Folkmoot is more social (media) than ever!

Folkmoot is more social (media) than ever!

Folkmoot is more social (media) than ever!

Over the past half-decade of Folkmoot’s 35-year life span we’ve become increasingly more active online, along the digital channels and well into the communications technology of the 21st Century – due in large part to our (mostly) young international dancers and many of our (often young) Haywood County volunteers who are “into” the social media and communicate all year long, becoming great digital friends around the globe.

Digital media – including and especially the social media – have become important tools in the Folkmoot tool chest for spreading peace and cultural understanding not only during the annual festival but all year long as well.

Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailland and Northern Cyprus and Venezuela as well as Anglo Appalachian and, as always, Cherokee dancers and musicians. 

Ticket packages and tickets for individual performances are available here.

Folkmoot has always been about connecting with people of different cultures around the world, getting to know them and ourselves and making new friends.

Extending our presence online, in the digital spaces and along the social media, is just one more way to connect with you and around the globe – connect you around the globe.

We look forward to seeing and re-sharing all your Folkmoot experiences. Help us find what you post by using hashtags, #Folkmoot or #Folkmoot2018.  

Folkmoot on FacebookOur Folkmoot Facebook Page has long had an active and growing community and many of you visit and engage with it often – and we’re grateful for that.

 

 

Folkmoot on TwitterThe Folkmoot Twitter presence has increased exponentially in recent months and we’ve added the Folkmoot face to other popular social channels:

Folkmoot on GooglePlusGooglePlus

 

Folkmoot on InstagramInstagram

Folkmoot on PinterestPinterest

Folkmoot on TumblrTumblr

 

 

Folkmoot on YouTubeAnd by the time Folkmoot 2018 rolls around in a month the Folkmoot YouTube channel will be current, up-to-speed and timely.

We’re just continuing the grand Folkmoot party online and we invite you to join us on any or all of the social channels with which you engage most!

Again, we invite you share your Folkmoot experience online – on the social channels you use most (or, maybe even, discover new ones). Please use the hashtags, #Folkmoot and #Folkmoot2018, when sharing. We will try our best to keep up and repost, share whatever you post online.

In addition to our social network channels, many of the dance troupes and individual dancers have their own social accounts as well (unfortunately, too many to list here) and you will no doubt find them posting quite a lot. We encourage you to seek them out, follow them, share with them, engage them. After all, Folkmoot is all about cultural exchange and building peace through friendships. We can do that online, too!!

Folkmoot is community

Folkmoot is community

Folkmoot is community.

Folkmoot has long been known as a festival which bridges cultural differences and expands cultural awareness through the celebration of tradition and dance.

Our visiting dance troupes’ often brilliant costumes, always smiling faces and lively dance steps set to music highlight the festival and speak to festival attendees of each represented nation’s rich and treasured heritage. 

It is a transcendent experience which has sustained the Folkmoot Festival for 35 years. 

We have been steadily adding images from Folkmoot 2018 to our  Videos & Images Page, here on our website. Folkmoot 2018 ended July 29 and we have hundreds of photos and videos taken during the 10-day festival.

In addition to those appearing on our Video & Images page, we also have links to larger collections by some of the areas best photographers and videographers.

Be sure, also, to find on the same page links to the feature pieces we published about individual photographers.

Folkmoot is communityThough commonly identified as a folk festival, folk dance festival or cultural festival the dance performances are really a means to an end: cultural exchange between people of different nations which helps create peace, respect and understanding among all people.  

Folkmoot is really all about community: a community of artists, a community of learners, a community of volunteers, a community of open-minded and curious people, a community of welcoming hosts and a community of guests who travel to our beloved Smoky Mountains to share not only their dance but also their hearts and their hopes.

Folkmoot is about creating a sense of shared community over ideology, politics and issues which often divide us.  Folkmoot says “save what separates us for another day;” “let’s celebrate what brings us together today.”

And celebrate we do.

Though many of the performances’ musical beats and tempos may be different from what we daily hear on the radio and the performers’ accents may not be what we are accustomed to when we go to our places of work or worship, it is in the festival’s celebration of the world’s diverse cultural traditions and dances that we become a richer community, a “unified body of diverse individuals all interacting for the greater good in shared environment.”  

Instead of a community filled with fear and apprehension, the Folkmoot community brings us together and fosters inclusivity and respect. Dance gives us a common denominator which enables us to see our similarities rather than our differences.

