What does it mean to be a Northwest Folklife Community Coordinator? Great question! This is a group of dedicated individuals from all walks of Northwest life. These people give of their time and resource to bring their own cultural traditions to the greater community through Northwest Folklife.
Today, we’d like to introduce you to Katrina Ji, the Artistic Director, Choreographer, and lead dancer of Culture Shakti, a dance studio that bridges the gap between east and west, providing dances classes for Belly Dance, Bollywood, Bhangra, Rajasthani, Garba, and more. Katrina is the Northwest Folklife Community Coordinator for the Bollywood Showcase at the Northwest Folklife Festival.
What cultural traditions do you share with the greater community?
The Bollywood Showcase highlights a variety of high octane Bollywood dances from India including Bhangra, Garba, Tollywood and more.
Please share the Northwest Folklife events you have contributed programming for?
Not only have I been contributing to the Bollywood Showcase each year, I initiated the Bollywood Showcase. In addition, I also program a Bollywood Dance Party with DJ Kazan and other local DJ’s along with a dance lesson by myself. Plus this past year, I programmed a Bollywood Kids Showcase on the new outdoor stage.
What does it mean to you and to your community to be connected to Northwest Folklife?
I am thrilled to be an advocate for promoting Bollywood and Folk Dances of India at the Northwest Folklife Festival. I have been the community organizer for five years now. Being part of the Festival has helped our company gain visibility for larger opportunities including the Democrats of Washington Holiday Party and the F.U.S.I.O.N. Gala Auction Fundraiser.
Can you recall a performance memory that had an impact on you?
One of my fondest memories at the Northwest Folklife Festival was seeing a group of young girls that I had been teaching through Aki Kurose. (Group Healths’s Teen Youth Mentorship Program) on the stage. They were so proud. I am so happy they were provided the opportunity to participate as a school field trip. They were so excited for the opportunity to dress up in the costumes that I provided them on the Armory Stage.