Global Connections in Southern Minnesota

Performing – “The Splendid Asia” Show
Date: Oct. 9th, 2014, 7:30 pm

The Iny Asian Dance Theater, led by internationally renowned Hmong artist Iny Mai Vang,will perform a 90-minute dance drama with 40 of their dancers the evening of Oct. 10th as part of the Global Connections Conference. The group, based out of the Twin Cities, specializes in in Asian dance and storytelling using Hmong, Chinese, Mongolian, Thai and Bollywood dance styles. The goal of the Iny Asian Dance Theater is to broaden the public’s appreciation of Asian dances through teaching and performance. Tickets will be sold for the evening performance.

Asia is rich in ethnic diversity. There are splendid and colorful varieties in music, dance, costumes, and celebrations among different ethnic groups.  The performance will share with you various Asian heritages with beautiful and joyous music, and energetic/high-spirited dances. Before we launch a series of Asian dances highlighting different regions, we like to welcome everyone from all over the world to participate at this Conference. Although we have participants come from the 5 continents, but we are all connected to one another through one world's Ocean together.  To celebrate this connectedness, We like to open up the performance with the Ocean Wave dance.

Opening Dance - Dance # 1 Ocean Dance

A. Central Asia – Silk Road Region

B. East Asia – China and its ethnic groups

C.  North Asia - Mongolia

D. South Asia - India

E. Southeast Asia - Thailand

Closing Dance # 16 - Colorful Ribbon Dance


Hosting the “ Hmong Wearable Folk Arts” Exhibition
Date: August 1st – Oct. 30th, 2014

Hmong Wearable Folk Arts Multimedia Project is a presentation that incorporates a lecture/discussion and an exhibition highlighting the changes of traditional Hmong clothing to the modern Hmong stage outfits used in Hmong dances. Designed as a traveling exhibition that will showcase throughout Minnesota, make sure to keep your eyes and ears opened!

Today Hmong people live in many different places. Some still live in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand but many other Hmong people reside in Canada, France, Australia, and the US. Having the Hmong people live in separate parts of the world, each Hmong group developed its own unique dialect in addition to the two traditional dialects (White Hmong and Green Hmong).

There are many different dialects of Hmong. Two of the most widely spoken dialects are White Hmong and Green Hmong. Each dialect is special not only because of its’ linguistic differences but also with its traditional clothing differences. In the traditional Hmong clothing, color variation and style of traditional Hmong clothing originally told other Hmong people about their dialect and where they came from. For example Hmong women who spoke the Green dialect traditionally wore a pleated batik (type of fabric using a wax-resisting dye technique) skirt while Hmong women who spoke the White dialect wore a white pleated skirt. Not only that, but Hmong men who spoke the Green dialect wore a traditional shirt that had a higher cut, exposing their abdomen. Another example would be the Flower Hmong women who have a much more intricate traditional Hmong clothing stitched with many different colors from red, pink, orange, yellow, and blue onto their skirt. Talk about explosion of colors!

Considering the fact that the Hmong people did not start out with a written language, they resulted to using symbols/geometric shapes to communicate. They then incorporated the symbols into their embroidery, which includes story cloths and traditional clothing. Most popularly found on both story cloths and traditional clothing are the multiple triangles used as a boarder. These triangles are not your normal triangles. They actually symbolize “mountains”, a geographical marker that the Hmong people used many times as a shelter and also as a place to call home during war-torn times.

As time passed, traditional Hmong clothing also changed. Traditionally made by hand to display the workmanship and skills of a Hmong girl, more and more Hmong clothing is now made by machine and is becoming more modern in fashion. Instead of adhering to the original reasons of wearing Hmong clothing to denote one’s dialect and region, many Hmong people now mix and match whatever they think as fashionable.
Hmong clothing has become even more modern as Hmong dances start designing their own costumes. Iny Asian Dance Theater (IADT), a well-known dance troupe based in Minneapolis Minnesota makes all of their costumes by hand. Not only that, but Iny Xiong, choreographer and also lead designer for IADT, proudly draws from her Hmong heritage, incorporating symbols from traditional Hmong clothing and jewelry into the dance costumes.   We invite you to join us by coming/learning about the ways that traditional Hmong costume has transformed throughout the years.