango, Guillermo Salvat and Miriam Lea showcase this art form that is beloved by the Argentinian culture and worldwide. Miriam Lea explains the local connection and history: "There is a small Argentine community in the Twin Cities and along with it comes a lot of culture. The origins of Tango come from the 1880’s in Argentina and Uruguay where it was a hot spot for many immigrants who were visiting or working, especially from Europe and Africa. Groups of immigrants who met in clubs and joints for entertainment quickly fused their music styles to form the Tango music, which also gave birth to the Tango dance alongside it."
Miriam continues, "Get ready for an intimate and unique style of dancing, Classical-traditional in its conception, creative in its composition. We have wide international experience with Argentine Tango as an artistic discipline and a performing art, as well as a cultural phenomenon. We are on the quest for beauty and meaning, committed to artistic excellence and innovation, presenting a unique repertoire encompassing traditions of the past and cutting-edge works. In our performances it is our goal to transcend with Argentine Tango to create relatable expressions of the human condition." More information and videos are available at www.salvat.lea.dance.
Afropop (African Popular Music) is a cross-pollination of traditional African sounds with western popular music. In addition to Afropop performances, Snoti, an Eden Prairie resident, provides audiences with the origins and historical context of the art form, and explores the regional differences from various areas of Africa.
In Snoti's own words, "What’s unique about Afro pop music is that a song can take on a different sound based on what region of Africa an artist is from. Here in the states, specifically in Minnesota where a large population of Africans reside, we find that Afro Pop music creates a unique connection between both worlds and brings us closer to the culture."
Snoti PeopleFest! Performance
Bharatanatyam (Bha – Bhavam = Expression; Ra – Ragam = Melody; Ta – Talam = rhythm) is one of the prominent classical dance forms in South India. This performance is done to a song in Sanskrit language and coveys a message of cultivating friendship and humanity which with conquer the hearts of all people. Enjoy this performance by the Taraangini School of Dance, featuring some very talented local students.
Thaalam focuses on sharing culture through diverse dance forms from India. Experience three unique performances of South Indian regional folk dances and learn about their origins, and the significance of the music and props used. Finally, dance along with a try-it-yourself choreography tutorial.
In the words of Thaalam co-founder Shuba Chakravarthi, "These folks dances are colorful, involve intricate props, use of instruments in some cases and are performed to bring the families and communities together, express emotions like joy during arrival of seasons, social causes, birth of a child, wedding and different festivals. Where the identity of the originators of the dance may be forgotten, we look forward to sharing a piece of that culture..."
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PeopleFest! is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.