Madison Elementary multicultural event creates world stage

by Sue Austreng
Staff Writer

With music and color, energy and delight, Madison Elementary School, Blaine, celebrated its many cultures staging its fourth annual multicultural night Feb. 16.

Performing the fan dance, Chang Mi Korean dancers wave colorful fans as they step and weave an artistic tapestry of dance. Photo by Sue Austreng

Some 150 people gathered in the gymnasium, transformed into a world stage, to watch an eclectic variety of traditional performances.

Russian opera singer Vladimir Pugachev opened the show, performing a selection of arias and accompanied by the Bethany Baptist Church Orchestra. Pugachev, an internationally-known performer, was in town last week performing in multiple venues around the Twin Cities.

Next, a pair of Dancin’ Feet cloggers took the stage to perform a selection of American Appalachian clogging and Canadian Buck clogging numbers.

The Chang Mi Korean dance and drum group performed next, doing four traditional dances.

The group was formed nearly 30 years ago as a way for Korean adoptees to learn about their heritage and enjoy weekly gatherings with blended families like their own.

For Madison’s multicultural night, the group performed a fan dance and a puppet dance, and the Sol Janggu and the Buk Chum, two dances performed while drumming.

The Champlin Park High School Step Team appeared next, dressed in military camouflage gear and stepping in high energy choreography.

Stepping is a fusion of African and African-American music and tradition.

Following the step performance, the Kids of Jerusalem danced the Dubka, a traditional Palestinian group dance, usually performed during special occasions, like weddings.

Finally, and perhaps most energetically, a pride of Vietnamese Lions took the stage.

Playfully mimicking the antics of hungry lions, Vietnamese dancers from the Hung Vuong Association of Minnesota delighted the crowd as beating drums, clanging cymbals and reverberating gongs accompanied them.

Following the 90-minute multicultural performances in the gymnasium, attendees could peruse a collection of Hmong crafts, handmade special gifts, traditional needle work and Mexican treats exhibited on tables near the school’s front entrance.

To see more photos of the night, click here.

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]