Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 3

Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 3

Featured Organization: Center for Traditional Music and Dance

When the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD) – known earlier as the Balkan Arts Center – was founded in the late 1960s, world music was not yet a common term, much less a movement, and a fascination with performance traditions from different parts of the world was just starting to take hold in the US. Over the next two decades CTMD evolved from a focus on connecting performers and audiences for Eastern European music and dance to a multi-faceted and multi-ethnic organization that works with different immigrant communities to strengthen their own ability to present, document and teach the arts forms of their countries of origin in a new American context.

Today, through their Cultural Community Initiatives program, CTMD works with a community – Albanians in the Bronx, Indo-Caribbeans in Queens, or Dominicans in Washington Heights, to name only a few – over multiple years to provide funding, research, and expert advice that allows those communities to coalesce around their traditional musicians and dancers, produce cultural events, establish community-based organizations, and pass those traditions on to a new generation. The goal of each Cultural Community Initiative is to lay the foundation for sustainability by the end of the CTMD’s intensive assistance – for example, Mano a Mano (Mexican community) and Badenya (West African community) are two full-fledged organizations that have emerged from past CCIs. Some individual performers and groups also go on to become CTMD Touring Artists, benefiting from CTMD’s continued support and international network of contacts and expertise.

How can you get involved?

CTMD’s cultural communities and touring artists present numerous events each year. 

Images: Top, Center for Traditional Music and Dance Touring Artists Cheres, in traditional garments of Western Ukraine, play music from the foothills of the Carpathians
Amy Aronoff
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