News Column

Japanese dance performance debuts at ethnic fair

July 20, 2014

By Vanessa Kahin, Clovis News Journal, N.M.



July 20--The cultural diversity at the 19th annual Ethnic Fair Saturday at Hillcrest Park was exemplified by Lyuba Johnson -- a native of Ukraine who prompted the event's traditional Japanese dance performance.

Johnson, whose husband is stationed at Cannon Air Force Base, performed Bon Odori -- traditional dances from Japan -- along with other CAFB spouses during the Ethnic Fair.

"I've always been interested in Japanese culture," Johnson said. "I wear a kimono regularly. ... I love how beautiful it is."

Johnson, who relocated to the U.S. at 15 years old, said she has performed Japanese dances at various cultural heritage events and Japanese festivals over the years.

When she found out about Clovis' Ethnic Fair, Johnson approached fellow CAFB spouse Yoko Holdren about the possibility of participating in the event.

Originally from Japan, Holdren helped gather a group of other CAFB spouses and taught them Japanese dances to perform at the fair.

All the dancers wore the traditional kimono during their performance.

Holdren said she hoped the Japanese performance helps spectators -- including those who may not otherwise have much exposure to Japan and its traditions -- understand more about the Japanese culture.

Hopefully, she said, people will become interested in Japan's culture.

Other performances included the Agalu Spirit of Drums and Dance cultural troupe from Nigeria, which has been attending the Ethnic Fair for 16 years; the Flamenco Nuevo Mejico Dance Company and the Dineh Tah' Navajo Dancers.

The latter, based in Albuquerque, allowed spectators to approach the Hillcrest Park performance area where they had danced, and receive a traditional Navajo blessing.

The fair also featured a fun run/walk, a car show, a health care fair, representatives of the Buffalo Soldiers Society of New Mexico and a talent show.

Teresa Leslie visited the Agalu tent, where items such as CDs, T-shirts and drums of all sizes were up for sale.

Leslie bought herself a blue, purple and white tie-dye shirt. She said it was her first time attending the Ethnic Fair.

She said the fair afforded her the opportunity to learn new things and witness "beautiful dances."

"Look, I'm buying a shirt I'd probably never buy, and it's gorgeous," she said.

Still, although she reveled in the different cultures, present at the fair, she said the ultimate lesson is that people are not so different from one another.

"I'm all for different cultures, and different folks. I love it," she said.

"We are really not different."

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(c)2014 the Clovis News Journal (Clovis, N.M.)

Visit the Clovis News Journal (Clovis, N.M.) at www.cnjonline.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Clovis News Journal (NM)


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