Monday, April 1, 2013

The Nordic Cool Celebration

Beginning in February of the year 2013 and ending in March, the John F. Kennedy Center presented the Nordic Cool Festival. The month long event is an international celebration of the arts. It highlights music, theater, dance, cuisine, visual arts, and literature from Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden—as well as Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and the Åland Islands) The affair featured over seven hundred artist and was a great way to learn about Nordic culture. The themes were nature, technological innovation, environmental sustainability, entrepreneurial spirit, and youth culture. Although many events at the festival were free, some required tickets that cost up to $100. The free events were comprised of exhibitions and live musical performances as seen here;

The Kennedy Center is located in Washington D.C, and opened on September 8th of 1971. It is known as the busiest performing arts facility in the United States. Hosting nearly 2000 performances annually, it serves the nation as a leader in arts education. Needless to say, the Nordic Cool Festival couldn't have been held in a better place!  There are three main theaters at the Kennedy Center; the Concert Hall, Opera House, and the Eisenhower Theater. Other performance venues in the center include; The Family Theater, The Terrace Theater, The theater Lab, The Millennium Stage, and The KC Jazz Club.

Some free events at the Nordic Cool Festival such as; The New Nordic Cuisine Demonstration: Finland and Iceland and Signmark, were performed on the Millennium Stage. The Nordic Cuisine Demonstration consisted of award-winning chefs Petteri Luoto and Hákon Már Örvarsson cooking in front of an audience. Luoto studied at Turku Resturant College and was elected Chef of the Year in 1998. He is known for creating traditional Finnish flavors with a modern twist. Örvarsson is committed to using organic ingredients and preparing freshly made dishes based on Icelandic style cooking.

Signmark (also known as Marko Vuoriheimo) created the world’s first sign language hip hop DVD in 2006. His self-entitled album was released  in the same year. He is a deaf Finnish rap artist, born in Helsinki. Touring the world for over a decade, this man has helped to break prejudices and awaken people. Signmark is the first deaf person to be signed to a major international recording label. 

 The purpose  of the Nordic Cool Festival was to educate people on what “Nordic” means. The Kennedy Center's vice president for international programming, Alicia Adams, said that the Nordic cultures share a common heritage in the Vikings and waterways that fueled trade and discovery. But the elements of "what is Nordic" has been difficult to define. With the many elements of Nordic culture presented in this month long festival, it goes without saying that the mission of the celebration was successful.

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