By Anand Krishna
Drawing together 25 aspiring artists of diverse backgrounds from eight Kazakhstani cities, the public affairs section (PAS) at Consulate General Almaty ran a 10-day musical theater program in conjunction with the Youth Excellence on Stage (YES) Academy—a U.S.-based NGO by American Voices—and Funky Town Dance Studio. Broadway experts shared cutting-edge techniques and practices on production, performance, dance, and songwriting. The program culminated with a spectacular musical revue performed to a packed house in central Almaty, Aug. 5.
Performed entirely in English and incorporating elements of modern and classic Broadway hits, all the music and dance elements were developed during the ten-day program. More importantly, the performance touched on several sensitive themes, including freedom of speech, same-sex partnerships, and gender fluidity, even featuring a transgender performer in a manner that was iconoclastic but respectful and engaging to those espousing traditional cultural norms. Enthusiastic feedback from the hundreds in attendance and thousands across social media welcomed this contribution to Almaty’s arts scene. The 25 artists returned to their local communities energized by the experience, empowered to share best practices, and enthusiastic about continued engagement with the United States through programs like the Central Asian Go Viral Network of innovators.
PAS Almaty strives to use cultural connections as openings to explore challenging issues, provide opportunities to disenfranchised populations, and promote tolerance and respect. The U.S. Mission is proud to partner with the country’s dynamic boundary-pushers and changemakers to support a strong, prosperous, and inclusive Kazakhstan.
Anand Krishna is the public affairs officer at consulate general Almaty.