International Storytelling & Cultural Exchange
Our mission to build cultural bridges through our storytelling extends across the world. We bring Asian tales throughout America and Europe by way of our performances, but we also bring diverse American (European, Asian, African and First Nations) tales and storytellers to Asia through “Nu Wa Rising,” our storytelling and cultural exchange program.
Eth-Noh-Tec has organized and led three tours to China and one to India thus far, by bringing American storytellers to these fascinating lands. It is an exciting way to build meaningful bridges between the East and the West. American storytellers and story lovers become story delegates, learning and experiencing first hand the storytelling and story based art forms of the East by sitting in the homes of master tellers in a small rural storytelling village in China, or sitting under a Banyan tree in a small tribal village in India listening to the wives and mothers spin their tales. We laugh together, share stories together, eat together, play, sing and dance together. Americans return with a deepened understanding of a culture and its people through the arts, while the Asian communities host and experience the value of their art forms, often unappreciated in their homeland.
In addition, “Nu Wa Rising,” named after the Creation Goddess of China, makes a donation to these poor villages rich in stories by helping them with water piping, building schools, renovating a Story Hall, installing libraries, buying children’s books, etc. So much goodness is created both tangible and intangible.
If you’d like to be part of this experience, join us next time! Let us know your interest, and we’ll tell you more about our visits. Keep tuned to when the next tour is planned. Get your passport and your inner explorer ready!
This project is geared to engage San Francisco’s youth in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to understand their relationship to their environment scientifically and sociologically.
As global climate change will impact their future and that of their world, Eth-Noh-Tec feels it important to make these two realities part of their life context.
As storytellers, we are most aware of how stories and storytelling are a powerful modality for reaching the hearts and minds of the listener. Stories are heard and processed through a different area in the brain so that information is received more meaningfully and felt more deeply. Humans are wired for stories and storytelling may be the very first art form – hunters returning to tell the story of their great conquests. All one has to do is utter the words “Once upon a time…” and listeners are immediately sent back into a time and place of long ago when we all sat together around a fire entranced.
Thus, using storytelling and stories as an inspiration, ‘Green Grows the Story’ will address Global Climate Change by: 1) literature and language arts; 2) youth development, critical thinking and empowerment; 3) youth activism and 4) the art of storytelling and performance.
A. Performance: The first part of this project is Eth-Noh-Tec’s performance of Asian mythology and folktales that speak to human’s relationship to nature. Following each story is focused dialogue that guides the students’ ability to connect the ancient tales to their present day lives.
B. Literature and Language Arts I: There needs to be one teacher who will sign onto the entire program. After inspiring youth with the ancient Asian myths that speak to human’s place in the world and their impact on nature, we will follow up with that one classroom a more in-depth dialogue on global climate change and what the youth know about it, how they contribute to it, what they learned from the stories and now notice in their own families and communities about it, and what they’d like to do about it.
Thus, the next phase of Green Grows the Story is that they will write and share their stories on the topic: Global Climate Change: ‘What if we do nothing about the way it is.’ What would that new ‘mythology’ or story be?
C. Youth Activism and Empowerment: Now intrigued by their newly acquired information, awareness of the world around them and their part in it, they will look at a list of actions from the ‘Green Kit’ that we will provide and choose what actions they are willing to take as individuals and as a classroom. This ranges from changing light bulbs and using canvas bags to petitioning the public to place on the ballot that all chain stores stop using plastic bags or malls must change their light bulbs, plant trees, etc.
We hope to provide volunteers from corporations to assist the teachers and their students in this phase if desired. We will provide a way to measure their results and meet with the volunteers and teachers to follow their progress.
D. Literature and Language Arts II: Following the successful completion of their projects (over a month) we will once again dialogue with the students about their projects and once again they will write the stories of their experiences this time ‘What happened because we did something about global climate change’ or ‘What if we do something about global climate change’. We will be showing them Stonyfield Farm’s 4 min. video entitled ‘Climate: Crisis Averted’ which takes place in 2050 and lauds the generation that did something in 2006-07 to address global climate change.
E. Storytelling: We will then teach storytelling workshops and prepare them to perform group storytelling/skits of their stories to lower grades, community festivals, green conferences, certainly at one of Eth-Noh-Tec’s monthly salons.
“Project Forgive” consists of three phases.
Phase I: The presentation of “Takashi’s Dream,” the inspiring and moving story of an atom bomb survivor’s journey from rage and revenge to forgiveness and reconciliation. This 35-minute presentation of spoken word, movement and music is followed by a dialogue with the artists and the atom bomb survivor, Takashi Tanemori, with the audience.
Phase II: A smaller group of 100-200 volunteer to meet with us for a more intimate Q&A session for another period.
Phase III: Nancy Wang, also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, along with a Wellness Center counselor, interview a group of teens who have volunteered or been recommended to attend a 12 week session to address their abusive or neglected situations. Twelve are chosen to experience and process their situation to a healing place through self-empowerment exercises and forgiveness.
Identity and Beyond
Insightful and interactive, this workshop explores the human mind and its impact on our ability to communicate with and perceive “difference.”
Performer Nancy Wang, also a practicing psychotherapist (LCSW #LCS13226), will conduct a series of group processes, discussions and observations so that participants gain access to their own personal responsibility on the subject of perceptions and assumptions based on race, ethnicity and gender. You will leave with a new way of thinking and perceiving, and a broader perspective on the process of ‘prejudices,’ helping each of us to take charge of our personal communications and relationships with others.