Those looking for an international experience this week need only stop by South Jackson Civic Center.
On Tuesday, the stage at South Jackson will be the home of several dancing troupes from around the world for the center’s International FolkFest.
Coordinated by Peggy Burton, the festival offers local residents the opportunity to see the world in the comfort of their own home, so to speak.
Burton said she wanted to bring the festival to South Jackson because she feels the “international exchange of culture, especially through the arts” is an important aspect of the human experience.
“I think it’s the one venue where people can communicate through music and dance without having to speak the language,” she said.
Burton said she got in touch with the International Folklore Society in Murfreesboro, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote and preserve international cultural heritage, to help her bring the experience to the South Jackson stage.
“Their history mission was to promote international culture by physically bringing those people to the United States,” she said, and she felt that the community could benefit from the tradition and culture exchange.
Burton once toured with the group in Europe, and the experiences she lived were life-changing, she said.
“I was so struck by that [experience], to watch people of all age groups and abilities having such a great time,” she said of her time abroad. “It just touched my heart.”
Because she was so moved by the experience, Burton said she wanted to bring the culture to Tullahoma and see if there were others interested in learning about international dance just as she was.
Burton said Tuesday’s event will feature “traditional dances of their era” for each of the international groups that visit. “It won’t be a tap dance, it’s going to be folk dancers.”
The confirmed groups include dancers from Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and a hometown clogging group.
Each group will present a traditional dance from their home country, one that represents the history and culture of their regions, Burton said.
The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, at South Jackson Civic Center. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased online at www.southjackson.org.
Erin McCullough may be reached at email@example.com.