Don’t miss a great mix of local ambassadors with fun activities for all at the Cultural Discovery Experience. Take a trip around the world with us! Join in workshops, interactive presentations and hands-on activities designed to expose visitors to authentic cultural experiences. Learn about Taiko Japanese Drumming, create Zen Calligraphy Characters, participate in World Trivia with foreign exchange students and meet cultural ambassadors wearing traditional attire from other countries. This project is supported, in part, by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and The National Endowment for the Arts.
2017 Cultural Discovery Experience Schedule
Featuring Storytelling, Dance, Music and Art from Around the World
Friday, September 15
Noon – 1:30 p.m. | Kenyan Traditions: First Born Child in the Luhya culture of Western Kenya — when a couple has their first child, there is a special song that they sing to celebrate the birth. As the first — born child — whether it is a boy or girl — goes through life milestones, this special song is again sung to honor this child and the current celebration in his/her life. Josie will perform the song titled Mwana Wa Mberi, meaning “first born child.” A person is chosen to represent the “first born child” and is dressed in native garments. He/she is seated in a place of honor and then becomes the center of the traditional song and dance. Others will perform the traditional ceremonial dance to honor the milestones of the first — born child.
2 – 3:30 p.m. | My Nigeria: CultureALL Ambassador Eric Idehen will enchant festival — goers with a glimpse into Nigerian culture by sharing personal photographs, clothing items and naira bills. Learn about his journey to the United States and his road to success in his adopted country, as well as the orphanage Mr. Idehen built in Nigeria.
4 – 5:30 p.m. | Artesanias: Mexican Handcrafts, Flowers, and More — Artesanias are an important part of Mexico’s national identity. They are made for utilitarian or folk — art purposes using indigenous and European techniques. Handcrafts with vibrant designs will help students learn essential elements of Mexican culture such as food, art and family traditions, among others. Participants will experience the importance of the art while learning how to make a Mexican flower.
6 – 7:30 p.m. | Japanese Kanj: Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters used in the modern Japanese writing system. Yoko Tanaka, a Japanese interpreter and an employee of Principal, will explain how Kanji developed, illustrating the process by using words that represent mountain, flower, friendship, love, success and more. Ms. Tanaka will also guide students to write these words using rice paper, ink and brushes.
Saturday, September 16
Noon – 2 p.m. | Classical, Folk and Bollywood Dances: Attendees will get a feel of various dances performed in India by learning the basic moves and foot works of classical dances like Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. They will also learn folk dances like Garba, Dhandiya Raas and Bollywood dances and have an opportunity to try on various costumes and jewelry used in Indian dance.
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. | Tropical Steel: This Caribbean steel band from Des Moines, Iowa, has performed around the state since 1997. Their steel pan instrumentation consists of tenor pans, double seconds, triple cello, tenor bass and percussion. Let Tropical Steel sweep you off to the islands with their collection of energetic and soothing sounds of Caribbean music featuring calypso, soca, rock, cha — cha and reggae.
4 – 5:30 p.m. | Chinese New Year Celebration: With its unique geographic conditions, Chinese civilization was developed independent of other cultural influences. In addition, Chinese culture heavily influenced its neighboring countries and regions. This vivid storytelling presentation will explore various aspects of Chinese culture. These ancient stories are not only very interesting, but exemplify the essence of Chinese beliefs that exist today. Discussions will also be held for comparisons of the East and West.
6 – 8 p.m. | Japanese Drums and Dance: Soten Taiko is DSM’s only Taiko drumming group. The name of the group translates as “Blue Sky” Taiko. Their goal is to share the ancient sounds of Taiko drumming under the blue skies of Iowa. The group, which is part of the Japan America Society of Iowa, will regale the audience with the Japanese Lion Dance, or Shishimai, as well as Taiko drumming and a participatory, traditional Japanese dance.
Sunday, September 17
Noon – 2 p.m. | Greetings from the Islands: “Aloha,” or “Talofa” in Samoan. Hear the sound of the conch shell, the call of the islands. Meet Tavita Taueetia from Hawaii — a true Hawaiian/Samoan and a professional fire dancer! The audience will learn how to say greetings in different areas of the South Pacific and experience live music and drumming from the islands. Tavita will sing island music while accompanying himself on the ukulele.
2 – 4 p.m. | Cumbia: Cumbia is a fusion of cultures. Clemen Wilcox, a native of Pereira, Colombia, will share the story of this very popular music genre that originated in her native land. Participants will learn the basic steps of this dance while experiencing the sights and sounds of Colombia. Clemen will wear the traditional pollera skirt and bring her music to make an unforgettable experience for everyone.