News / Arts & Entertainment

Choreographer Uses Egyptian Dance to Bridge Cultures

Diana Calenti brings a taste of the Middle East to American audiences

Diana Calenti says she connects cultures by showing how different people share human expression and feelings.
Diana Calenti says she connects cultures by showing how different people share human expression and feelings.

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
Mohamed Elshinnawi

Diana Calenti's love for Egypt is not something new. She first traveled to Cairo years ago to teach modern dance. While there, she developed a unique style of her own, blending various elements of ballet, American modern and Egyptian folkloric dance.

Now, the renowned American dancer and choreographer is introducing Egyptian folkloric dance to audiences in the United States with her new troupe of American dancers. It's her way of connecting the two cultures.

"Our hearts are the same. We all love. We all have the same feelings of sympathy," said Calenti. "We all love our children. We love our parents. We love our homes so we can always meet on those common grounds. And what better way than from the artists because we always speak to the heart and the soul."  

Dancer Alexa Wehlan says her experience dancing to Egyptian songs is a mix of learning about the culture from Calenti and self-reflection.

"She would explain the song to me then really you have to feel it. I do not know all the words of the song. And I just use my personal feelings and situations to put towards the dance," said Wehlan.

Diana Calenti first traveled to Cairo years ago to teach modern dance.
Diana Calenti first traveled to Cairo years ago to teach modern dance.

The Egyptian American Cultural Association in Washington recently staged a program of Calenti's work.

"They can see how the performers connected right away and they move very freely, very passionately with the music as if they feel and understand every bit of it as a cultural native of that particular culture," said Magda Kandil, vice president of the association.   

The American audience seemed to appreciate the performance.

"It seems that Diana is trying to put the two together, just adding clips from Egypt and parts from America to form a melting pot of the Egyptian American cultures. So we really enjoyed the performance," said one man in the audience.

Calenti says she deeply believes that dancing connects people.

"Once you reach the hearts of people, it doesn't matter what language they speak, they feel something from the artist."  

Calenti says she will continue her mission of connecting cultures by showing how different people share human expression and feelings.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

With over five million records sold worldwide, singer-songwriter MIKA is best known for his hit single “Grace Kelly.” MIKA joins "Border Crossings" to perform live and to talk with host Larry London about his latest CD “The Origin Of Love.”