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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Tucson meets itself, again”

    Tucsonans shop at a row of tents during this weekends annual Tucson Meet Yourself festival.  The festival is held every year at Presidio Park in downtown Tucson.
    Tucsonans shop at a row of tents during this weekend’s annual Tucson Meet Yourself festival. The festival is held every year at Presidio Park in downtown Tucson.

    The UA Filipino-American Student Association showcased its dancing skills before a large crowd Friday night at the 34th annual Tucson Meet Yourself festival.

    The event, held at El Presidio Park, 160 W. Alameda St., was a chance for different ethnic groups in Tucson to display their traditional food, dance and folk art.

    More than 50 nationalities participated in the three-day event and an estimated 50,000 people made their way through the maze of food vendors, artisans and stages, said festival director Daniel Forrest. From harpists and guitarists to trashcan drummers, the talent came out full-force in the weekend-long event.

    FASA participated in the event for the first time this year to “”build connections with clubs and the community,”” said FASA President Mathew Schubach, a molecular and cellular biology senior. The group promotes awareness and understanding of Filipino culture through dance and events like the Friendship games and the annual FASA Fiesta.

    Schubach, along with other members, performed a Muslim-inspired dance called Singkil. The dance tells the story of a princess lost in the woods who is rescued by a prince and involves the use of props that symbolize different elements of the forest.

    “”The bamboo sticks represent the trees and vines of the forest and the fanners are the wind,”” said Richtress Orteza, a public health senior and FASAchoreographer.

    In the dance, performers must move their feet skillfully in and out of four pounding bamboo poles without getting their feet caught in between.

    “”The poles move slowly enough that you don’t get your feet caught,”” said Schubach. “”Even if you do, it does not hurt.””

    Members said they were happy with the performance after learning the dance only three weeks ago.

    “”It went well, better than expected,”” Orteza said. “”This is one of the biggest crowds we have performed for.””

    Other performers said they were nervous on stage, but tried to keep their nerves under control.

    “”It was really a rush on stage but we had to be serious the whole time,”” Schubach said. “”Inside, we were really excited.””

    The Filipino-American Sampaguita Club, or FASCOT, also performed a candle dance called pandango-sa-ilaw. The dance involves balancing lighted candles atop the head and then swinging them in scarves.

    “”My favorite part was putting the candles on my head,”” said Joey Havey, a FASCOT dancer.

    Nenenj Fassler, FASCOT program coordinator and dance teacher, said she was impressed with all the different regions and generations of dance represented at the festival.

    “”We are presenting our country hoping people will see that we can all be different, but we are all still one,”” she said.

    The mission of the event was to present the living traditions of Tucson as accurately as possible so people could discover the similarities and differences within the community. Forrest said he describes the event in three words: “”beauty, community and fun.””

    “”There is great food, great dance and a lot of fun,”” Forrest said. “”There are just a lot of beautiful moments.””

    FASA will be performing Wednesday on the UA Mall at the Wildcat World Fair.

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