In Motion - Dance Around the World | Arts.21 - The Culture Magazine | DW | 17.10.2020
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In Motion - Dance Around the World

The Call of Dance: We meet Meg Stuart at the Dance Congress in Dresden, performers in Burkina Faso and Colombia, and explore the burgeoning world of dance.

Watch video 26:06

Contemporary dance is an art form that is at once wordless and full of expression. Dance can cross borders and surpass limits, both physical and psychological. American Meg Stuart is a renowned choreography. At the Dance Congress 2019 -- held last June in Dresden -- Stuart showcased her skill at bringing together the international dance scene, and her ability to promote dialogue among dance professionals with different cultural backgrounds. The Congress assembled 500 experts from all over the world who met to exchange experiences and explore new ideas. The theme of the event was "A Long Lasting Affair," and it was funded in part by the Goethe Institute.

Stuart's Brussels-based dance company, "Damaged Goods," has set new standards in dance theater. For Stuart, dance represents "inspiration and dialogue. You meet someone - and your life can transform." But how does professional dance in one country influence another country's dance scene? What is cross-cultural when it comes to dance, and what is culturally specific? Arts.21 travels to Dresden, Colombia, and Burkina Faso to explore the diverse cultures of contemporary dance. We'll meet Salamata Kobré from Burkina Faso, the small, landlocked nation where some equate dancing with lasciviousness and even prostitution. Indeed, Salamata Kobré's fiancé left her following her decision to study modern dance.

But Salamata continued undeterred - and studied at one of Africa's leading dance schools: the Centre de Développement Chorégraphique La Termitière, located in the capital Ouagadougou. Performances at the school often focus on major contemporary political issues -- and the "Engagement Féminin” program provides women with dance courses conducted by expert choreographers. Over in South America, there is also prejudice against certain aspects of dance, for example in Colombia. Alejandro Penagos lives in the capital Bogota and does vogueing - the dance style associated with LGBTQ culture and known for its distinctive hand gestures. If Alejandro were to leave his house in costume and wearing high-heels, he may get into trouble on the street.

But in the "House of Tupamara,” where Alejandro is a member, he is free to express himself. Arts.21 invites you to discover contemporary dance around the world.