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A Cultural Excursion Around the World

Armchair travelers who don’t mind a short excursion may want to check out the World Cultural Festival continuing this week at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. The trip could be well worth the effort.

The festival is in its 12th year and presents two basic types of programs: lectures, often with videotape or slides, and dance performances. The price is right; all events are free.

“We get both kinds of people, those who have traveled extensively and those who haven’t but are interested in the world,” said Elfi Hummel, principal organizer of the festival and a language teacher at the college. “Every year we have a theme, and this time it’s Eastern Europe because of all the changes there. Several of the programs are on that area of the world.”

Even more timely are two programs on the Middle East by Alaire Hutchins, a Canyon Country resident who spent 10 years in Saudi Arabia, where her husband worked for Northrop Corp.

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“I brought back quite a lot of costumes,” said Hutchins, who has presented her programs to civic groups. “At the fashion show, we’ll have 30 costumes modeled by students, both girls and boys. Some of the costumes are Bedouin dresses and some are more modern things.”

The fashion show takes place at 8 p.m. Thursday. Hutchins’ slide lecture on the development of Saudi Arabia will be presented at noon Tuesday.

Hummel, an inveterate traveler, finds her lecturers among other travelers who attend the festival and among fellow teachers. A folk dance enthusiast, Hummel recruits dance groups at festivals she attends.

“I have traveled since I was 16,” the native of Vienna said. “Every summer I go on a new expedition.”

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This year, she will visit the Maldive Islands, Ceylon and Sri Lanka. Often her destinations are sites of political turmoil.

“One cannot wait until there are no problems,” she said. “If one gets a visa, one goes.”

The festival, which started last week, features:

Today: “Japan, a Language and Culture Experience,” slide lecture by Bill Baker at noon in the Student Theater.

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“The Partisans of Lithuania, Ghetto in Flames,” video lecture by Hummel at 5 p.m. in Room I-307.

The Portuguese Dance Ensemble at 8 p.m. in the college cafeteria.

Monday: “Beyond War in the Philippines,” slide lecture by Joan Waller at noon in the Student Theater.

“An Expedition Through the Amazonia: Jivaro!” slide lecture by Hummel at 5 p.m. in Room I-307.

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The Naughty Pine Cloggers & Stoney Creek Blue Grass Band, at 8 p.m. in cafeteria.

Tuesday: “The Islam,” slide lecture by Alaire Hutchins at noon in the Student Theater.

“Folklore of Hungary & Romania,” featuring the Gypsy Folk Dance Ensemble, at 8 p.m. in the cafeteria.

Wednesday: “Rain Forests of Costa Rica,” slide and video lecture by Jim Dole and Betty Rose at noon in the Student Theater.

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The VASA Dance Ensemble from Sweden at 8 p.m. in the cafeteria.

Thursday: “Diving in the Caribbean,” slide lecture by Don Hellrigel at noon in the Student Theater.

“The Fall of the Berlin Wall,” video lecture by Hummel at 5 p.m. in Room I-307.

Fashion show, music and slides from Saudi Arabia at 8 p.m. in the cafeteria.

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March 22: “The Love Boat,” slide-lecture by Brad Reynolds at noon in the Student Theater.

From the Bulgarian Mountains, the Koroyar Dance Ensemble at 8 p.m. in the cafeteria.

World Cultural Festival at College of the Canyons, 26455 N. Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita. Information: (805) 259-7800.


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