By Trish Muntean, Fort Wainwright PAOOctober 21, 2011
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - The Family of Sgt. Duren Moses, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, is dancing through his deployment. Not that it is easy being away from him, but they have been keeping busy by performing Panamanian folk dances at community events, including the Fairbanks International Friendship Day Oct. 15.
"I am loving the fact of showing to the world our heritage, our culture, from Panama," said Ceira Moses, Sgt. Moses' spouse. "It is about time that we show off our culture and what it is about."
Ceira Moses did not dance on her own at Friendship Day. Her children, Mark A. Rivera (15), Jasquel Moses (11), and twins Wendy and Emily Moses (5) also performed.
Her husband is a non-dancer, but she hopes to change that upon his return, making dancing a family activity.
While Moses grew up dancing in Panama, she did not really start dancing again or performing publicly as an adult until recently, when the president of the Latinos Unidos del Norte group asked her if she wanted to perform or show off her native costume, a pollera.
She said no at first, but then decided to call her family in Panama and ask if anyone had one they wanted to pass on, a common way of getting the traditional Panamanian dress since the costumes can be quite expensive, sometimes costing thousands of dollars. These are worn with headpieces known as tembleques which are quite exquisite.
After getting her costume together, she contacted a man in charge of a dance group in Panama, who helped her fine-tune her performance, reviewing the steps and the music with her.
Moses is not the only one in the family who has been bitten by the dance bug.
"Mark is loving it. He would like to learn more. He would like to keep doing it," she said. He also is a member of the Lathrop High School Ballroom Dance Team.
Jasquel likes it so much that she wants her mother to talk to her principal about performing for Arctic Light Elementary, where she attends school.
Even twins Wendy and Emily enjoyed themselves at the annual event.
"I was surprised, actually, that they were not intimidated by the crowd," Moses said. "They were not nervous or anything like that. They just love it. They just knew what to do and they went for it."
While the Moses Family is anxiously waiting Sgt. Moses' return, they hope to have more opportunity to share their culture with the community while they wait. The children are scheduled to perform at the multi-cultural hour event at the Fort Wainwright Library Jan. 4.
"I want to bring more stuff from Panama. We have so much more. The dancing is just a little bit of it."