Kids learn heritage through dance


Liz DeCarlo


Inspired by a middle school’s cultural days, a group of Darien parents borrowed a video from the library on Philippine dancing and decided to teach their kids the dance of their homeland.

From that video the Samahang Kapatid-Filipino-American Youth Show group was born. This year the children will perform at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World to introduce other children to their culture. They have also performed at Navy Pier’s Winterfest and numerous out-of-state multicultural festivals.

The dances range from simple steps for the younger children to elaborate dances with lit candles on the older children’s foreheads. "Some of the dances are very athletic," says Michelle Delson, whose three children perform in the troupe. "Mikayla (11) does a dance on a bench four feet off the ground."

The children meet on Saturdays to work on the dances and learn about Philippine culture. "They learn a lot of heritage that I never learned," says Delson, whose parents came from the Philippines. "I’m learning along with them."

The children, who range in age from 3 to 18, have proven themselves to be consummate professionals. This summer when they danced barefoot on a black stage during a Chicago festival, the children danced despite burning feet. "They just know how to please a crowd," Delson says.

To see where the group is performing or for information on joining the troupe, e-mail [email protected]



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