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Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.

Folk Ensemble

The Immigrants
By Dick Oakes



AMAN - The Immigrants The AMAN Folk Ensemble features traditional dance and music from around the world in a fast-paced, energetic, contemporary programme. The current programme, The Immigrants, explores what happens when artists steeped in their own traditions bump up against each other and compare rhythms, steps, and harmonies. Highlights include the Rapper Sword Dance from England, the Bottle Dance from Hungary, and the Gumboot Dance from South Africa. The finale shows how Irish step dancing migrated to Cape Breton, Canada, and then down the North America coast to become Appalachian clogging.

"The AMAN Folk Ensemble has been working in the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1971. The nature of the folk material AMAN uses, and its international scope forms a solid foundation from which to build a programme aimed at the ultimate goal . . . all people harmoniously co-existing in the schools and in the community at large." Don Dustin - Director, Performing Arts L.A. Unified School District

The AMAN Folk Ensemble, formed in 1967, is a nonprofit performing arts organization dedicated to promoting traditional dance and music from the many ethnic groups residing in the United States. AMAN is the only professional company including in its repertoire and education programmes the cultural traditions of five continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. Its dancers and musicians work side by side, year in and year out, to create lively authentic renditions and interpretations of traditional work.

We struggle with what to call the kind of work we do. "Folk" and "traditional" sound old-fashioned -- and our tunes and steps are anything but old-fashioned. Both "alternative" and "world" music has become almost trite. We know there is an audience who appreciates a fast-paced, energetic and exciting performance based on old beats and ancient rhythms, familiar tunes and routine steps. We enjoy the opportunity to show our respect for traditions and rituals and at the same time prove that folk dance and music are contemporary, vital, ever-changing forms.

From now until the end of the millennium, AMAN will celebrate the immigrants who have come together in this geographic space to create an American culture. AMAN invites you to join the discussion by "signing" the Book of Immigrants. AMAN asks "Where In The World Do You Come From?"

Even before Columbus landed, cultural groups were finding their way to this geography we now call the United States of America. Most of us have come since the arrival of the Mayflower. Recent demographics show that one out of ten people living here now was born elsewhere.

AMAN invites you to answer questions about your own origins:

Why did your family leave its place of origin?

What did your family bring with them, specifically in the cultural realm?

How are those contributions melded and changed in contemporary American life?