Dances from Ireland

by Estifanos (age 7), of California, U.S.A.

The first time I saw Irish dancing, it was watching a video of the very first performance of Riverdance, on the Eurovision Song Contest:

I thought that it was a mind-blowing performance because the dancers did the footwork super good, so that it sounded like every one of the dancers were hitting the floor together. To me, it sounded like their feet were making a kind of percussion music along with the drums and the synthesizer music. That made me want to know more about Irish dancing.

Next, I took Irish dance classes, to find out how people did the footwork, to make the different noises with their feet.

The classes were okay, but I didn’t like that it was so loud in the dance studio.

After that, I watched a documentary about kids who were learning Irish dance. The youngest kid was probably about ten years old. The oldest was probably about twenty-one. The documentary was called, “Jig.” Here is the trailer:

I think that Irish dance is interesting because I like the costumes, and the hard-shoe rhythms.

Dances from Brazil

by Estifanos (age 6), of California, U.S.A.

I wanted to see what kinds of other dances people did in Brazil, after seeing the Brazilian dancers of the Fogo Na Roupa Performing Company at the Ethnic Dance Festival in San Francisco. So, Mom and I Googled “Brazilian dance.” We found a list of “10 Traditional Brazilian Dances You Should Know About.” Then, we looked for videos of those Brazilian dances on Youtube.

My favorite was of about five men that were doing Capoeira dancing. It was acrobatic, and very very fast. They spun on their heads! (crazy guys!!!) They also would kick their feet up and twirl around, just inches from each other, and did not bump into each other!

Here is a link to the Capoeira dance we watched:

Another traditional Brazilian dance that I liked was called Bumba Meu Boi. I liked it because it was funny and dramatic. The dance showed people dressed up as animals in a forest. There was a bull, some monkeys, and about 20 Amazonian birds. And also, at the end, there was a man holding a little toy bull, just like the bull at the beginning. There has to be a story to this dance. I am going to ask my pen-pal about what the story is.

Here is a link to the video of the Bumba Meu Boi dance we watched:

The last Brazilian dance I liked is called Forró. It is so fast, that I can’t even describe it. It is danced by a boy and a girl or a man and a woman. They do lots of fast hand work, and turns and spins. Once the woman even slid underneath the man’s legs, and jumped right back up and kept dancing. I really want to learn it. It is just amazing!

Here is a link to the video of Forró dancing we watched:


Ethnic Dance Festival

by Estifanos (age 6), of California, U.S.A.

Yesterday, and last Sunday, I went to the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival at the San Francisco Opera House.  The theatre had golden decorations on the walls, and comfortable cloth seats. We saw eighteen music and dance performances, from: Peru, Hawaii, Cuba, Japan, Philippines, Iran, China, Mexico, India, Spain, Congo, Mozambique, Brazil, and Tahiti.  My favorite dances were the ones from Brazil, Mexico, Tahiti, and the Congo.

The Brazilian dancers (Fogo Na Roupa Performing Company) did a lot of gymnastic jumping and kicking moves.  Their costumes  were very bright, with patterned colors in red and yellow and gold. And there was a kind of parade with a king and queen and a giant umbrella. The music was very loud.

The dances from Mexico (Ballet Folklorico Mexico Danza) were folkloric dances that seemed to tell stories about what it was like in the Mexican Revolution.  The costumes had many, many bright colors, like yellow, blue, red, and green, and they had pretend guns and swords.  Some dancers also had stuffed costumes that looked like pretend horses that they were riding. The part that I liked most about the Mexican dance was the men and women in costumes dancing with big skirts and tuxedo tails.

The Tahitian dance (Te Mana O Te Ra) had a lot of women moving their hips really fast, in circles, around and around, and back and front. They wore yellow grass skirts with black stripes that swayed when they danced. How do they do that?! Imagining it makes me feel dizzy!

The dances from the Congo (Bitezo Bia Kongo) started with drumming. Four men were drumming on hand drums bigger than me, that were hanging between their legs, from shoulder straps. They looked heavy. The drummers even danced while they were drumming! Then, the dancers came out. They jumped a lot, and played other small percussion instruments. They also moved their hips like the Tahitian dancers, only slower. If I could, I would like to learn to drum and dance like the men from the Congo!