What a scene to walk into on Sunday afternoon, October 18, 2015!
The International Lawn in charming Balboa Park is vivid with colors, laughs, snippets of songs, rhythmical steps of dances, and chatting audience in expectation. Everyone is ready for the Czech and Slovak program presenting a sample of its rich culture.
Children in adorable Eastern European costumes are running around the stage, a little violin under the arm of one, a recorder in a pocket of the other; a boy passes by with a beautifully rendered wooden sun in his hand; a group of about twelve year old girls walk by and you have to turn your head and watch – each has a thick ponytail secured by a long colorful ribbon, red skirts with yellow stitching near the hem is complemented with white in many colors embroidered blouses, red lipstick, wide smiles for a picture adorable! They are having a fabulous time harvesting admirable looks in the cozy national cottages they are touring. Right behind them must be their mothers. They walk proudly, they talk fast and they laugh easily. Their elaborate colorful costumes boast folded skirts in different colors, white embroidered shirt and richly decorated vest, pearl necklaces… it deserves a photo! And before you know it a photographer start snapping his camera and the mothers start posing, dancing, jumping in the air, hands up, legs elegantly bent at the knees, they are high up and their skirts create a rainbow of colors. They are surely enjoying the attention and are ready to show us what they know.
And they do show us, singing a capela with urgency easily quieting down the chatter in the audience. Next they dance. The pieces are beautifully choreographed, presented with joy, precise steps and contagious energy.
And their children? You catch them singing, reciting, dancing and acting with enthusiasm and the air of diligence to do well, oblivious to their stage fright once they reap the first applause. And the girls in the red skirts are just adorable in a choreography showing the beauty of movements, steps, formations and mainly the spontaneous joy to perform together. And you would be surprised to know that this group of girls, except one, are American twelve year old with no Eastern European heritage…they just wanted to try what it takes to learn something far from their radius of familiarity. They easily pass for Czech beauties and we celebrate their inspiration. And so it all made for a beautiful day for us, performers.
We meet in our spare time to share our love for the culture we grew up with. We are humbled by the interest of the international and especially American audience for which we love to perform. Not only they clap with vigor to what we, amateurs, have to offer, but they make us eternally welcome in our adventures in this intriguing part of the world.