Burmese culture to be showcased through dance

Burmese culture to be showcased through dance

By Meagan O’Toole-Pitts Sentinel Staff

Daily Sentinel, Texas

_MG_4234Nacogdoches ISD, in partnership with the Nacogdoches Public Library, the Burmese American Association of Texas (BAAT) and the Network of Myanmar American Association (NetMAA), is bringing professional Burmese performers to Nacogdoches August 18. “Showcasing the Burmese culture through dance is just one way NISD can bring our diverse community together,” said NISD Communications Director Marty Prince. NISD also believes that it is important to provide our community with educational opportunities that help all members of our community get to know one another. Tin Maung San Min Win (San Min), artistic director of one of the most distinguished dance company in Myanmar, Thitsa Metta Shwe Mann Thabin, will dance as well as Wa Wa Myint, BAAT vice president for Austin. Mother and daughter team Ni Ni Win Shwe, a Burmese singer who has recorded 150 solo albums, and Valarie Naing, a child dancer who began performing a little more than a year ago, will perform together.

There are 110 Burmese workers at Pilgrim’s Pride in Nacogodoches, some of which who have also brought their family members to area, said John Thomasson, Pilgrim’s Pride human resources manager. “I expect that we’ll have somewhere between 100 and 200 workers by the end of the year,” he said. Pilgrim’s Pride in Center, Texas has 150 Burmese workers, Thomasson added.

The idea for the event came after Aye Aye Kyi, former BAAT president, spoke to NISD employees at a special meeting in April, said Anne Barker, director of the Nacogdoches Public Library. “She talked about the background of the Burmese people coming here, about what life was like in the refugee camps, why the people had to leave their homes and go to the refugee camps, about the political and historical situation going on in what is currently called Myanmar,” Barker said. “The she talked about some of the cultural issues.” Kyi also spoke with staff at Head Start and the Nacogdoches County Interagency Coalition. Part of the El día de los niños/El día de los libros grant awarded by the American Library Association was used to bring Kyi to speak in April, Barker said. “She was so impressed by how much our community was committed to trying to assist Burmese and find out about Burmese culture that she gave me call and she said ‘Anne, there are these professional dancers that are coming to Houston and they’re performing around the United States. Some of them have agreed to come for free to perform in Nacogdoches,’” Barker said. Touring cities include Houston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York and Raleigh. In addition to touring the U.S., San Min has performed in Singapore, New Zealand and Australia and Myanmar, once winning the National Cultural Dance competition in his homeland.

The Nacogdoches Friends of the Library agreed to pay the performers expenses to come to Nacogdoches and NISD agreed to have the performance take place at Nacogdoches High School, making the event free to the public. “I’m thrilled that they are going to be able to come because for one thing it gives so many people here insight into the fantastic, ancient culture of the Burmese — they’re beautiful music, dance, costumes,” Barker said. “Also, so seldom are we here in Nacogdoches exposed to cultures from other countries and this is an excellent chance. The performance will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the NHS auditorium. The performance is slated to last 30 to 50 minutes.


Source: http://dailysentinel.com/life_and_entertainment/features/article_953d7a80-c7bf-11e0-9c35-001cc4c03286.html

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