Culture and sport
Culture and sport
On day two of the Educasport forum, a round table session took place to discuss the question: What are the synergies and links between sport and culture?
The round table was moderated by French philosopher and writer Jean Pierre Faye and included presentations from Nadège Deville, dance trainer and consultant at “Dance Prevention” or “La Prévention Dansée”, which uses urban dance to achieve educational goals and Elefterios Kechagioglou, director of the “Smallest Circus in the World” or “Le Plus Petit Cirque du Monde”, an acrobat school for young people from the impoverished neighborhood of Bagneux in Paris.
Much is written on the connection between culture and sport. It is undeniable that the two are linked and that culture has a significant influence on sport and the way it is played. However, how can sport influence culture? How can sport be used to promote positive changes in culture?
Sport helps build community
By bringing people together, sport plays an important role in societies as it builds solidarity and reminds us of the importance of being connected to a community. Acrobatics, Kechagioglou explained, is a way that young people from around the world are finding a way to connect with each other. Young people are looking for community, he continued, and they are finding it through sport.
“Acrobatics is practiced around the world,” Kechagioglou said, and it is uniting a highly diverse community through shared values. He added that, “Working together on the same team in sport provides a different experience than when sport is practiced individually.”
The panel discussed how sport and physical activity can be particularly effective in building community among marginalised groups. Capoeira and hip hop were two examples given of activities that have evolved out of systems of oppression; slavery in Brazil in the case of the former and the ghettos of South Bronx, New York in the case of the latter. These activities continue to unify and build community today.
Sport can change culture
Deville shared how urban dance is changing culture in the French region of Haute-Normandie. By mixing dance with debate, Dance Prevention is empowering youth to discuss often-avoided issues and providing a platform for them to voice their opinions.
Dance Prevention offers different workshops specifically addressing social issues such as gender inequality, addiction and verbal abuse. The dance is the way we get youth in the doors, Deville explained, and once we have them there, they are excited and highly motivated to participate in the debates.
The panel concluded that sport, both historically and presently, is being used as a tool to directly change culture and is helping achieve important social development goals among groups and in areas often missed by mainstream programmes.