28 April 2011

International Children's Festival of Folk Dances

After 8 months in Europe I finally saw some traditional folk dancing. It's something that I had wanted to experience especially in Central and Eastern Europe where rich cultural traditions have been rediscovered after the fall of communism. While out and about in Istanbul, a friend and I unexpectedly hit folk dancing gold. A free outdoor performance for the International Children's Festival of Folk Dances. BINGO!
Hungarian boys
Hungarian girls
We saw the most adorable kids from Turkey, Slovakia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Bosnia Herzegovina dressed in beautiful traditional clothing. They were kicking, jumping, twirling, and bouncing in ways I've never seen before. At one point a young Turkish boy ran up a human ramp made by the other boys and leaped down. Just like that, no big deal! So young and so talented! 
Bulgarian girls
Watching these kids made me want to go back to my childhood and be more culturally involved. I did ballet, gymnastics, piano lessons, and lots of other enriching activities. All of which were amazing but aren't connected with one culture. What tradition am I related to anyways? Italian-American? American? Texan? Perhaps my lack of traditional roots is why I am so interested in the cultures and traditions of others. 

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