Diplo­macy through the arts

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

IN THE field of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, the arts can be used as a form of ‘soft diplo­macy’, given their uni­fy­ing qual­ity. It makes good sense, there­fore, that the United States Em­bassy in Ja­maica is call­ing on its strong arts cul­ture to cel­e­brate the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two na­tions.

Coun­selor for Pub­lic Af­fairs at the US Em­bassy Jeremiah Knight has called upon his home na­tion’s ex­per­tise in the arts in a ma­jor way by col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Plié for the Arts Foun­da­tion to host Misty Copeland – the first African-Amer­i­can fe­male prin­ci­pal dancer for the Amer­i­can Bal­let Theatre – and a 25-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion in the is­land from Au­gust 28 to 31.

“It’s a win-win for us,” said Knight of the col­lab­o­ra­tion. “This is part of our larger sup­port of the arts. The arts rep­re­sent a safe space for the shar­ing of cul­ture, and the arts are a good way of spread­ing diplo­macy.”

Dur­ing the visit, Copeland and the Plié for the Arts Foun­da­tion will en­gage ap­prox­i­mately 200 dancers from vary­ing dance groups from sev­eral sec­ondary high schools and vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties across the is­land. Ad­di­tion­ally, the pro­gram will have the US dance pro­fes­sion­als con­duct­ing work­shop ses­sions, mas­ter classes and a sem­i­nar (with stake­hold­ers) over a three-day pe­riod. These work­shops will present vary­ing dance styles and tech­niques in bal­let, jazz, Hor­ton and mod­ern con­tem­po­rary. The gala event will also pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for Ja­maica’s own tal­ented per­form­ers to shine.

Pa­tron of the event, busi­ness­woman and phi­lan­thropist Michelle Rollins, pointed out that the arts are good for the soul.

“It is so im­por­tant for us to pro­mote the best of Ja­maica through the arts,” she said. She noted that Ja­maican cul­ture, beloved across the globe, in­cludes first-class talent in the arts. She said it was time for Ja­maican arts to achieve world­class sta­tus. This visit by Copeland and oth­ers is un­doubt­edly an im­por­tant step in that di­rec­tion.

CON­TRIBUTED PHO­TOS FILE

Lovers of the arts (from left): Jeremiah Knight, coun­selor for pub­lic af­fairs at the US Em­bassy; Michelle Rollins, pa­tron of Copeland’s up­com­ing per­for­mances in Ja­maica; and founder of the Plié for the Arts Foun­da­tion, Marissa Be­nain. Misty Copeland is...

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