Part of the mission of Rebecca Davis’ dance company is to use contemporary ballet to deepen the public’s knowledge of contemporary social issues. After reading US Marine Brian Steidle’s account of his experiences in Darfur, The Devil Came on Horseback, Rebecca realized the severe impact that genocide has on ordinary civilians and decided that genocide prevention should be a central goal of her life and her art.
Rebecca believes that performing arts have a unique and critical role in raising awareness about genocide, as “they can be powerful tools in eliciting emotional and memorable responses from observers… Dance can be particularly effective because it does not rely on words and thus transcends any language barriers… Everyone can understand and feel its message through a kinesthetic experience.” Rebecca and the dance company created a ballet based on Brian’s book, which they perform to raise awareness about the genocide as well as funds for Global Grassroots, an organization that supports social change for women in post-conflict societies.
Rebecca has also created programming aimed at fostering reconciliation in post-genocide environments. She has led dance programs in Rwanda and implemented a youth dance program in Bosnia-Herzegovina that is working to unite Serb, Croat, and Bosniak children.
The Rebecca Davis Dance Company will continue to develop projects that realize the organization’s goal of bridging the gap between the arts and social change. In addition to touring their Darfur ballet, they are working to build partnerships with advocacy and policy organizations and have established a youth dance training program between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Philadelphia.
Rebecca has also been accepted as a 2010 Carl Wilkens Fellow, a fellowship program dedicated to developing effective leaders for the anti-genocide movement.
For more information please visit www.rebeccadavisdance.com (external link).