News July 2014

Foreign Familiarity

There is a richness and depth that comes from cultural heritage. It is specific to its own region. Take it out of familiar territory and it will of necessity metamorphose. The purity of a race can be maintained within its boundaries and diluted or enhanced by spreading throughout the world. Maintaining ones roots and at the same time melding with other cultures is how different people groups have integrated, grown and developed a richness, quality and colour that both honour the old while embracing the new.

As we look at this in the context of dance we can understand the uniqueness of ballet, a style that has been adapted to gymnastics, swimming, modified to encompass ‘contemporary styles’, even embraced by martial artists. This once pure form retains its individuality while still being transported into other styles.

With increasing ease of travel and work opportunities people migrate daily. They enter a new country with its own culture which they can embrace or modify. Alternatively they can hold on to their own culture and attempt to make it work in their new environment without embracing the new. This appears to have an adverse effect marginalising a people group who just want their home in another country. The rest who decide to integrate bring their art, music, history and language to further enrich the diversity of the new land, hopefully strengthening it.

Learning a new language and embracing it, using it as a means of communication, doesn’t mean we have to forget our own language. Similarly learning about and joining a new culture doesn’t mean losing the old. Rather it means expanding on what we already experience to take life to a higher, exciting, invigorating and more mature level. Take it. Embrace it. Grow.

‘The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men.’ (John F. Kennedy, 1917 – 1963) 


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