The United States of America is a melting pot of ethnic peoples of different backgrounds from around the globe. Therefore, celebrating each ethnic heritage is a tribute and also a way America says “Thank you” for being a part of its cultural richness. It is not only a celebration of the uniqueness of that particular culture, traditions and customs, but also a tribute to its heritage and the harmonious environment that are shared by everyone here in the United States. For example, May is the Asian-Ameraican Heritage Month.
In September, America celebrated its National Hispanic Heritage Month. One of the celebrations was a dance contest hosted by the Smithsonian Educational Organization under the theme “What impact does Latin American dance or music have on Asian cultures.”
The Lao-American Association of Washington DC also competed in this competition and made to the final round in September 17, 2006. The Lao-American participant, Mr. Kayasith Rattanavongkoth, President of the Lao-American Association of the Greater Washington DC Metropolian Area, told VOA, “I am very proud and honored to compete and make it to the final round. It’s not about me; it’s about presenting Laotian American as a whole.”
Mr. Kayasith competed in the Cha Cha Cha and Tango categories. He chose Lao music to dance to with a Russian partner, a song by Lao veteran singer and songwriter Khamla Norkeo for Cha Cha Cha, and for the Tango he chose a rendition of “Luang Prabang” by Vilaychanh Svajvong of Canada. Both songs thrilled the audience who was rather surprised to see the harmonious combination of Lao lyric and Latin rhythm.