The AUB Folk Dance Festival Resumes with Unchanged Vigor and Style
|Students performing the Lebanese dabke
After a forced two-year suspension, the annual AUB Folk Dance Festival returned this year when several groups of dancers in colorful costumes performed in harmony to folk music on the Green Field in the late sunny afternoon of May 10.
This year students from 16 schools from all over Lebanon performed folk dances from diverse countries such as Lebanon, Armenia, Russia, the United States, Mexico, Bulgaria, Spain, Columbia, Croatia, the Netherlands, Scotland, Jordan, and Italy in the 35th Annual Folk Dance Festival.
At the opening of the festival, AUB President Peter Dorman reminisced about his childhood days when he and his family eagerly awaited the festival. “As a boy growing up in Beirut in the 1950’s, I remember the colorful swirl of national costumes that enlivened the Green Field every spring, as well as my father, Harry G. Dorman, Jr., who made a specialty of “calling” the American square dance numbers every year—and always wore a bright red shirt for the occasion,” said President Dorman.
Lamia Husseini, administrative officer in the Office of the Provost and coordinator of the Folk Dance Festival Committee, said that she was “very happy that the festival [was] revived and was a success despite the obstacles… and . . . happy that so many schools participated despite the fact that the festival [had been] frozen for two years…the turn-out [was] great.” Husseini has been an active member of the Folk Dance Festival Committee since 1995, the year she joined as a volunteer. In 1997 she became an official member of the committee.
Dean of Student Affairs Maroun Kisirwani, chair of the Folk Dance Festival Committee, mentioned in his welcoming note that the event has become a “University tradition that brings schools on campus in a gathering to emphasize the good things in our educational life and our cultural diversity.”
“If it were not for the enthusiasm and optimism of the participating dance groups and their choreographers the Folk Dance Festival would not have been possible. I thank all who participated in the making of this event for all their efforts. There are too many people involved to name individually but special mention must go to the Folk Dance Festival Committee, the costume makers, and, of course, the dancers and choreographers,” he added.
Interest in folk dancing at AUB started in 1942 when separate performances were held in West Hall. The AUB Folk Dance Festival officially started in 1951 and was held annually until 1973 when it was suspended because of the Lebanese civil war. The festival resumed in 1995, but was canceled in 2007 and 2008 due to security skirmishes in Lebanon.