Dear Lina, as a founder of one of Sacramento’s best restaurants, why did you change gears to produce World Music and Dance Festival?
I graduated from a liberal arts high school and have always appreciated art. Having a Doctor of Pharmacy degree at UCSF and working as a pharmacist for almost ten years, I welcomed the change from concentrating in science to exploring the creativity in food art. I also enjoy music and dance. Several years ago when Sacramento was named the most multiculturally integrated big city in the nation by Times Magazine, I talked with David Hosley, then President and General Manager of KVIE public television station, Steve Hammond, President and Chair of Sacramento & Convention Visitors Bureau about showcasing the diverse culture of Sacramento through music and dance. When Kais Menoufy of Delegata Corp and Carol Van Bruggen of Foord, Van Bruggen, Ebersole & Pajak joined force with us was when we launched the Sacramento World Music & Dance Festival to celebrate the rich diversity woven throughout our community
Was this event a success? In which ways? Did anything happen in surprising way?
This event was a success from the start. We did a prelude and a fund raising event to find out how the community perceived us. We were delightfully surprised on the excellent comment and review. The attendees were impressed with the many excellent cultural performances in music and dance. We also netted $5000 as seed money for the first annual SWMDF the following year.
What motivates you to find energy and resources for such a complex multifaceted event?
When someone truly believes in something and works hard at it, the energy flows in.
We know that you like to cook and even enjoy some interesting Russian receptions. Do you also like to dance or sing some Russian songs?
I don’t sing anymore but I enjoy listening to all types of music. When I attended the Anna G event, her singing and her music were so mesmerizing that you don’t need to know the words. Music is universal language. When she sang Mother’s song, I could feel the emotion inside and visualized the meaning of it.
Why do think multicultural communities live in peace with each other in a place like Sacramento, but are fighting with each other in a place like Middle East? What’s the secret?
We are so fortunate to be able to live in a multicultural integrated city such as Sacramento. By living in the same community we learn to understand and trust each other. We also learn to respect each other. This is a simple principle to live peacefully between people and nations, respect and trust each other. However, when there are borders and language barriers, respect and trust do not come easily. Combined with ambitious leaders and radical thinkers, the ideal formula is quite difficult to reach.
How can we improve collaboration and understanding between different communities in the Capitol?
This is one of the reasons we started the Sacramento World Music & Dance Festival, to showcase the cultural diversity of the Sacramento region through the presentation of an ethnic dance festival for all ages, providing an educational and entertaining experience. In the Global Village which is the educational part of the festival, there will be schools from different school districts showcasing their ethnic study programs, interactive music, dance workshops, offering youth and adults hands on learning activities relating to the art, clothing, writing and traditions of a rainbow of cultures.
Did you have your favorite performance at the last year festival and why?
Each performance has its own merit. However, I was most appreciative of Miriam Larici and her partner, Leonardo Barrionuevo, from Argentina, winner of the Superstar of Dance, agreed to appear on last year’s festival. At the last minute, Leonardo was unable to join her because of a delay in visa issuance. Miriam brought an equally well known dancer as her partner and their performance was a big hit at the evening showcase in last year’s festival.
What are the highlights of the upcoming event?
This year we have added two new programs. One is a Hip Hop Contest. Hip Hop, an urban ethnic dance, originated in US during 1970s. The other is DJ contest to ethnic music.
For more info about event, please visit Sacramento World Music & Dance Festival site: www.sacramentoworldfestival.org