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The Bridge Community Center

Bridge YouTube Video

Bouaphanh Boudsady is the lead teacher for the Bridge Traditional Dance Program.  In this video Bouaphanh is teaching several beginning and intermediate Lao and Hmong children at The Bridge. Her daughter Amy, home for the summer after completing her university work, is dancing with them.  The first dance is entitled, “Puak Kah Noi” (We are Students), and the words and motions teach respect for teachers, parents, other adults and elders.  It is generally one of the first dances a Lao child learns at home or in elementary school.  The second is “Saravanh” (from Saravanh Province in the south of Laos), danced by intermediate students.  The last song is “Dok Champa” (National Flower Dance), danced by Amy, her daughter.  Amy is not wearing a dance costume because it is easier to see the proper foot, leg and body movements without the costume.

Bouaphanh was born in Luang Prabang, Laos, and attended elementary, middle school and high school there.  She learned traditional dances at home in Laos from her mother and older sister, and also in the schools which she attended there.   She has taught her daughter Amy, since Amy was three years old.

Because Bouaphanh feels passionately about helping the community and also keeping Laotian culture alive and vibrant, she has always taught traditional dancing in homes of community members, rather than in a dance studio.  Not only does she teach children in these settings, but also often buys materials necessary to sew traditional costumes, and then works with other Laotian women to sew the costumes.  Bouaphanh has worked for The Bridge as an interpreter and cultural advisor since the mid 1990s.  Her daughter Amy has helped teach traditional dance at the Bridge, and has also danced with groups in Fresno and the San Diego area.

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