Sri Warisan performing a traditional dance. Photo credit: Elio Elia

The performing arts program hosted Sri Warisan Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) on Sept. 29 at one of the classroom theaters.

The performing arts group from Singapore executed traditional dances and explained the cultural and historical background behind the instruments and costumes.

The group then hosted a workshop involving the audience, teaching the students to perform the dances.

To cap off the event, group members gave the audience a chance to ask them any questions about the show. The group left to a standing ovation.

“I really liked the first dance, but the workshop was really interesting too,” said Rory Woodland, a performing arts student.

Fellow performing arts student Rebecca Macheri concurred. “It was fun,” she said. “The noises in the middle, the smiling, it just makes you happy.”

Sri Warisan won an award from the National Heritage Board for being “The Steward of Intangible Cultural Heritage” in 2020 for the same dances the group showed off in front of the Algonquin College students.

For performer Farrah Lindros Ewell, being able to display her culture in front the students gave her great pride.

“I think it was a lovely experience,” she said. “It’s not often that all of us are able to share our culture and our traditions.“

“Having an audience like the one here today is so amazing because they’re actually curious about us, and having a lot of passion for what we do. It makes us very proud to be a part of this culture.”

For performing arts coordinator Teri Loretto-Valentik, giving the performers a chance to show their artistic passion was more than just an educational lesson for her students.

“It is absolutely important to host events that display diverse cultures,” Loretto-Valentik said.

“If you look around the room, our students at Algonquin College, and in this program in particular, are incredibly diverse, and we want to be as inclusive as possible.

“As entertainers and as artists, I think it’s our job to learn about the world that we live in,” Loretto-Valentik said.

“So we’re going to do more workshops like this and hopefully bring in more cultural diversity for students.”