Thursday, July 2, 2009
With subjects like drum, dance, singing, art, writing, poetry, filmmaking and general creativity and inspiration, the workshops – led by performers who unleash their talents Saturday – are the core of the 2009 Esalen International Arts Festival. Six workshops occur throughout the three-day event.
Saturday’s extensive lineup features 9-year old Athira Pratap, a Bharatanatyan Indian dance prodigy who “manifests the ancient idea of the celebration of the eternal universe through the beauty of the material body.” A cappella group SoVoSo will also perform, as will Zimbabwe natives Bongo Love and Trinidadian Asheba, who blends reggae calypso and neo-folk. The crown coup of Saturday’s performances, however, is Woo Ri Sa Wi, a group of shamanic cultural dancers and drummers from South Korea who have never played outside of their country.
“We had to get a Korean translator to book [Woo Ri Sa Wi],” says event founder and coordinator Jayson Fann. “They symbolize what the festival is all about – diversity.”
Other acts include Puerto Rican folk dancers La Mixta Criolla, the Brazilian drum beats of Cida Viera and the Sambahemians, and Brazilian dancer Claudia Villela. All told, Esalen will host artists from Africa, North America, the Caribbean, South America and Asia.
“This event is a moment in time where people from all over the world gather and celebrate our collective culture,” Fann says. “Everything we do is connected, our understanding, awareness and consciousness, and this festival was created to celebrate our humanity with music, dance and art.”
THE ESALEN INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL takes place Friday-Sunday, July 3-5; the performances are from 2-10pm July 4. Esalen is located 12 miles south of Big Sur on Highway 1. Tickets are free for age 8 and under; $25/age 9-16, $45/age 17+; see website for workshop prices, www.esalen.org