Folkmoot’s Rich History and Exciting Future

Folkmoot is community

When Waynesville surgeon, Dr. Clinton Border, returned home after seeing a dance team at an English folk festival, he thought such a festival would be perfect for Western North Carolina, which had its own rich history of preserving its traditional culture.  It took from 1973, when Border made his trip, to 1984 before the first Folkmoot USA event took place.  That year, symbolic as it was also the year that North Carolina celebrated its 400th birthday, welcomed performers from England, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Turkey, Mexico, Puerto Rico and India.  

In 2002, the Folkmoot Friendship Center leased the former Hazelwood Elementary School, thus giving it a home to expand its programming and activities.  In 2014, the Haywood County school system donated the school to the organization.  Now, this multi-faceted space has created an expanded opportunity for Folkmoot to move from a two week festival to a year-round cultural center, focusing on programs and events that celebrate diversity and differences, encourage cultural conversation and inclusion, and preserve and honor worldwide cultural heritages, especially using dance as a tool to achieve world peace.

Since these humble yet visionary beginnings in 1984, more than 8,000 international performers from 200 countries have entertained and thrilled residents and guests of Western North Carolina.

Our volunteer spotlight shines on Michelle Romberger

Our volunteer spotlight shines on Michelle RombergerOur volunteer spotlight shines on Michelle Romberger

Our volunteer spotlight shines on Michelle Romberger for the countless volunteer hours she gives to Folkmoot.

Together with husband, Keith Romberger, the couple have been actively involved with Folkmoot for 16 years and have made Folkmoot a family adventure by bringing along their son and daugther.

An assistant first grade teacher and bus driver at Hazelwood Elementary School, Michelle loves not only her work with children but she also loves spending time with her family, creating arts and crafts and her Folkmoot volunteer every chance she gets.

Our volunteer spotlight shines on Michelle Romberger
Michelle Romberger

“Volunteering is just who I am, she said. “It’s in my blood.”

Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailland and Northern Cyprus and Venezuela as well as Anglo Appalachian and, as always, Cherokee dancers and musicians. 

Ticket packages and tickets for individual performances are available here.

Knowing that she had bus driving experience, one of Michelle’s close friends suggested that she volunteer for Folkmoot as a driver during the festival. She did. But she also soon wanted to branch out within the organization. Michelle is now the Night Lead for the Cafeteria.

She has volunteered countless hours cooking for friendship dinners, creating the menu for the upcoming festival and providing upkeep to the kitchen.

Since her first connection with Folkmoot, Michelle fell in love with the mission of the organization. She calls it an opportunity of a lifetime. Michelle absolutely loved the performers from the Netherlands (including their reappearance at the 2017 Festival). Their joyful spirit, unique personalities and noticeable efforts to interact with her in the kitchen, made the Netherland performers a personal favorite.

We want to thank Michelle for all that she does for Folkmoot. She is a highly valued team member, appreciated for her hard work and positive attitude. She loves to be a part of what makes Folkmoot so special. Michelle believes everyone should volunteer somewhere to help give back to their community. She encourages all lovers of culture, music, and dance to volunteer at Folkmoot.

For more information on volunteering opportunities, contact Catherine MacCallum, operations and volunteer coordinator, 828-452-2997, x105, or fill out this online form.

A Métis dance for the Cherokee people

A Métis dance for the Cherokee people

Métis dance for the Cherokee people will be a featured cultural exchange July 24 when Folkmoot 2018 takes our international dancers to visit our Western Carolina First Nation residents

At least 10 members of our visiting Le Ragazze Italiane dance troupe of Canada, as it turns out, are also members of the Canadian Métis (pronounced, “maytee”) First Nation people. 

A Métis dance for the Cherokee peopleTo honor their visit to Cherokee the Métis members of Le Ragazze will dance a, “thank you,” for Cherokee Principal Chief Richard Sneed and Vice Chief Alan B. Ensley. The dance, one of the most famous Métis dances is, “La Gigue de la Rivière-Rouge,” or as it is known in Michif, “oayache mannin,” or in English, “The Red River Jig.”

Its accompanying fiddle tune is considered an unofficial Métis anthem. The dance is a combination of Plains First Nations footwork with Scottish, Irish and French-Canadian dance forms. The basic jig step is danced in most Métis communities. Dancers often add their own solo dance steps during certain segments of the tune. Some dancers even use solo steps to identify their home community.

