Portrait of the Yapese Dance Troupe at the Shanghai World Expo
Shanghai, China (FSM Information Services): August 30, 2010 - Martin Ruwniyol has coached, organized and supported dancers from Nimar Village of the Weloy Municipality in Yap for close to 30 years. On August 28 and 29, he was able to participate in the opportunity of a lifetime: lead his 16 dancers into a series of phenomenal performances at the Pacific Pavilion of the Shanghai World Expo to celebrate the FSM National Day.
On August 28, the Yapese dancers showcased their performance 4 times throughout the day. The performances were enthusiastically received by several hundred visitors at each session. Chen Lei, one of the Performing Arts Managers of the World Expo, called them "the rainbow dancers," a thought triggered by the colorful costumes of red, yellow, blue and green, worn by the dancers. Leo Pugram, one of the 5 male dancers, explains that the colors of the costumes "represent the beauty of the island of Yap."
The Yapese dance involves dancing with bamboo sticks; hence, it is also appropriately known as the "Bamboo Dance." Ruwniyol explains that the dance, through the words sung and the gestures performed by the dancers, talks of the skills that young boys and girls will need to master in order to protect themselves and the entire village against aggression from outsiders. The dance and song emphasizes the need to maintain peace at all times in the village. A perfect message for the Shanghai World Expo, an event which seeks to both promote worldwide cultural exchanges and support worldwide peace.
The Yapese Dancers also performed for the FSM Delegation and Vice Mayor Tu Guangshao of Shanghai on August 29, in honor of the FSM National Day. When asked what he thought of performing at the Shanghai World Expo, the youngest of the Yapese dancers, eleven year old Dexter Fal'Niyan' said: "it was really fun!"
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