Collaboration is an amazing gift! When you experience it, those moments of joined efforts and creative kinship are downright life changing. This is true in both cultural arts and community building. Collaboration means working together, engaging in common goals and welcoming folks from all traditions to share a common journey. That is Culture Builds Community!
Cityfolk engages in this process throughout the year, through the concert series, the summer festival and CBC. As Dayton’s traditional arts organization, we are grounded in the traditional arts – this generation’s “original,” knowing that it all trickles down to the next citizens/family members/artists to translate anew. Relationship patterns are horizontal and vertical; they thrive at a multitude of levels. Carried at each level are tangible takeaways: dance, cooking, music, poems, jewelry, quilts, paintings, puppets and more. We create it and hand it down. There’s a ladder of love in the abstract, a full life of expression in the real stories. That is Culture Builds Community!
When Cityfolk works in the schools, the effort is in sharing those art forms that represent an aspect of tradition that elementary aged children in 2012 may or may not know from family or educational experience. In some cases, families nourish their ethnic heritage through yearly celebrations or cherished belongings. Plenty of other folks may not know their ancestry, where their people came from. Many of us see ourselves as a fusion of cultures, a mix of many, and we bond with various traditions that move us or bring us joy. Whatever the case, Culture Builds Community celebrates the knowns and the unknowns. Every human being has a back story, a history with connections. CBC helps to both bring unique identity and common experience to the fore. The Welcome Dayton initiative celebrates the immigrant-friendly nature of the city. This inclusive approach fits beautifully with Cityfolk’s mission and CBC’s action.
For the past seven years, Culture Builds Community has lived into its identity by sharing arts-based cultural activities in Dayton’s urban neighborhoods. We’ve been building relationships with neighbors and area youth, through community events and the summer festival activities. Our signature piece is a residency project, bringing Visiting Artists together with Local Artists, Site Coordinators,Neighborhood School Centers and students to collaborate on a theme, through music and dance. This year is the most expansive program yet, involving all five NSC schools, five nationally acclaimed artists and a bevy of local talents and organizers to bring five cultural strands through an educational migration to a dynamic destination, the culminating performance. This year, Cityfolk presents CBC 2012 – Soul Rhythms: Traveling land and heart Through Music and Dance.
Soul Rhythms is engaged with the following schools:Fairview, Ruskin,Edison,Cleveland and Kiser. Each school is hosting a particular cultural expression, blending a team of intergenerational, multicultural folks together to make dances. These dances will be combined with works by visiting artists, local artists and collaborations between them, culminating in a dynamic performance!! While this project is one large collaborative effort, aspects of the whole are being realized in smaller pieces, to afford the most productive use of time and talent. Artists are working together, developing big ideas and sounds, swapping ideas with students; site coordinators are keeping the logistics tight, the attendance strong. It’s a well-oiled machine. Soul Rhythms is unfolding over seven weeks, taking us March through April. During week 1, the following artistic teams came together.
Fairview PreK-8 School welcomed percussionist and composer LaFrae Sci, nationally known artist, actively involved in Jazz atLincolnCenter, international teaching tours and her band, The Thirteenth Amendment. Ms. Sci is a native Daytonian! She is thrilled to be teaching in her hometown. She is working actively with Stivers Jazz band members, Renee McClendon (McClendon Institute) and Sierra Leone (Oral Funk Poetry), creating performance art with a group of 5th – 8th graders.
Ruskin PreK-8, together with East End Community Services, is hosting Turkish kanun player, Hasan Isakkut, who is working closely with community dancers from theTwinTowers neighborhood. These young dancers from the Ahiska tradition will share their folk dance tradition with students from Ruskin. Mr. Isakkut will bring his beautiful music to the dancers, collaborating with LaFrae Sci to include the signature folk dance rhythms for the group.
Edison PreK-8 welcomed Step Afrika, nationally acclaimed dance troupe, specializing in the African American fraternity step tradition. They have partnered withCentral State’s Alpha Phi Alpha chapter, to teach advanced step routines to the young people of the Wright Dunbar neighborhood. CSU worked with young people atEdison in February as part of Black History Month.
Cleveland PreK-8 is proud to showcase the innovative work of Hammerstep, a dance company blending Irish step and Hip Hop, among other forms, bringing a whole new genre of dance to Daytonians. Founding member Garrett Coleman graduated from U.D, so this is a homecoming of sorts for him. Hammerstep is working closely with Beth Wright, formerly of Rhythm in Shoes, and The Corndrinkers, a long-established, local band, playing old time traditional country music.
Sones de Mexico
Kiser PreK-8 hosts Sones de Mexico from Chicago, bringing Mexican traditional music and dance to Old North Dayton. They are collaborating with local artist, Imelda Ayala and her local dancers, Orgullo Mexicano, along with Kiser students. The two artist teams bring dance from two different parts of Mexico!
Artistic Director, Rodney Veal is pulling together the dances and collaborations into a beautiful dynamic sequence, a performance that will keep the audience riveted for an hour and fifteen minutes, packed with the pride of homelands, including our collective home,Dayton Ohio! The dances reflect a rich collaboration on the theme of migration. The performance features the live music of each tradition, film work to augment the various expressions and a masterful sense of the journey. All artists and participants will perform!
The big day is April 22nd, 2012!!! You won’t want to miss this performance!!! There is only one!! Tickets are on sale now – $12 per seat -through the Cityfolk website or in our office,126 N. Main St,. Suite 220. Follow the project on Facebook. Check out videos of CBC artists and previous CBC projects on our YouTube channel. Next year’s plans are already cookin’! CBC will be more places, with more folks involved! We would like YOU to be among them!!! Call 223-3655×3008 for more information.