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Out & About in Cleveland

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The Cleveland-Bratislava Sister Cities Meeting

Our second event for October 13th, was the monthly meeting of the Cleveland-Bratislava Sister Cities organization at the Garfield Heights Library. This month's speaker was Mr. Tom Ivanec who is the founder of the Lucina Slovak Folklore Ensemble who divided his presentation between Slovak Folk Dancing, in general, and Lucina. We have gone to several Slovak festivals over the last several years and really enjoy watching the dancing so this was of interest to us.

Tonight we learned certain facts such as folk dancing used to be an important part of village life and such events as a birth, good harvest, or wedding were celebrated by dancing but it was also certainly done at festivals and holidays. Today folk dancing is recognized as an art form and there are more than 100 dedicated troupes performing in Slovakia today at annual festivals.

Mr. Ivanec initiated the Lucina Slovak Folk Ensemble in 1981 and it has performed in over 275 program for various groups including international festivals, church functions, charitable events and weddings. It has also performed in Europe on several occasions. In November of 1996 it held its first Slovak Tri-Concert which helps to showcase other Slovak Ensembles in the United States and Canada while promoting cooperation and friendship with other groups.

In 2006 the Lucina Children's Ensemble was created and we were happy that Johnny Allen-McIntyre and his family were there to share with us tonight. Johnny is about 12 years old and has been dancing for 6 years. He likes dancing because it is "fun and challenging" and his mother said that she, and the rest of the family, were very proud of Johnny's accomplishments. Dancing has been good for Johnny because he and his fellow dancers bond and support each other. What's more, through Johnny's involvement, his mother said that a lot of her Slovakian heritage has come back into her life.

Tonight we also got to meet Martin and Daniela who are a very nice couple who are visiting from Bratislava, Slovakia. We exchange contact information and they might refer us to someone who might need our services. We also learned of two upcoming events that we certainly want to attend which were the 73rd Annual Dinner Dance of the American Slovak Zemplin Social Club in Lakewood this Sunday and "An Evening in the Heart of Europe" coming up in early November in Parma where Johnny will be dancing as well as a couple of other groups.

We certainly don't want to miss that one!

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