The dance and exchange between our Canadian Métis friends and our Cherokee friends is sure to be a highlight of Cultural Ambassador Day in Cherokee, July 24

Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailland and Northern Cyprus and Venezuela as well as Anglo Appalachian and, as always, Cherokee dancers and musicians. 

Ticket packages and tickets for individual performances are available here.

The Red River Jig finds its origins in the Red River Settlement (Winnipeg). One dance origin story explains how the Scottish lived on one side of the river, and the French Canadians and Métis lived on the other. The Scots played bagpipes on the one side of the river, while the people on the other side listened. Then one night a man decided to imitate the bagpipes with his fiddle, turning what was a lament into a rollicking jig that made everyone want to dance.

A short history of the Métis

The advent of the fur trade in west central North America during the 18th century was accompanied by a growing number of mixed  offspring of Aboriginal women and European fur traders.  

As this population established distinct communities separate from those of  First Nations and Europeans and married among themselves, a new Aboriginal people emerged  – the Métis people – with their own unique culture, traditions, language (Michif – a derivative of French and Oji-Cree), way of life, collective consciousness and nationhood.

Distinct Métis communities developed  along the routes of the fur trade and across the Northwest within the Métis Nation homeland. This homeland includes the three Prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta), as well as parts of  the Northern United States.

Today, many of these historic Métis communities continue to exist along  rivers and lakes where forts and posts were hubs of fur trade activity from Ontario westward. As well, large numbers of Métis citizens now live in urban centres within the Métis Nation Homeland; however, even within these larger populations, well-defined Métis communities exist.

Consistently throughout history, the Métis people have acted collectively to protect and fight for their rights, lands and ongoing existence as a distinct Aboriginal people and nation within the Canadian federation –from the Métis provisional governments of Riel in Manitoba (1869-70) and Saskatchewan (1885) to contemporary Métis governing bodies. This dedication continues to exist as citizens and communities throughout the Métis Nation Homeland  keep the nation’s distinct culture, traditions, language and lifestyle alive and pursue their own social and economic development. 40,000 people in the city of Winnipeg identify as Métis. For the most part, their first language is French.

The Red River Jig:

Folkmoot expands our community

Folkmoot expands our community

Folkmoot expands our community.

No matter how one may view the annual Folkmoot Festival – North Carolina’s official international folk festival – or Folkmoot’s year-round activities and events, one amazing fact stands out: Folkmoot expands our community.

Folkmoot expands our horizons. Folkmoot broadens our frame of reference. Folkmoot takes us places to learn other cultures, other traditions, other people and other customs.

Folkmoot expands our community.

Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailland and Northern Cyprus and Venezuela as well as Anglo Appalachian and, as always, Cherokee dancers and musicians. 

Ticket packages and tickets for individual performances are available here.

What is a community to you?

Folkmoot expands our communityA community can be defined as a unified body of diverse individuals, all interacting for the greater good in a shared environment. A characteristic of community is a shared commonality and most often we tend to gravitate towards those who are like us.

But stepping out of cultural comfort zones means experiencing new ways of living as well as expanding the knowledge we have about the world.

Community in the world today means so much more than what most people realize; the essence of community is diversity and inclusion, which means bringing our opinions together to make connections but also realizing it is our differences which make a community.

What hurts a community?

Political polarization is the tendency of people to band together around narrow views which ultimately separate and divide us from anyone with a divergent viewpoint. Political beliefs, economic status, religious perspectives, racial biases can all become intellectual vehicles for division and separation with the body politic.

What makes our world so special is our diversity: cultural, linguistic, political and religious. Instead of a world where we try to level ourselves to all be equal, why not accept our uniqueness, embrace it, share it with others so the world continues to learn and grow?

A community is like a flower garden: unique and diverse. Each flower adds to the quality of the garden with color, shape, size and fragrance. The best part? Flowers can grow and bloom beside another flower of different budding, maybe even adapt to the surrounding plants. Just like a garden, we can prosper and grow together despite our differences in political views.

It’s not impossible!

A sense of community, diversity and acceptance is exactly what you will find at Folkmoot. By engaging other countries and cultures, we are able to sublimate our communities into different dimensions of life and, through the process, more fully understand how beautiful it is being different from one another.

There will always be political aspects to a community but understanding divergent ideologies, disparate world views and endless varieties of customs and traditions will break the historical cycle of destruction despite our differences.