Guam – Guam’s Inetnon Gefpa’go Cultural Arts Program made the top 8 finalist beating 21 other countries in the 2011 Cheonan World Folk Dance Competition, Cheonan City, South Korea.
The group also won the Encouragement Award from the Festival Organizers. The competition was held from September 28 through October 5. Only a select group were chosen and invited from around the world.
“We didn’t really know what to expect going into the competition or the type of artistry required. This competition was very inspiring for us. I am very proud of our accomplishments knowing that we made the top 8 final round. Many of the countries we competed against were truly professional
international dance company’s. Just knowing that us little people from the southern part of our island made it to the finals was truly an accomplishment and a proud moment for our island”, said Vince Reyes, Director/Instructor.
[Left to right, kneeling are: Kekoa Kaulia; Jeremy Copple; Brandon Fujikawa; Frank Santos, Jr.; Travis Certeza; Joshua Cruz; and Daniel Stone, Jr.]
Just this year alone, they attended competitions in the Philippines and Korea, walking away with the Most Popular Performance and Best Folklore
Performance awards, respectively. This competition however, was the largest and most prestigious competition Inetnon Gefpa’go and Guam has
ever participated in.
Countries participating in the Korea competition include Kosovo, Russia (Khabarovsk), Malaysia, Slovakia, Georgia (Europe), Italy, China, Estonia,
Indonesia, Guam, Singapore, Poland, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Mexico (Moots), Mexico (Estampas), Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil, Bulgaria,
Tuva, Turkmenistan and Sierra Leone.
Inetnon Gefpa’go is an award-winning program whose mission is to promote awareness and pride in the Chamorro Heritage through performance arts.
This is accomplished through youth interaction with traditional Master Artists, community presentations and cultural exchange. Membership in the
group begins in middle school, where students undergo extensive cultural arts and dance training to be selected as part of the school’s performing
group. Membership then continues into the community-based, high school and adult after-school program. Here they further their cultural learning,
continue performing throughout the island and represent Guam at major tourism promotions and festivals around the world.