On the Road
Tajik university students performed The First Thanksgiving and Cinderella, sang American pop songs and danced to hip hop music to standing room only crowds of public school children around the Sugd District in March and early April.
Our friend Dildora Toshmatova taught a class on American Culture and Folklore at Khujand State University, Faculty of Foreign Languages, and the students prepared skits, musical numbers and audience participation activities that they took on the road. The class and theater production was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Khujand, the second largest city in the country, is the largest city in the northern district, the Sugd District.
Dildora developed her interest in US folk traditions and culture when she was able to study for a semester at Penn State Harrisburg on a US grant for “junior teachers” at Tajik universities.
The 90-minute production included two skits (The First Thanksgiving and Cinderella) as well as a performance of a medley of pop songs, a hip hop dance number, poetry recitations, and games and quizzes for the audience to participate in. Below you will find a video of the highlights, as well as the complete performances of the two musical numbers.
The students took the show on the road, performing at five schools in the area on Saturdays in March and April. Saturday is a regular school day in Tajikistan. The schools are comprehensive – elementary through high school. They included:
- March 3 — Rumon Village, B. Gafurov District, School No. 26
- March 10 – Kistakuz Village, B. Gafurov District, School No. 5
- March 17 – Kairakum School No. 1
- March 31 – Patar Village, Kanibadam District, School No. 20
- April 7 – Khujand School No. 24
In addition, the students gave a command performance to their teachers, deans and peers at Khujand State University on April 11, at which time they were given their certificates for completing the class and also the special gift of having the final exam for that class waived.
David and I were able to attend the performances in Kistakuz and Patar Village, and the photos and videos are from those performances. I was also able to be at the performance at the university.
Here is the highlight video of the performance.
Here is the hip hop dance in its entirety.
Here is Farzona’s solo in its entirety. This video may be blocked in the US and other countries because of copyright. An abbreviated version is below. Please let me know if you were able to access this video in the US.
Here is the abbreviated version of Farzona’s solo. Please let me know if you were not able to access this video.
And last, here are some random photos and moments that I wanted to share in Before, During and After. The music is Joe Deranne’s Reel performed by De Dannan.