Star Tribune: Flint Hills fest offers kaleidoscope of global performance

Rohan Preston, Star Tribune 5/30/14

For its 14th year, the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival has its own mobile app, which should be a help with parking and planning.

More than 50,000 people are expected to descend on downtown St. Paul this weekend to see performances in such Rice Park venues as Ordway Center, Landmark Center and the Lehr Theater.

Cirque Mechanics’ Gantry Bike is one of the most eye-catching acts in this year’s lineup. It is an oversized, circus-style bike with performers hanging off its elevated scaffolding.

But there are plenty of other offerings, including acts from Australia and Canada.

“The theme for this year’s festival is ‘My Heart Dances to a Global Beat,’ ” said Dayna Martinez, artistic director of the festival, “because percussive dance is so amazingly represented this year by Step Afrika!, De Temps Antan and Flying Foot Forum.”

Here is a list of some of the performance highlights:

Step Afrika!

The Washington, D.C.-based company fuses stepping, which has a rich history among African-American fraternities and sororities and which was the subject of the film “Stomp the Yard,” with African percussive dance. Expect rhythmic chanting, clapping and stomping in this fusion of dance and music.

11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Sat., 11:15 a.m. Sun., Ordway mainstage, 345 Washington St.

De Temps Antan

French-Canadian trio De Temps Antan, whose name means “From Ancient Times,” has been lauded for its inventive renditions of traditional Québécois music. They perform in a “tac-tic-a tac” style, doing tap dance while seated and playing fiddle, accordion, harmonica, guitar and other instruments. Their repertoire consists of Scottish, Irish and French folk music.

10 a.m. & noon Sat., noon & 2 p.m. Sun., Lowry Lab Theater, 50 St. Peter St.

Flying Foot Forum: “Alice in Wonderland”

The Twin Cities’ own Flying Foot Forum, Joe Chvala’s tap dance company, is telling the classic story of “Alice in Wonderland” with much hoofing. He is doing this production in the interactive promenade style. Audience members, who are on their feet for the show, will move around with the cast as they go down the rabbit hole.

10 a.m. & 2 p.m. Sat., noon & 2 p.m. Sun., Lehr Theater, 16 W. 5th St.

Terrapin Puppet Theatre: “Love”

Australia’s Terrapin Puppet Theatre uses both real and digital puppets to tell this story about a boy and his mother who help their neighbors pack precious things in preparation for an approaching storm.

10:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. Sun., Landmark Center’s Weyerhaeuser Auditorium, 75 5th St.

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