Mali is at a tipping point of becoming a region with its cultural heritage in crisis. Always known as a culture with a strong history of traditional arts, an increasing fragile security situation combined with the rapid pace of globalization means that many of the traditions are disappearing. This project will construct a music and dance center to provide a place for local and international artists to study dance and music traditions and provide programming for local children and schools.
Traditions are vital to the fabric of a community as they define who people are and where they came from. African folkloric dance and music is the foundation of many African societies, but with globalization and the increasing fragile security and political crisis the rich cultural heritage that has been in existence for centuries is rapidly disappearing. This is of great concern in Mali as the disappearance of traditional dance and music means the loss of ethnic identities and history.
We preserve traditional music and dance by leading research trips with local artists to learn from the elders and implementing programs in schools to teach the traditions to the next generation. Or newest project is to create a dance and music center where we can support continued learning in the traditional arts with local artists working together to share information, movement, and rhythms. We also want to create programs working with youth particularly those from marginalized communities.
Until recently Mali has always been marked by a stable co-existence among ethnic groups. An increase in violent conflicts underscores the urgent need to foster a proactive environment that will encourage discussion and continue to support customs that promote living in peace. Teaching the younger generation appreciation for other cultures will support this effort. The long- lasting impact will reinforce cultural heritage among communities and help to stabilize the fragile environment.
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