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Dancer with maskGamelan Sekar Jaya gave a wonderful 45 minute introduction to the dances and music of Bali this morning for 253 local youth. The program opened with a welcome dance that was gentle and graceful. A close connection between the occasional fluttering, quick movements of the dancer and the rhythm of musicians could be seen and felt. As the show progressed, the movements became more dynamic, especially with the masked dance which caused a great commotion among the elementary school students. The character of the masked dancer was played out so well that it stirred the kids even though they knew who was behind the mask.

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Hard to believe its been 2 weeks since our first annual Wine, Women & Song extravaganza and I am thrilled that everything went almost exactly as planned, including reaching our ambitious fundraising goal!  Although its not easy to anticipate everything that will happen when an event finally comes to fruition for the first time, I was grateful that so many people in the Rhythmix community really pulled together to help make this event happen. The outpouring of support from all directions was extremely encouraging and validating.  AND, having the moving gears from our 4th of July float re-mounted on the edge of the roof was a spectacular outdoor attraction. To everyone’s surprise, the gears even turned in key to Tracy’s Blackman’s songs during the pre-show reception.  

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Hi, I’m Phong, RCW’s new social media intern. Recently, I took part in Alameda’s 4th of July parade with Rhythmix for the first time. It was exciting and fun to be able to experience and be a part of this enormous outpouring of energy and creativity. 

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Travelling beyond your home base can be rejuvenating and eye-opening for many reasons.  My recent trip to Vietnam and Cambodia made me realize that attracting audiences for cultural arts performances is a universal problem for artists and presenters.  My first night in Hanoi, I stumbled upon a performance of Ca tru music, an art form that was recognized as an intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding by UNESCO.  The artists explained to a small audience comprised mostly of westerners, that many people in Vietnam are not familiar with this style of music and they are struggling to keep the art form alive with weekly concerts to raise awareness and interest.  In Cambodia, I saw a beautiful performance of traditional Khmer folk dance and music with more than 20 performers but only 4 people in the audience to appreciate their show.  Entrancing music performed by stalwart landmine victims greeted visitors to the temples of Angkor Wat, yet most people didn’t even stop for a moment to acknowledge the musicians or enjoy the music for longer than the time it took to walk by. Immediately upon my return, our Island Arts celebration of Philippine Independence Day in collaboration with the American Center for Philippine Arts took place, featuring a range of delightful dance, music and calligraphy. Although there was a respectable turnout, almost half the seats were unoccupied.  As I reflect on the notion that preserving and presenting cultural arts is truly a global dilemma, I am inspired by the dedication of artists all over the world that continue to share their cultural heritage and artistic practices in spite of the challenges of finding an audience. Although I am extremely proud to promote world music and support local artists in the presentation of their work here at Rhythmix, I still wonder, was the theater half-full or half-empty?

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Our new tagline at Rhythmix is "Bringing the World to You" since we feature music and dance from around the world here on the island of Alameda. One thing about producing so many shows is that I don't have the opportunity to go out and hear as much music as I'd like in other venues.  How to solve this dilemma? I'm heading off to Vietnam and Cambodia tomorrow where I'm sure many magical music and spicy culinary adventures await...You may be hearing from our operations manager and intrepid traveller, Julianne Quimby while I'm away. Hẹn gặp lại sau!

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Getting ready for tonight's opening of the Unexpected Landscapes Exhibit featuring the work of two amazing local artists, Ginny Parsons and Jan Watten. Since Jan has to be at her own Gray Loft gallery exhibit opening for 2nd Fridays in Jingletown, we’re opening the Unexpected Landscapes exhibit tonight from 6-9pm.  Come on by and check out this beautiful show.   As Jan says: “These unexpected landscapes just pop up in her travels and surprise her with their simplicity and beauty".  

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Promises Promises

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Welcome to the RCW Behind-the-Scenes blog!

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