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Madison Bicentennial

Old-fashioned Chautauqua Tent
to highlight area interests, skills

Individuals, groups invited
to participate in weeklong event

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

Madison Bicentennial Logo

(April 2009) – In the late 19th century and into the early 20th century, Circuit Chautauquas were popular community events. These tent gatherings were a way for communities to enjoy lectures, listen to sermons or watch a musical or theatrical production. By the mid-1920s when Tent Chautauquas were at their peak, they appeared in more than 10,000 communities to audiences of more than 45 million.
As part of the Madison Bicentennial Celebration, an old-fashioned Tent Chautauqua will be held during the week of June 6-14 at Lytle Park on West Street in downtown Madison. A variety of demonstrations, lectures and performances by individuals and groups will be held throughout the week.
“We have everything from book authors to belly dancing demonstrations to Civil War lectures booked for the tent,” said Lisa Smitley, coordinator for the event. “We are looking for any person with a hobby, interest or talent who would like to participate.”
Dancer Mike Qi is one of several individuals scheduled to perform during the event. He will perform several traditional Chinese dance pieces, including a Chinese sword dance.
Qi danced for a Chinese government dance troupe for more than 22 years before leaving his home country. His career began when he was 13 years old. A government talent scout noticed he could dance, so he was taken to a dance academy where he lived and trained for five years.
“It was very hard work and lots of practice,” said Qi, whose son, Sheng Qi, helped translate. “When I danced, I traveled all over China and Asia, including Thailand and Laos.”
During his career, Qi earned numerous awards, including a 1986 Traditional Chinese Dance Award. In 1987, Qi was honored by the government with the highest award given, the Arts and Morality Award.
Qi took a break from dancing in 2000-2001 to attend college to become a dance professor. In 2002, when the chance came, he left Tianjin, China to immigrate to Madison. He came to America because the career opportunities would be better for his family. “America is a good place to raise a family,” he said. “The decision to leave China was very tough but the opportunities here are too good to miss.”
Qi lives with his son and wife, Suzie Zhou. Zhou was a former Chinese rhythmic gymnast who later coached the Chinese National Rhythmic Gymnastics’ team. She currently trains young gymnasts at Madison Gymnastics World and works at Bob Evans Restaurant in Madison.
“We’ve had Mike Qi perform at the library,” said Smitley, who is literacy coordinator for the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library. “The auditorium was packed and people loved him. ”
She said she hopes community groups or clubs will also get involved in the event. “It would even be neat if some area musicians that had popular followings at different time periods could regroup to perform.”
A group that has planned to stage a performance during the Tent Chautauqua is Taylor’s Tae Kwon Do Academy, owned by Master Jerry Taylor. He is a World Tae Kwon Do Federation-certified seventh degree Black Belt. He owns two schools: one in Osgood, Ind., and one in Madison.
His school will perform a variety of skills and exercises. “We will have board and brick breaking, sparring and forms demonstrations,” he said. “Our performers will be a mixed group of all levels and ages.” Martial artists from both of his schools will be included in the performance.
Taylor’s school performed at the library, too, and delighted the crowd there, said Smitley.
She emphasized that any family friendly activity, topic or interest is more than welcome to participate in the Tent Chautauqua. Each performer will have at least 15 minutes and up to two hours to entertain the crowd.
“I can’t wait for people to see the amazing array of talent and topics we have lined up,” she said.

• For more information on participating in the Tent Chautauaqua, call Lisa Smitley at (812) 866-3861 or email: lisasmitley@yahoo.com. Bicentennial Committee accepting entries for Video Contest

Bicentennial commitee seeks
entries for video contest

Staff Report

The Madison Indiana Video Festival is now accepting submissions for its inaugural video festival that is scheduled for Arts Day on June 8. The event includes additional screenings at the Ohio Theatre in downtown Madison, Ind., during the Madison Bicentennial’s “Old Home Week,” June 6-14.
This new festival will showcase a wide variety of videos during this celebration of the independent artist. It is an excellent opportunity for independent and new videographers to showcase their works and talent in a small-scale video festival. In celebration of the Bicentennial, all videos must have been shot in or be about downtown Madison.
The festival is open to a wide range of subject matter, genre, and technique. These include: Narrative, Documentary, Experimen-tal, Animation and Music Video of own music or music to which you have been granted synchronization and public performance rights for the purpose of this festival.
The National Deadline is April 24. There are no entry fees. To enter, mail a DVD and a completed festival form to: Ohio Theatre, 105 E. Main St., Madison, IN, 47250
All videos must be at or under 10 minutes in length. Family friendly content is required. All videos must be original or have proper licensing permission. This festival is open to all video artists in the United States. Videos will be judged in three primary categories: Adult, 14-18, and 13-under.
DVDs must be clearly labeled with name, contact info, video title, category and running time. More than one entry may be submitted. Each must be submitted with its own entry form.

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