Ghana, Romania denied Folkmoot visas
Earlier today it was announced that Ghana and Romania will not be joining in on the Folkmoot festivities as planned.
In a letter from the United States Embassy in Accra, Ghana, the Nkrabea Dance Ensemble was notified that its members were ineligible for a nonimmigrant visa to enter the U.S. because they hadn’t “demonstrated that [they] have the ties that will compel [them] to return to [their] home country" after their scheduled appearances in North Carolina.
The letter went on to say that such demonstrable “ties” are “professional, work, school, family, or social links” to Ghana.
Founded in Nkrabea in 1995 and affiliated with both the Centre For National Culture and the Ghana Dance Association, the 25-member Nkrabea Dance Ensemble strives to portray an African celebration with every performance by incorporating drumming, folk music, and fire eating.
Also excluded this year is Vatra de Dor, a Romanian group led by Marius Moldovan and choreographer Viorel Dragomir. Established in 2012, this 29-member troupe presents a variety of regional dance styles.
The reason for Romania’s cancellation wasn’t immediately known, but is assumed to be attributable to similar issues.
Folkmoot intentially overbooked groups this year since it's typical for one or two groups not to obtain their visas. Even without Ghana and Romania, there are eight groups performing this year — China, Japan, Finland, Uganda, France, Poland, Dominican Republic and Peru.
Watch for breaking updates on this situation as they become available, and look for extended coverage of everything Folkmoot in the next issue of the Smoky Mountain News, available Wednesday, July 20.