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November 19, 2016: Ancient Art, Modern Moves

Ancient Art, Modern Moves, the most recent Culture & Arts Festival at the Karshner Center, was a big hit with the children.

The rugs were gathered from each room of the museum and a patchwork of carpets was formed in front of the shadow puppet theatre. Every inch was filled with excited children as they wiggled, giggled, and screeched at the story, "Anansi the Spider."

Shadow puppeteer Deb Chase and musician and actor Mick Doherty presented a lively and original production of the African folk tale, then they turned up the lights and shared their special type of shadow puppets and storytelling.

After the show children raced to the craft room dragging their parents with them. Soon the room was buzzing with creativity as families attempted to create shadow puppets and attach them to straws and sticks. Throughout the Karshner Center there were small screens with back lighting which allowed visitors to practice their own storytelling with homemade shadow puppets.

The excitement was electric, and amusing to watch.

As quickly as the Oregon Shadow Theatre had taken down their stage and removed their equipment and musical instruments, dancers and DJs began setting the stage for members of TRIBE-olution to begin their breakdancing demonstration.

Hip Hop dancers amazed the audience with their synchronized moves and poses. Spinning on their head, flipping their bodies, moving to the music, they provided great entertainment which was rewarded by an enthusiastic audience.

This was followed by master-level performing artists demonstrating dance from traditional cultures of Africa and Brazil. Mesmerizing movements were complemented by beautiful costumes. Dancers and musicians were authentic in their presentation.

Next, young teen-aged dancers demonstrated the graceful moves of Kung Fu. Skillful in his flips, turns, and controlled movements, the young man surprised the audience with the beauty of this martial art.

Dancers then all returned to the stage to compare and contrast the dance moves from culture to culture. Similarities were amazing to see. Clearly, modern dance has evolved over time gathering the favorite moves from another time and place.

As expected, a food vendor was parked outside the museum for festival visitors. Hometown Dogs, a mobile food truck offering gourmet hot dogs from hometowns all over the country, served up tasty lunches for festival-goers.

Hometown Dogs is a project sponsored by Centerforce, a private non-profit community rehabilitation agency that connects people with disabilities to their communities through work. Their presence at the festival provided their participants with experience in preparing and serving food as well as customer service. Their effort and service was outstanding!

The Puyallup School District's Culture & Arts Festivals continue at the Karshner Center in January. Mark your calendars for Stories of Our Lives, which will include a family theatre performance by Book-It Repertory Theatre featuring, "Going Someplace Special," the story of a young girl who finds safety in the local library.

This festival will feature special storytellers and guest readers who will read their favorite books aloud. Visitors will make books, write poetry, learn to illustrate, and hear favorite multicultural stories which represent families in our community.