Sing, dance and play at Our Big Neighborhood!

Melody Institute (Photo by Erinn Hale.)

Northwest Folklife is excited to announce a new, three-year youth and family program in partnership with Seattle Center: Our Big Neighborhood! In 2018, the Our Big Neighborhood umbrella program will encompass four events throughout the year including Movin’ Around the World in April, Global Playground in August, Seattle Children’s Festival in September and a one-day Launch Party for Seattle Center’s Winterfest in November. Our Big Neighborhood will bring families and people of all ages together to discover Northwest communities and their cultures through song, dance, arts, hands-on learning and cultural exchange!

The first event of 2018, Movin’ Around the World, will take us around the globe to discover and celebrate the cultures of the world through movement and song. From April 7 to the 13th, each day of this week long event will spotlight a different culture from the Pacific Northwest, ranging from Mexico, Europe, India, Asia, Polynesia, America and Africa. Northwest Folklife has proudly collaborated with various community partners, culture-bearers, and artists to put together a dynamic lineup of performances, workshops and hands-on activities.

Folklore Mexicano Tonantzin. (Photo by Erinn Hale.)

Most importantly, Movin’ Around the World will showcase performances and workshops performed by kids, for kids to foster an environment where kids can take ownership and pride in being artists and culture-bearers.

“We are happy to participate at the Movin’ Around the World event because it will give Bailadores de Bronce a chance to interact with people from our neighborhood and teach them about Mexican dance and culture in a fun way in which everyone can participate,” says Adrian Olivas, Director of Bailadores de Bronce, a local Mexican Folklorico dance troupe. “This event will show our youth how beautiful diversity is, and how much we are all part of of the community in our own special way.”

Connecting to Northwest Folklife’s 2018 Cultural Focus, Echoes of Aztlan and Beyond, the first day of Movin’ Around the World will highlight the sounds and sights of Mexico. Participants will experience traditional Mexican folkloric dances with Joyas Mestizas, learn Aztec dancing with Ixtlixochitl White Hawk and dance away with Bailadores de Bronce. In addition, the Dia de Muertos Festival will show kids how to make paper crafts to honor the traditional Day of the Dead celebration.

Northwest Folklife 2016 (Photo by Christopher Nelson)

Each day offers a new experience for kids and families to sing, dance, and participate. Get ready to learn flamenco dancing, traditional Wushu (Chinese martial arts) and get into the groove of African drum and dance! Families who want to learn even more about the cultures and traditions highlighted at this and other Our Big Neighborhood events can explore them online through the Listen and Learn page on the website.

(Photo by Northwest Folklife.)

With over 100 different cultures alive in the Pacific Northwest, Our Big Neighborhood hopes to bring together our different communities in one place to learn, exchange and celebrate the music, arts and culture that have been passed down for generations. We want to promote the beauty of diversity, while also encouraging our youth to take pride and ownership of the multi-cultural, intergenerational neighborhood we live in. These efforts help to promote greater social understanding and acceptance for us all.

Movin’ Around the World will take place during Seattle Public Schools’ spring break from April 7 through 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Seattle Center Armory. We are committed to access for all and encourage a daily donation of $5 per person to help us continue to sustain these programs.

Let’s come together and celebrate this Big Neighborhood we live in. We hope to see you and your family at our 2018 Our Big Neighborhood events!

For more information about Our Big Neighborhood, please visit