Dancing the night away: World arts night features dances from around the world

By Melissa Stringham

From the Spanish Flamenco to the Korean Sanjo, world-renowned performing groups will showcase traditional dances from world cultures Thursday night for the annual International and Ethnic World Arts Night in the Union Ballroom.

Lloyd Miller, a post-doctorate student studying music and the event coordinator for the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s noon concert club, has headed the production since 1977.

“I believe it’s a really important thing for people to understand each other,” Miller explained. “The best way to do that is through music, dance and food. It’s the one way to get people together.”

The concert’s purpose is to showcase dances and bring together cultures that normally might not get along through breaking down stereotypes and prejudices.

Paul Liacopouous of the Dionysius Greek Dancers, one of the groups performing in the show, anticipates that his dance group will reinforce what he believes to be a positive image.

“Greeks are a people with a long history, and dance is part of that,” he said. “America, to be honest, has a bland cultural life-we all know it.”

“There are very few distinctly American traditions. These performances are ancient traditions, but still living traditions,” Liacopouous said.

Andrew Ericksen, a senior in international studies, plans on going because it’s fun.

“I went last year because a teacher offered extra credit. I’ll go this year because I want to. Plus, it’s free,” he said.

Performers will include the BYU Folk dancers, the U Character Dancers, Samba Gringa, Bien Flamenco, SwingnJive, Swing Kids and the Dionysius Greek Dancers, and Fred Simpson will be featured throughout the evening.

The showcase starts at 8 p.m. and admission is free. For more information, call 548-7404.