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Folkmoot returning to Bryson City Tuesday

Four dance troupes to perform
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North Carolina’s International Folk Festival Folkmoot returns to the region for the 33rd annual event Friday, July 21-Sunday, July 21. 

The cross-cultural event will be in Swain County on Tuesday, July 26 with four groups performing for the first time! This year’s dance troupes coming to town are from US Mexico, Poland, France and Peru.

On Tuesday, events begin at 9 a.m. for the Ambassador’s Day in Cherokeee with all groups and will go to 4 p.m. The main event will be at 7 p.m. at the Swain County Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $16 for adults and children 12 and under are free. 

Named by USA Today as one of the Top 20 Festivals in North Carolina, Folkmoot is a 10-day event featuring more than 250 international performers from ten countries with performances in 11 Western North Carolina communities: Waynesville, Clyde, Lake Junaluska, Maggie Valley, Canton, Bryson City, Cherokee, Franklin, Hickory, Asheville and Hendersonville.

Folkmoot, literally defined as a “meeting of the people” presents fun, educational programs based on cultural exchange that are designed to build global relationships, foster cultural understanding and develop community prosperity.

Tickets are on sale for all performances and can be purchased on the Folkmoot website folkmootusa.org, in person at the Folkmoot Center, or by calling 828-452-2997.  


US Mexico

A “South of the Border” flavor will add familiar spice to Folkmoot 2016: Mexican dance from Texas!

The Ballet Folklorico South Texas College is sure to be a big hit with festivalgoers.

The group was formed in spring of 2012 by the Center for Mexican American Studies at STC with the mission to promote the fine arts and culture of Mexico. Find the group on Facebook.

Thirty talented dance members and two musicians from the Ballet will be performing at Folkmoot this year. The group has been under the leadership of Victor Gomez, Assistant Professor of History at South Texas College.

Folklorico has performed at festivals in Texas including Tejano Monument Parade and Fiestas Patrias in Austin, which were internationally televised. They have also performed at the Carnaval Latino and Desfile de las Americas in New Orleans. Every February the Ballet hosts an event series, Tradiciones, at South Texas College and they have been invited to perform this concert series in Guanajuato, Mexico City, Houston, and San Antonio.

Dance has been a huge part of Mexican culture through celebrations of religious faith, coming-of-age parties and agricultural events. Mexican folk performances are known not only for their rhythmic movement but also for the beautiful array of colors found on the costumes.



The Song and Dance Ensemble of Warsaw University of Technology is the talented group that will be representing Poland at Folkmoot 2016.

The group was formed in 1951 and continuously for 65 years – through serious societal turmoil and political upheaval – has been showing off the folk dancing talents of Poland to millions of audience members across the world.

The group includes six musicians, a 16-member choir and 13 dancers. It has garnered numerous national and international awards including the Herder Folk Art European Award, the Golden Cross of Merits, the Award of the Minister of Culture and Art and the Polonia Society Medal.

The troupe performs dances and compositions from different regions throughout Poland, which describe the life of pre-war Lviv and of old Warsaw. The members are passionate about their culture, and their hope is to make people fall in love with Polish folklore.

You can find the ensemble on Facebook.

Poland is a country in Central Europe with beautiful mountain ranges, seaside dunes and lake districts. It was one of the first countries to mount an independence movement from the Soviet Union and created what many view as Central Europe’s great post- communist success story. Polish people are known to treat visitors with generosity and are welcoming of international guests. Poland has also become in the 21st Century a technology hub of Central Europe. 



We just might hear the exhortations during Folkmoot 2016: viva la France! Viva la danse folklorique!

One of the best known (and beloved) folk dance troupes in the world, Lo Gerbo Baudo, will be a featured performer in this year’s festival and with them come the deepest roots of international folk dance festival history.

France held its first folklife festival in Confolens in 1958 and two years later, Lo Gerbo Baudo was formed. Today, you can find them on Facebook.

This group of passionate artists has done its best to revive French culture through dance, music and costumes.

Through hard work and research, the group has managed to restore costumes from the 18th -20th century. The women’s costumes consist of linen or straw hats, hemp shirts, skirts and aprons. The men wear straw or woolen caps, velvet pants and gaiters.  The more festive attire includes dresses and stockings for the ladies, and white shirts, vests and trousers for the gentlemen.

The orchestra practices traditional French music with the bowed string, bag pipes, chabreta, cabreta and accordion. Through dance, Lo Gerbo Baudo shows traditions of marriage, carnival and the work of everyday life.

Confolens is the home of one of the most prominent among CIOFF® (International Council of Folk Festivals and Traditional Arts) International Festivals, “Festival de Confolens,” which is today in its 59th year.  The founder of CIOFF® was the late Henri Coursaget, who was also the founder and director of Festival de Confolens.  

Lo Gerbo Baudo was started in 1960 to represent Confolens and its festival and continues today to honor the memory of Coursaget.  The group has performed in over 25 countries worldwide, including participation in a great number of CIOFF® International Festivals.



Dancing Folkmoot 2016 will be Peru Multicolor from Lima, the capital city of the Republic of Peru.

Peru Multicolor was founded in February 1999, hoping to revive and promote the culture of Peru through traditional dance and music on both a national and international level. 

The ensemble will bring 20 musicians and dancers with styles representing the customs of regions throughout all Peru. 

They have participated in events in Ecuador, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Switzerland, Algeria, Germany, England, United Arab Emirates, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Please visit the Facebook page of Peru Mulitcolor to learn more about the group’s most recent adventures.

Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia in South America. Before the arrival of the Spanish Empire, which invaded the region in the 16th century, the only instruments in Peru were wind and percussion. Because of the Spanish Conquista, many of the Peruvian dances have Spanish flavors but the Folkmoot 2016 Peruvian dancers will add their own styles to make them unique.

Smoky Mountain Times

Mailing Address:
PO Box 730
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Bryson City, NC 28713 
Phone: 828-488-2189
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