Many refugee women look for a space to find community and communicate openly. Having such a space is important for healthy mental and social relationships, especially when arriving in a new country and dealing with resettlement stresses. Art and dance are both integral to many cultures, yet, little time and space are given to support these stress-relieving and health stimulating skills.
The arts can be used to address the needs of the refugee women in a culturally competent manner. This project, called Transplanted Tradition, is a traditional dance exchange and art making pilot program that met weekly to develop a community support structure, learn coping techniques, and to improve mental and social health needs for the refugee women.
This women-only group consisted of Sudani, Khmer, Bhutanese, Karen, Nepali, Bengali, Congolese, and European descent women. The local folk dance society, the Dance Flurry Organization, shared American Contra Dances with the women and followed their lead in dancing to traditional, fun dances in a circle. The women all also created art together and presented with work with many giggles. Without words, a community was created.
Final performance with DFO members included. This program was made possible by the DFO Grant and Rifat Nazir, the director of the RISSE program.