Art in whatever form, has always been a medium to unite people. Dance being a prominent form among them. The grace and beauty of this art form has always brought people together, across borders and over oceans. The gap between the third world countries and the first world countries can only be bridged through cultural integration. Ballet has always been an important part of cultural integration.
Cultural integration is more than people just learning about the other culture, it is about understanding the importance and assimilate the values of the traditions as well. One can only respect a culture if they first learn to appreciate it in the way it was meant to be appreciated. The only way forward is together. When we come together as a society, we achieve a lot more. The understanding of cultures is hence important.
“Northeastern gave me the tools to be able to start my own company. The experience gave me the confidence to do it,” said De Ojeda, a ballet dancer in America, originally from Paraguay. She studied under the collaborative programme offered by Northeastern University for dancers, after their retirement from their dancing careers. She started her own home décor company dedicated to selling the handmade crafts native to Paraguay. Her tenacity and success in the U.S. ballet has opened up doors for other Paraguayan girls dreaming of being ballet dancers, De Ojeda said.
“I think artists have a unique way of looking at the world, and this is my passion. I want the world to see the beauty of Paraguay,” she said.
Cultural integration at its crux is adopting another culture’s methods, without letting go of your own. It is a kind of globalisation. This is something most immigrants have to go through when they move to a new country. They fear about fitting in and being accepted in the foreign land and into their culture. The key to fighting this is being empathetic and open minded, for both natives and immigrants.