Performers tackle racism across cultures at international dance festival

World Today

Performers are fighting racism through art at an international dance festival in Colombia. Dancers took the stage to tackle social issues plaguing communities worldwide. CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports from Cali.

Abraham in Motion is in Colombia for the International Biannual Dance Festival held in Cali. Some 800 artists from eight international and 26 Colombian dance companies perform for audiences.

Perhaps one of the most enriching experiences is the chance for Colombian dancers to take a class from some visiting international artists.

“That exchange of experiences enriches both sides, not only for our national dancers in those master classes, but the International Directors can discover our culture through dance,” Beatriz Barros, the general manager of the festival explained.

Racism was a shared cross-cultural issue and a prominent topic at the festival. Colombian Dance troupe Colegio del Cuerpo performed “Negra/ Anger,” which touched on current racial segregation in Colombia.

Abraham in Motion’s dance work, called “Pavement,” shared a view on historical racism in the United States. The performance was set in Pittsburgh’s historically black neighborhood, and reflected on a culture plagued by discrimination and genocide.

“In terms of how we approach racism in our work, or social issues, a lot of the events we tend to reference are from the past, but the frustrating thing is that all of those events and all of that energy and anger or hatred is very present today,” Artistic Director Kyle Abraham said.

While racism can often be seen as a difficult subject to tackle, the performers show how art can help express feelings of anger and pain through dance.