Homi K Bhaba reflects on the transformative nature of dance
Written in 2006.
More than any other art form, dance explores the living link between epiphany and everyday life.
The language of dance encompasses the full range of our most mundane movements and gestures, but turns them into acts of social significance and creative celebration.
Classical dance, with its ritualistic heritage, makes visible the ideals and habits of a culture: its aims, aspirations, trials and tragedies. Modern dance frees movement from inheritances that may be inhibiting, without destroying the inspiration of discipline and training.
Akademi beautifully bridges the classical and the contemporary. It turns dance into a greater social performance that reflects the best creative traditions and tensions of living in a multicultural metropolis, in a world where tradition and innovation require a transnational stage.
In this adventure of the body and the spirit, Akademi takes a lead by showing us that it is only through acts of cultural translation that we can both display our cultural differences and share in a wider solidarity of historic and cultural commitment.
The transformative spirit of dance moves from the inner psychic space of any one body into a wider public recognition of a communal life. Akademi’s twenty-five years have brought maturity and beauty to an ideal of the transformation of traditions.
How do you keep in step with the cultural history that you feel most ‘at home’ with, while dancing to the contrasting, even conflicting, musics of other peoples and other times?
In its various programmes and performances, Akademi has made us reflect deeply on this absolutely crucial question. But it has done much more than that.
Akademi has given us a vision of what it means to live with your cultural traditions, without being imprisoned within them.
To translate between cultures, ideals and aspirations is the only way in which we can transform our lives to conform and collaborate with the diverse landscapes in which we live in the twenty-first century.