The college experience is often said to be a hands on experiment with and exposure to the “real world.” There is so much emphasis about diversity in culture, ethnicity, faith, etc. But why should diversity be limited? Why cannot the dance world be explored in terms of diversity? As a freshman dance major here at the Ohio State University, I am learning on a first-hand basis how diverse my passion is.
Last week, in my freshman seminar class, we interviewed several individuals across the globe in Europe and South America. I found it incredibly interesting to see that there are Italians dancing in Sweden and to learn about the state of the dance world in Buenos Aires. Not only are people crossing cultures and creating incredible multiethnic dance companies and groups, they are bringing their individual heritage to their work. To me, it is extremely heartening to see that earning a living by dancing in a community or country other than my own will not cost me my heritage. Jessica Andrenacci, one of our interviewees, said something really striking, “Multinational dance allows you to learn more about yourself and others also.” One of the things that is most beautiful to me about dance is that different dancers can bring so many diverse things to the art form simply by gathering from their life experiences. It creates life and breath in choreography, taking humble steps and turning them into something powerful.
For me, dance has always been an incredibly global idea. I have always said that one of the reasons I want to be a professional dancer is because I want to see the world. It would be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to have my passion for dance take me to places I could never go otherwise. I also think it would benefit me greatly as a human and as an artist to be able to observe and take part in cultures other than my own.
Currently, I am taking a class in classical Odissi dance, a traditional Indian dance form. My respect for the precise, exact grace of the movements has only increased throughout the course. Simple things like taking a class in a cultural dance form can broaden an artist’s perspective in an innovative and unique way. I feel that such experiences are fundamental to the growth and continued vitality of dance in the world we live in today.