On Saturday, October 3, the halls of Hamden Middle School were transformed into a multicultural exhibition and fair for children and families. With booths representing China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Turkey, and Mexico, a variety of arts and crafts vendors, a henna station, and an activity center with both pumpkin- and face-painting, the gym was a bustle of activity all day. Performances by a magician, folk singer and guitarist, several local dance troupes, and the high school marching band rounded out the day.
In the middle of the event, the audience members had the unique opportunity to try their hands at the movements of Tari Piring, the traditional candle-and-plate dance of the Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra, Indonesia. After watching a brief demonstration, accompanied by the traditional Gamelan Minang sounds of the talempong gongs, a dozen young boys and girls came on stage for a mini-workshop, learning the basic hand movements that comprise the candle-and-plate dance. Afterward, even more children visited the ISF cultural booth to try the movements with plates in their hands. Children and their parents sampled ginger candies from the “Spice Islands,” learned about the largest archipelago in the world, and walked away with information booklets and activity sheets, as well as gift items like wayang kulit bookmarks displaying figures of Javanese shadow puppets, and pens and notepads courtesy of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in New York (KJRI-NY).
With many thanks to Debbie Chavoya, Executive Director of P.L.A.C.E., and Mubarra Elahee, member of the Board of Directors, for the invitation to participate and perform.