Today’s Solutions: May 16, 2022

It’s challenging to get 10 and 11-year-old children interested in ballroom dancing. It’s even more difficult—perhaps near impossible—when those children are Jewish and Palestinian Israeli citizens.
In 2013 Pierre Dulaine, world champion ballroom dancer now turned dance instructor, traveled to Jaffa, Tel-Aviv—his birthplace and the oldest part of the city—to teach a 10-week course in Latin dance with students from several segregated schools. The film Dancing in Jaffa documents the time Dulaine spent getting the Palestinian and Jewish children to dance with one another in a ballroom competition.

“This was the hardest project I have ever, ever done,” Dulaine says in his most recent Tedx Talk. As one the founders of Dancing Classrooms, an afterschool program that teaches ballroom dance at New York City public schools, he is used to struggling with boys and girls who don’t want to dance together. In Jaffa, his participants provided a much larger challenge.

“What I’m asking them to do is dance with the enemy,” he acknowledges in the film. Dulaine knew from the beginning what he was up against—but he also knows why he was successful.
According Dulaine, dancing with a partner forms a strong emotional connection. “You get to know that person in a way you cannot describe,” he says. “You get to feel their reaction to your touch, and your impression of them changes.”
By the end of the program, the Jewish and Palestinian children learned how to be compassionate towards one another because they could see the human beyond the differences that had originally kept them apart.
Perhaps with Jaffa as a model we can nip trauma in the bud. We can dance together and form connections now, so that we won’t have to heal later.
Top image courtesy of dancinginjaffa.com

Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Women’s health news: Spain to introduce 3-day “menstrual leave”

While some governments seek to limit women's access to safe abortions, there are some in the developed world aiming to do just the opposite and even go a step or two further. The Spanish government ... Read More

Volunteer scuba divers recover 25,000 pounds of trash from Lake Tahoe

While few other lakes in the United States can compete with Lake Tahoe’s clear waters, the country’s second deepest lake does have a trash problem. To address this, California nonprofit Clean Up the Lake has ... Read More

Standup comedy course helps support men at risk of suicide

Here at The Optimist Daily, we believe wholeheartedly in the power of healing through laughter, joy, and a positive outlook—and it seems as though the UK National Health Service (NHS) is on the same page. ... Read More

How to keep friends with different political views

There’s a lot to be gained from friends with different opinions. That said, it can be difficult to maintain friendships with people who have strongly held opinions, politically speaking. This is why the editorial team ... Read More

Regulators propose long-overdue changes to Community Reinvestment Act

Technology and commerce, unfortunately, always seem to move too fast for the law to keep up. Social media had already become a staple of modern culture before its functions and money-making operations could be evaluated ... Read More

How do massive flocks of starlings fly in perfect unison?

Have you ever watched a flock of birds fly, turn, and dive in what seems like perfect unison? You might look at this and assume that a lead bird is determining the directions of the ... Read More