Women's History Celebration

Women's History Celebration In honor of Women’s History Month, the Burlington County Freeholders will present an afternoon of culturally-diverse music and dance from Sunday, March 11th from noon to 4pm at Historic Smithville Mansion in Eastampton.

Sponsored by the County Division of Cultural Affairs and Tourism, the free Women of the World celebration will feature many dance styles, including: Nuevo Flamenco Fusion; Columbian; Traditional Indian; Afro and Folkloric Puerto Rican; North and West African; Egyptian Folkloric and Turkish Romany.

A Pan Arabic Fusion dance and drum performance and a Middle Eastern drum demonstration are also planned.

Dancers include Nikhita Kothari, a senior at Moorestown High School, who began studying dance at age seven and is certified in classical Indian dancing. Students and instructors from The Drum & Dance Learning Center (DDLC) in Bordentown, including Co-Director Kim Leary, also will perform.

Also during the event, the Women’s History Month Art Exhibit will be on display in the Historic Smithville Mansion Annex Art Gallery.

The schedule of performers includes: 12:30pm:
• Indian Dance (Jatiswaram) by Nikhita Kothari. Jatiswaram embodies a difficult nritta, or pure dance, in which the basic steps are set to time with swaras, or musical notations, melody and movements.
• Nuevo Flamenco Fusion Dance by Kim Leary. In the spirit of Ruth St. Denis, this dance borrows elements from three connecting cultures, Spanish Flamenco, Moorish (Arab), and Indian, and is blended with contemporary dance aesthetics.

1pm:
• West African Dance (Sinte) by Audrey Davis.
• Folkloric Puerto Rican Dance (Plena) by Patricia Irizarry-Baretto. Known as the “singing newspaper” for the lower classes, Plena is used to spread messages among people. Whenever Plena is played the audience joins in the singing, clapping and dancing.

1:30pm:
• Indian Dance (Jia Jale: Thali) by Nihita Kothari. This unique dance demonstrates the ability to balance and perform steps on Thali, a steel rimmed plate. The dancers also balance a Kalash, or pot, on their heads.
• Columbian Dance (Cumbia) by Natalie Rendon. A graceful proud dance, Cumbia is a blend of indigenous African and Spanish influences.

2pm:
• West African Dance (Yankadi) by Audrey Davis. A Sousou dance of seduction, it is danced during village festivals, marriages and other celebrations.
• Afro-Puerto Rican Dance (Bomba) by Patricia Irizarry-Baretto. One of Puerto Rico’s most famous musical styles, the rhythm and beat are played by a set of hand drums and a maraca.

2:30pm:
• Turkish Romany Dance by Kim Leary. This dance in a 9/8 time signature is found primarily in Turkish music.
• North African Dance (Zar) by Veronica Chmiel. Zar is a community healing ritual of drumming and dancing involving mainly women participants.

3pm:
• Pan Arabic Fusion Dance by DDLC Ensemble. This dance combines elements of east and west.
• Egyptian Folkloric Dance (Raks Al Assaya) by Veronica Chmiel, Marilyn Ham and Erika Meyer. A traditional folkloric dance, this cane dance originally performed by men as a martial art was later adapted by women for entertainment.

3:30pm:
• Middle Eastern Drum Demonstration by DDLC Ensemble.
• Pan Arabic Drum Solo (Dance) by DDLC Ensemble. This drum solo is an exciting part of a belly dance routine in which the dancer’s body is like a drum and the dancer becomes part of the band.

Historic Smithville Mansion is located on Smithville Road, three quarters of a mile off Route 38. For more information, call (609) 265-5068.

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Author: Press Release-Burlington County

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