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Wednesday, 19 July 2017 14:30

Meet the groups of Folkmoot

Written by 

Paloina Amsterdam


• Capital: Amsterdam

• Language: Dutch

• Location: Western Europe

• Religion: Christianity

Compared to N.C.

• Population: 2X

• Size: One-third

Making their first appearance at Folkmoot since 2009, Paloina Amsterdam returns to Western North Carolina with its own brand of traditional, cross-cultural folk and world dance.




• Capital: Ljubljana

• Language: Slovene

• Location: Southeastern Europe

• Religion: Christianity

Compared to N.C.

• Population: One-fifth

• Size: One-seventh

The dancers and musicians of this touring group have since 1971 brought the sights, sounds and dances of Slovenian regional culture to life, on stage and street. After more than 80 festivals, “faithfulness to the ethnographic authenticity of dances, folk songs and costumes” remains the group’s driving principle.


Sentimiento Criollo


• Capital: Buenos Aires

• Language: Spanish

• Location: South America

• Religion: Christianity

Compared to N.C.

• Population: 20X

• Size: 4X

Expect traditional, rich costumery and expert choreography during a fantastical tour of Argentina’s customs and culture including, of course, the tango. This group has toured North and South America extensively, and attended the famous Festival du Confolens in France in 2015.


Utkarsh Dance Academy


• Capital: New Delhi

• Languages: Hindi, English

• Location: South Asia

• Religions: Hinduism, Islam

Compared to N.C.

• Population: 23X

• Size: 132X

The Utkarsh Dance Academy, from Surat in western India, has been teaching Indian classical, folk and Bollywood-style dance since 1994.


Ogon’ki Ensemble


• Capital: Moscow

• Language: Russian

• Location: Eurasia

• Religion: Christianity

Compared to N.C.

• Population: 14X

• Size: 125X

One of the richest folk dance traditions in all the world lies in Russia, where the roots run more than 1,000 years deep. Ogon’ki – loosely translated as “the lights” or “the flames” – will bring more than 40 dancers, costume designers, musicians and choreographers to show Western North Carolina what that looks like.


Ayalot Ha’Negev


• Capital: Jerusalem

• Languages: Hebrew, Arabic

• Location: Middle East

• Religions: Judaism, Islam

Compared to N.C.

• Population: 1X

• Size: One-fifth

An ancient legacy permeates Jewish culture – one the Dance Company of the State of Israel seeks to promote.  Appearing in more than 65 countries on behalf of the State of Israel since 1980, The Negev “cultivates new and disadvantaged dancers” to spread their message around the world.


Dawnswyr Gwerin Yr Afon Goch

Canada (Wales)

• Capital: Ottawa

• Language: English

• Location: North America

• Religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam

Compared to N.C.

• Population: 4.5X

• Size: 70X

While Welsh may be a mouthful for some, the region is legendary for producing some of the most talented poets, singers, writers and troubadours in all of western culture. Dawnswyr Gwerin Yr Afon Goch – call them The Red River Welsh Folk Dancers if you want – bring the experience of more than 2,400 performances over 40 years.


Yung-ping Vocational High School Performing Arts Department


• Capital: Taipei

• Language: Mandarin

• Location: East Asia

• Religions: Buddhism, Taoism

Compared to N.C.

• Population: 2.5X

• Size: One-fourth

From Poland to Portugal and everywhere in between, these performers from New Taipei City’s prestigious vocational high school are two-time national dance champions.


American Racket

United States

• Capital: Washington, D.C.

• Languages: English, Spanish

• Location: North America

• Religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam

Compared to N.C.

• Population: 32X

• Size: 70X

As the name suggests, high-energy percussive clogging is what American Racket does best; touring across the region and the globe for more than 15 years now, this Florida-based group has made a racket out of making a racket, including a 2011 visit to Folkmoot.


Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

The Qualla Boundary

• Capital: Cherokee

• Languages: English, Cherokee

• Location: Western North Carolina

• Religions: Christianity, traditional tribal religion

Compared to N.C.

• Population: 625 times as small

• Size: 653 times as small

For centuries and against great odds, the Cherokee have preserved their own version of indigenous native culture, which they freely share through traditional dance, storytelling and apparel. Frequently performing across Western North Carolina, the Tribe has been an integral part of Folkmoot for years.



• 10.2 million live in North Carolina.

• North Carolina is 53,819 square miles.