CulturalFest Countdown: Meet UW Khatad

We are 15 days from the CulturalFest Performance Showcase on February 10! Read on to learn more about one of this year’s CulturalFest performers, UW Khatad.

How did your group begin? Tell us a little bit of your story.

One of our group member, Delgerzaya (Zaya), was a participant in last year’s CulturalFest as a solo dancer, and we wanted to expand the performances to a group dance that has more presence, so we chose to dance as a trio. All of us have previous traditional dance experiences. We wanted to raise awareness of our culture and dance.

What do you hope the audience will take away from your performance? What do you hope they will learn about the culture that your performance represents?

We hope the audience feels the power and energy that our dance portrays through the performance. The dance is about the reigning queen Anu Khatan’s quest to a battle with her loyal troops of soldiers. It portrays how us as warriors stay together to fight and also presents how an authority of a female leader is impactful and dynamic. With a modern twist to the choreography and music, our performance aims to show the culture and history of the Mongolian Empire and we hope the audience can feel the heat and energy. Also, the music represents another aspect of Mongolian culture, which is traditional throat singing. The singer produces at least two pitches simultaneously, which is perhaps why this singing style is also called “harmonic singing.”

What has performing in past CulturalFests meant to you? What can the audience expect to be different this year?

Zaya: As a solo performer in the previous year’s CulturalFest, I had an amazing time representing my culture. Since my last year’s performance was all about beauty of a Mongolian lady, I tried to show the audience an artistic side of Mongolian culture. But perhaps the most amazing thing that happened last year was that I gave the small Mongolian community at the UW a sense of family belonging and cultural connection through my performance. We hope to see the same result this year. As a female dance group, we’re performing a feminist dance this year that portrays strong passion and power of women.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about your performance?

A big part of exploring a new culture is immersing its art, music and dance. Through this two-and-a-half minute performance, we wanted the audience to get a glimpse of Mongolia’s art and history. Our dance attire consists of colorful Mongolian national dress sewn in Mongolia, as well as head wear and shoes with original and richness of adornment.