Posts Tagged With: Kistakuz

On the road

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jqDDePiLiI

Here is the hip hop dance in its entirety.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV9kzrwpyzk

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fieLMvfTwtU

Here is the abbreviated version of Farzona’s solo. Please let me know if you were not able to access this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sg8ML3-Vwg

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__2R2ZvtQTA

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Oops, forgot photo of the Kistakuz tea house from outside

The tea house at Kistakuz, Tajikistan, unfinished.

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Kistakuz Tea House

A sample of the wood carving on the columns.

KISTAKUZ TEA HOUSE

The dome of the Kistakuz tea house, near Khujand.

Kistakuz, not far from Khujand, is the home of a traditional tea house, financed by the president of Tajikistan. Construction began in 2010 and it is not yet finished. David and I got a tour of it on March 10. Walking into the main room, you feel like you have entered a cathedral or large mosque. The one large dome is supported by hand-carved wooden posts. The above photo was taken by David Sears.

Behind the tea house, workers are continuing the hand carving on columns. Women and men work in separate rooms because they are “more comfortable,” according to the man who was showing us around. I can deal with that. But, I was not happy when I heard that the women earned $200 a month and the men receive $500 a month – for essentially the same work. Because, we were told, the men are more experienced and work faster. The men are not older than the women, but still they might be more experienced. But 150% more experienced?

A woodcarver at the Kistakuz tea house listens to music on his computer as he works. He and his male colleagues earn $500 a month, 150% more than the women workers, according to our guide.

Women working as wood carvers for the Kistakuz teahouse earn $200 a month, daily lunch and transportation to and from work, according to our guide.

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