Kaleidoscope of cultures

Summer program teaches children about Irish, African traditions

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— As part of the Kaleidoscope Program, 7-year-old Libby Luk--ens performed in a play last year about a "selchie," which is a seal that turns into a person.

"The play was about this seal that got locked up on the beach, so then a sea monster tried to get it," Libby said. "So it turned into a human."

The Kaleidoscope Program is part of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council's Summer Arts Immersion Program and has two, four-week camps. One camp is based on an Irish tale, and the other is based on an African tale.

The program is designed for children ages 6 to 12. They create arts and crafts, sing, act, dance, play music and put on a performance at the end of the program. This year, the children will perform at Art in the Park and at the Steamboat Mountain Theater.

Libby is returning this summer because she had so much fun last year. "We got to sing really funny music and got to play instruments and stuff," Libby said. "You make so many friends, and it's really funny and fun."

Nora Parker will lead the Irish camp and teach traditional Irish ceili dancing while Gary Burman plays the bagpipes. Burman will teach the children how to play penny whistles and mini badhrans, which are Irish drums.

The Irish focused camp will be centered on one of the legends from the Fianna, which is the Irish version of the Knights of the Roundtable. For the play, the children will make all of their costumes, props and the set, Parker said. "They are their own little theater company for a few weeks."

Robin Getter will lead the African camp that is based on a legend from West Africa, which will include morals.

"The morals are usually about being a good citizen and respecting elders and nature," Getter said. "There are open-ended moral statements in the African culture, which is neat because the kids can interpret it themselves."

Her favorite part of the camp is watching the process and the creativity that's involved through the completion of the final production, Getter said. "We give them a lot of creative freedom to express themselves through the style of the art forms."

The camps is at the Lowell Whiteman Primary School on Monday through Thursday from June 19 to July 13. The cost is $450 a child per camp, but there are some scholarships available. Call Getter at 291-9526, or register at the Depot Art Center.

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