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Foreign Policy Analysis
Dance Diplomacy: Cultural Conversations Through the Arts

Dance Diplomacy: Cultural Conversations Through the Arts

PHILLIP: What I love about Duke supporting
the arts and the ability for students to view the arts is that it makes you a more well-rounded
person. You get a sense of appreciation for beauty. MOLLY: I take one dance class and it’s a good
way for me to relieve stress, to do something in a classroom that’s not academic and not
competitive. It’s something I’m really passionate about
and really care about. ANDREA: Most of us could probably think back
to things that impacted us or had life-changing moments. Those when the light bulb went off or you
felt something you couldn’t explain, and I want our students to always have that kind
of experience. ERIC: At Duke Performances, we host artists
for anywhere from a couple days to a week to several weeks, even repeat visits over
the course of the academic year. From our visiting artists, Duke students are
learning a variety of things. They’re learning about collaboration, how
to work with different people, to solve a problem, to create an artistic product. Our students are also being challenged by
these artists to think more deeply about their lives, about their community, about the Duke
community and how we respond to those questions, those concerns using the arts as a vehicle
for that expression. Malpaso Dance Company is one of the leading
Cuban dance companies today, founded by Osnel Delgado. I hope that Duke students will gain many things
from their week with Malpaso Dance Company. This helps to bring our two countries together,
to help us better understand one another after years of isolation and to use arts as a cultural
bridge. FERNANDO: Tomorrow is going to be a premiere,
the first U.S. premiere of “Dreaming of Lions”. But we have been very busy during this residency:
master classes, open classes, round tables, panel discussions, lectures, meeting with
the students. MOLLY: It was so fun. It’s really fun to get something new and different. I would take dance for the rest of my life,
but we’ll see how that goes. SARA: There’s something extremely special
about dance in that it’s like a language, but it also exists outside of language. I feel this and so I dance this. KAVYA: For me personally, it means that Duke
takes seriously that the arts isn’t about paintings, it’s not about dance. It’s about a conversation on humanity and
society that is important in all fields. It’s important in science. It’s important in public policy. ANDREA: Our guest artist residencies give
the opportunity for the students to encounter people and places that are not involved in
their everyday life, and that makes them richer. That places them in the world, that makes
them curious about the world, that expands their learning experience. CATHERINE: It would be very difficult for
our students to have these kinds of experiences if Duke didn’t go to the trouble to bring
it to us. ERIC: At Duke today we want to give students
the full range of opportunity to engage with the arts. For some students that’s eight hours a week,
for others that’s 80 hours a week. We always had the arts here on campus but
they were a bit hidden, a bit marginalized. I’m proud to say that a decade later, this
is a completely different community for the arts.

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