Multicultural dancing, music and art highlight July 26 event

by: TIMES PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Huitzilopochtli dance troupe captain Jose Carlos performs a traditional Aztec dance honoring the sun while wearing a colorful headdress as part of the Beaverton International Celebration.Now in its fourth year, the Beaverton International Celebration allows Party in the Park guests to sample the rich cultural diversity of the community.

The colorful affair will feature music, dance, art, crafts, food, traditional dress and ceremonies representing many of the diverse ethnic populations who call Beaverton home.

Produced by the city of Beaverton with the support of dedicated volunteers from the Beaverton Arts Commission, visitors to Field 3 at the Howard M. Terpenning Recreation Complex between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. will be treated to artistic, dance and musical performances on two stages. In addition, information tables will feature organizations, associations and businesses representing local ethnic populations.

"A big component of the celebration is to acknowledge the rich diversity in our community," said Victor Sin, events coordinator for the city of Beaverton. "We've selected groups who represent many of the cultures who happen to be in the Beaverton area."

A committee reviewed applications, viewed videos from performers and selected 11 acts who it felt were a good fit for the venue, six of which are new to the event this year while five are returning crowd favorites.

Among the new acts is the Northwest Dragon and Lion Dance Association, representing traditional Chinese lion and dragon dancing accompanied by an instrument team playing Chinese drums, cymbals and gongs.

The Rio Con Brio duo of Tim Connell on mandolin and Mike Burdette on guitar will share an intimate performance of the Brazilian repertoire known as "choro," the early 20th century street music of Rio de Janeiro.

Also new to the stage this year is the Cambodian Dance Troupe of Oregon, who will perform a "Blessing Dance," a Khmer traditional dance from Cambodian classical ballet; Mbrascatu, a five-piece group offering a variety of musical styles combined with Italian lyrics; Koto artist Mitsuki Dazai performing original arrangements on the traditional Japanese Koto; and Jayanthi Raman's NATYA Dance Academy of Beaverton presenting Indian classical dance by students of the dance school.

Returning acts include Hula Halau 'Ohana Holo'oko'a, Grupo Ritual Azteca Huitsilopochtli, Mathias Galley African Dance Ensemble, Chayag Andean Folk Music and Winds of Donegal — Sam Keator with Hanz Araki and Eddie Parente sharing the Irish culture.

"I'm excited," Sin said. "We have a good mix. For some groups, this celebration allows them to come out and perform on a broader scale."

Sam Keator of the Winds of Donegal and S & A Irish Entertainment agreed.

"It's an honor to be selected for the fourth year and truly the best way to demonstrate and keep the cultural dances alive from specific parts of the world," Keator said. "Victor has done a fabulous job of attracting new groups to the celebration."

The celebration, which grew out of Beaverton's community visioning process, also features a line up of 45 exhibitors. Open to community groups, each was challenged to place an emphasis on sharing their culture by offering fun, educational activities and information.

"We want guests to the area to walk away with something meaningful," Sin said.

Another highlight of the celebration is a Kids and Culture Interactive Area located under a canopy in the middle of the field.

"We have a schedule of activities lined up throughout the day showcasing everything from dance lessons to taekwondo to arts and crafts," Sin said.

Bob Wayt, the park district's communications director, said the event was a natural collaboration between the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District and the city of Beaverton.

"Being able to provide a platform to pull all of these community events together is just wonderful," Wayt said.

"This celebration has really become a well-rounded cultural event that families in the area look forward to," Keator TIMES PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Young members of the Good Time Chinese School dance troupe perform during the Beaverton International Celebration.

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