You can read a story in a book, watch a video online and hear a professor lecture on the subject, but to truly understand the arts from cultures across the globe there’s no better way than to experience them first hand. The purpose of the 3rd Annual World Music & Dance Festival and Concert is to bring the arts from around the world here to Athens, Ohio for students, faculty and staff to get a taste of music and dance from across the globe.
“I realized; they have no clue. They don’t know anything outside of their hometown, outside of Ohio, or outside of the United States,” said Dr. Paschal Yao Younge, one of two directors of the event.
The festival started Wednesday, January 23 and will go until Friday, February 2nd. The festival consists of nearly 30 different workshops free for all students, faculty and staff to attend. The workshops range from Japanese Taiko drumming to Italian dance. On Wednesday, January 30th a Latin American and Caribbean Culture/Arts open forum will be held in the Walter Hall Rotunda from 2:00-4:00 p.m. This event features professors from the University speaking on the topics of the politics of music in Guyana, Cuban and Puerto Rican cultures and culture and the environment in Brasil.
A Global Excursions concert will then conclude the festival on Saturday, February 2nd at 7:30 p.m. in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. The concert will exhibit various musical and dance performances from Guinea, Italy, Trinidad, Spain, Ukraine and more. Students, faculty and special guests from around the globe will be partaking in the concert. The concert is free for OU students with a valid student ID.
Dr. Yao Younge and Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge were the founders of this program at Ohio University three years ago. After arriving to Ohio University, the two recognized a fault in students needing more than what they were getting in the classroom to get a well-rounded experience. Since then, the two have stressed diversity and getting an academic experience outside of the classroom.
“It gives the students a chance to bring to life what they’re reading about,” said Dr. Badu-Younge. “If they’re reading about it and they’ve never experienced any of it and only watched it on video, it’s not going to give you the same experience as actually engaging it yourself.”
After the event was so successful in the past two years, the directors hope for the same kind of positive feedback from the Ohio University community. As long as the two are here, they plan on continuing into the future with the event and even expanding to include theater and the visual arts next year.
“The world is changing so fast; globalization is taking over. There is no way you can survive if you’re only stuck in your own bubble,” said Dr. Yao Younge. “You have to go beyond the classroom. Go beyond the syllabus.”
For more information please visit http://www.ohio.edu/finearts/whats-happening/events.cfm
-Ashleigh Mavros, Events Publicity Assistant