This spring, I am inspired by the blooming city around us. One of the overlooked but indispensable aspects of New York culture is the subway. (And you might think I am trying to seem like a real New Yorker by mentioning the subway!) I discovered that you can find the most beautiful poems (part of the Arts for Transit movement) posted on the walls of those zipping cars.
My favorite of these poems is Grand Central by Billy Collins: two lines keep coming back to echo in my mind.
Lift up your eyes from the moving hive
and you will see time circling
under a vault of stars and know
just when and where you are.
These lines, which encourage us to pause and survey our bustling present, also remind me of the power of dance. Dance grounds us in a moment. Primitive yet sublime, it anchors us in the present. It is life-affirming and as the famous modern dancer Pina Bausch reminds us: "Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost."
At the Embassy this month, we celebrate dance through a three-part survey of the French-American contemporary dance world that is rooted in original editorial material and an anthology of texts. Our DANSE project grew from a rich and long-running exchange between choreographers, dancers, and presenters in France and the United States, with the goal of giving contemporary dance a more prominent voice. Through live performance, editorial material and dialogue, DANSE: A French American Festival of Performance & Ideas provides a platform for examining the ways in which dance informs our understanding of the world.
Along with poetry and dance, film heightens our awareness of the present moment with gripping stories, images, and sound. A new iteration of the Films on the Green Festival, which screens French films in six New York City Parks, has hit the beach in Miami this spring.
Films on the Beach is a project of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Miami, in partnership with Miami Beach Arts in the Parks. For the first edition of Films on the Beach, the festival will screen two vintage classics of French cinema, followed by two recent French films, both starring feline characters. All four screenings will be presented on the New World Symphony SoundScape’s 700-square-foot screen.
French culture has expanded to beaches and stages as well as into the digital sphere. I encourage you to check out our new Canadian sister site, FranceCanadaCulture.org, and watch a video clip announcing the site launch!
Whether you’re DANSing in New York or lying on the beach in Miami, I wish you a spring full of inspiring moments.