‘Up with People’ gets down at the Dixon Center

By Jill C. Hindman
October 19, 2000

Jenine Ikeler

by Jill C. Hindman
staff writer

We all may dance to a different drum, but we all share “A Common Beat,” the beat of our hearts. Last Friday the performance of “A Common Beat” was presented by “Up With People” in the Dixon Center.

Color, music, constant movement and energy filled the gym from the very beginning of the show.

This performance portrayed the cultural conflicts that are common in our world today. The stage was filled with over 100 “Up With People” performers who represented four dominant cultures: Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

“It’s very energetic, I would come see it again,” senior Katie Burlingame said. “I would want to be in it.”

Color was used to display the uniqueness of each culture. Africa was represented with the color orange. Purple was the signature color for Europe. Green was the color for Asia and the Americas were dressed in blue. The members of each group wore traditional cultural costumes.

Through dancing the four cultures expressed their individuality. They showed that we fear what we are ignorant of. To some people, something unknown can be threatening. Therefore barriers are built and sometimes the barriers get so high and thick that breaking them down is a strenuous task. Sometimes we do not want to take the time to learn and explore new ideas. Adapting to change is difficult for many, but once a person takes the time to listen and try to understand the barriers break down little by little. This is what took place in “A Common Beat.”

“I came here because of a class, but I like it so much that I decided to stay,” sophomore Tim Maddox said.

The show was enjoyable to an audience of all ages. Some Radnor Middle School students whose families hosted “Up With People” performers were present at the show. “I think it’s very inspiring and I am enjoying the display of the cultures,” Katie Sparkes, a student whose family was a host to two girls, said.

“I love watching the girl that my family is hosting up on stage. It’s fabulous, I can’t say much more,” sophomore Dori Cutler said.

The dancers came into the aisles pulling the audience to their feet during the performance of Ricky Martin’s “Do You Really Want It?” It was a hand-clapping, tap-your-feet-to-the-beat kind of show.

The performers were excellent. They were in perfect four-part harmony. The message was so strong and the performance so bold and full of intensity.

“The cultures of the world are like a symphony, different notes playing together making it better, not diminished.” This statement, made by a narrator during the show, best describes the underlying theme of “A Common Beat.”

“A Common Beat” is performed all over the world. If anyone is interested in learning more about “Up With People,” or possibly becoming part of the organization you can visit their website at www.upwithpeople.com.

Sonja Bolten, who is from Germany and performs as a representative of Asia in “A Common Beat,” said, “You never have so many opportunities in your life again.”

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Jill C. Hindman

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