Follow the Footprints

An ethno-contemporary choreography infused with Central Asian and Balkan dance styles, inspired by the struggle of nomadic peoples to keep their traditional lifestyle and self-identity.

Choreographer: Wan-Chao Chang

Strumica, by Stellamara, from The Seven Valleys
Azade, by Stellamara, from The Golden Thread

Costume: Wan-Chao Chang

Inspired by documentary about nomad's struggle worldwide, and Wolf Totem, a novel written by Jiang Rong, tells the story of nomadic peoples and their struggle to keep their traditions alive while maintaining their lifestyle and identity. Follow the Footprints is the nomad's call to their ancestors and Mother Earth to keep their land alive and give them the strength to survive. The piece draws on movements from Central Asian, Balkan, and Roma (gypsy) dance forms.

It is said that the nomadic way of life is the most sustainable lifestyle for our planet and environment. Sadly, this practice has been threatened as a result of urbanization and industrialization which has caused the majority of the world's population to transition to sedentism. The rapid developments in globalization and exhausted natural resources has forced many nomads out of their traditional lifestyles. Nomads are disappearing from the once fertile lands they populated due to environmental degradation and natural disasters. Green forests and grasslands are turning to dust and once vast lakes are drying up into deserts. As rural environments are threatened, so are the lifestyles, cultures and identity of the people that inhabit them, the nomads.

Follow the Footprints is an ethno-contemporary piece, developed from dance forms found across the Central Asian Steppes to the Balkans where some nomadic peoples still exist today.

32th San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
June 26, 2010
Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA, USA

Wan-Chao Chang, Emelie Mahdavian, Kompiang Metri-Davies, Aliah Najmabadi, Tara Catherine Pandeya, Jade Raybin, Nadia Roan, Hannah Romanowsky, Kristen Sague

Musicians (Stellamara)
Sonja Drakulich (vocals/percussion), Gary Hegedus (divan saz/baglama), Pourya Khademi (volin), Faisal Zedan (darbuka/riqq)

Lighting: Patty-Ann Farrell