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The power of art

Lore Watterson is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Creative Feel Magazine

In this issue of Creative Feel, we celebrate a special uniqueness of Joburg and the many different developments that are revitalising the inner city. These developments are at different locations throughout the inner city, but they all have one thing in common: they are using the arts as a means to reinvigorate and stimulate growth and investment in the City. With cutting-edge architecture, the incorporation of public art, enticing living and working spaces, exquisite cuisine and a lively atmosphere, these spaces are turning the City into an artist’s and art lover’s dream. Through the power and positivity of art, this unique South African city is starting to see much-deserved upliftment and transformation.

The power of art editor's note
Nadine Sierra © Paola Kudacki

Dance can be an extremely powerful tool in changing mindsets and bringing about transformation. 2018 marks 40 years since Moving into Dance (MID) was founded in Sylvia ‘Magogo’ Glasser’s garage as a way to provide dance training to youth in underprivileged communities and equip them with the skills to overcome their socio-economic circumstances. Today, MID is a trailblazing, nationally acclaimed, professional dance company and accredited training organisation that has had a major impact on socio-cultural transformation and the economic empowerment of South African youth. Their Enable Through Dance programme is supported by RMB and the primary objective is to equip dance facilitators with the understanding and methods of inclusive dance teaching and choreography.
     As Michelle Constant commented about a recent production she saw: ‘Perhaps what knocked at my ribs (was it my heart pounding, I wonder) was a duet, featuring dancers Musa Motha and Thabang Mojapeli. Motha is differently abled – he only has one leg and dances with the use of a crutch. Possibly one of the most beautiful works I have seen in a long time, the dancer’s feline fluidity was deeply moving.’
     It’s not just here in South Africa that art is being used to create change. When young American opera singer Nadine Sierra, who has already performed at the Met, Teatro alla Scala, Opéra national de Paris, and the Staatsoper Berlin, recently released her debut album, There’s a Place for Us, with Deutsche Grammophon, she commented: ‘It is an album that I wanted to create to, yes, show myself as an artist. But with the things that we’ve been presented with in today’s world, especially in this country (America) – with certain messages being sent out into people’s ears – I wanted to just give people who listen to it a little bit of hope. I wanted them to know that if they do feel neglected by certain individuals, or if they feel shunned and ashamed by certain people who have great responsibilities and leadership in this world, that they’re not alone.

The power of art editor's note
Enable Through Dance project in action. PHOTO Herman Verwey

     ‘I too understand what it is to be singled out. I come from an immigrant mother. My mother’s from Lisbon and my father’s side of the family also came from elsewhere. As we all did. My grandfather basically swam here from Puerto Rico. So I just wanted to send out a message that no matter what the dilemmas we’re facing today are, there will always be, at the end of the day, a place for everybody.’
     She chose a selection of songs by Leonard Bernstein, who is currently being celebrated worldwide for the 100th anniversary of his birth, to remind us that while he was very well known for his music compositions and conducting, he is also remembered for his outspoken political views and his strong desire to further social change. For example, he broke down racial barriers in casting On the Town and addressed racial tensions in West Side Story, which are among his most-loved works.Editor's note

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