COLLEGE OF THE CANYONS : World Festival Grows to 26 Events

Dances, lectures, slide shows and exhibits from around the world will be featured beginning Monday at the 12th annual World Culture Festival at College of the Canyons.

The festival, which will continue through March 22, is free to the public.

Foreign languages teacher Elfi Hummel has organized the event since it began as a 35-minute film presentation. The festival has grown to 26 events this year.

"With all the different cultures in the area, it is important that we understand each other better and respect each other's culture," Hummel told the campus newspaper.

Most daytime events are slide lectures or slide videos that cover such topics as Buddhism for Americans, the culture of Africa through the arts, and rain forests of Costa Rica.

In the evenings, dancing and music will include a performance by the Los Angeles Chinese Folk Ensemble, a Russian-Ukrainian village festival and various other events.

Joseph Lanthier, the audiovisual technician who helps set up the festival, called the night shows "unbelievable."

"But there's not enough of an audience," Lanthier said. "There's so much to learn from the dances if you see them."

Although the majority of the performers come from off campus, some presentations feature faculty members.

Spanish instructor Don Hellrigel has been involved in the festival for several years. His lecture, "Diving in the Caribbean . . . the Deep," includes slides of a 365-foot Greek freighter off Barbados.

In the past, faculty member Joan Waller, a child development specialist, has participated as a folk dancer in the festival. But this year, she will give a slide presentation about her trip to the Philippines as a member of the group Beyond War.

"I think those who come will get a picture of the Philippines today from the historical and political background of yesterday," Waller said.

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