Buenas yan Håfa Adai
Måtso / Umatalaf was successful, Imåhen was tinane’ (busy)! This is one of our busiest months for performances. Måtso is also mes CHamoru (CHamoru Month).
Håfa Adai Cultural Arts Festival was Sunday, March 4th at Balboa Park. Imåhen joined House of CHamorros to present our pre-contact era and Spanish dance segments. Despite the early rain (uchan), gof bonito na ha’ani.
The next weekend many Imåhen dancers traveled to Tempe, Arizona. This was our second opportunity to share our culture at the Arizona Aloha Fest. The event was huge with many vendors, stages for performances, representation from multiple islands, and the crowd was dångkolo’! The positive vibes from the festival were heartwarming.
The event we look forward to is Che’lu’s CHamorro Festival. It was a great way to end the month. Thanks to the Guam Visitors Bureau, the Master of CHamoru Dance Frank Rabon and his team were able to be a part of the 10th Annual Chamorro Fest. The theme was Ta-Selebra I Taotao Islas Marianas – Celebrating the People of the Mariana Islands.
An essential connection that makes several dancers from multiple groups come together to perform as one is being able to have a set of basic dance step standards. Uncle Frank, through research and communication with elders has established these standards. Thirty-seven years later, he continues to teach and share his knowledge of the CHamoru culture. His trips to the states consist of dance workshops. During these workshops, he spends time to practice and teach the set of standards to maintain continuity. All the guma’s are provided these resources to strengthen the recognition for CHamoru dance. There are guma’s all over the world, including but not limited to, Guam, CNMI, Japan and here in the US.
Uncle Frank also held a leadership workshop to share the journey required to be recognized as a Fa’fa’någue. A fa’fa’någue (teacher) is a certified cultural practitioner recognized by Guam Legislature (Lihesolaturan Guahan) and Tribal Council. The fa’fa’någue title has meanings deeper than just the definition of teacher.
Uncle Frank coordinated the opening and closing ceremonies for the festival. As always, I get fugu (chills) seeing the CHamoru people stand together to sing/chant (kanta/lalai) the bendishun (blessing). The beauty in being able to do that with many different participants from five different groups is amazing.
Five different Gumas/groups performed based out of San Diego, Long Beach, and Washington state. It was a long and maipe (hot) day. It definitely was worth all the effort put into preparing for such an event. Biba CHamoru!