dance diplomacy

George Balanchine’s Jewels has its 50th anniversary this year, an event that was commemorated at New York City’s Lincoln Center last month with performances by dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, and the Bolshoi Ballet. The performances were notable not just for the coming together of three of the world’s great dance companies, but because their international representation mirrored the work itself.

Ballet Dancer

Three ballet companies from different countries come together for an international performance.

The Ruth Page Center for the Arts and Cuba's National School of Ballet continue their collaborative and historic programming with a joint performance. [...] The result marked the first official exchange between two eminent cultural institutions since the normalization of relations between Cuba and the U.S.A. After obtaining official permission from the Cuban Ministry of Culture, the RPSD initiated the first step in the landmark cultural exchange program that would focus on the sharing of knowledge on dance, especially ballet and contemporary dance.

Brazilians have organized a protest with a difference. Members of Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools danced their way through the streets of the city to demonstrate against proposals to slash funds for next year’s Carnival. They say Mayor Marcelo Crivella’s decision to cut by half (to 270,000 euros) the amount each school receives is driven by his religious beliefs. The former evangelical bishop and gospel singer plans to put the saved money towards child care centers.

Former U.S. Ambassador Curtis S. Chin on the proposed funding cuts to cross-cultural programs.

This week’s PD News focused on President Trump’s trip overseas, from the importance of Saudi Arabia to Melania Trump’s international debut as First Lady. 

The mood in Riyadh was in sharp contrast to Washington where pressure is building after fresh claims over the President Donald Trump team’s alleged links to Moscow. On his first foreign tour as the US President, Donald Trump joined in a traditional sword dance welcome ceremony ahead of a banquet at the Murabba Palace in Saudi Arabia. Video of the dance shows Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross dancing with swords perched on their shoulders as part of a line of men in traditional Saudi garb, CNN reported.

Verb Ballets embarked on their first international tour to Taiwan April 10-April 24, 2017 through the support of the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion program. During the two week tour, the company will reunite with choreographer Lee Ming-Cheng and Taiwanese dance company, BodyEDT. The two dance companies will then perform a shared program at the National Theatre & Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan for four performances running April 21-23, 2017. 

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