Vandana Hart – a Global Ambassador to the UN, EU and Diplomatic World Cultural Diplomacy Ambassador: Dance is the ideal ambassador for global understanding !

Vandana Hart – a Global Ambassador to the UN, EU and Diplomatic World Cultural Diplomacy Ambassador: Dance is the ideal ambassador for global understanding !

 

Vandana Hart is a Global Ambassador to the UN, EU, star of a Netflix top 10 series and now is on a mission to use dance to unite and inspire the world. She has traveled and lived in each region and worked for women’s and girl’s rights at the UN designing and implementing impact evaluated programs in over 30 countries. She is building a movement from the Netflix series and a mobile app to learn every dance move from each culture and country.

Vandana Hart has been appointed Diplomatic World, Cultural Diplomacy Ambassador. In her conversation with co-founder and director of innovation of the Diplomatic World Institute, Dieter Brockmeyer, she shares her vision of global celebration, unity, and prosperity, driven by the universal spirit spread by the emotional language dance.

 

It seems to you dance is not only an occupation. You seem to really live it with all your soul. What is dance to you?

To me dance is celebration, liberation, joy, it bridges cultures and it is a reminder of what we should cherish most and how people gathered around the fire cultures and circle cultures for a thousand years, now it’s subcultures on underground stages.

Dance, not the competition shows, but the circle culture, has the power to overcome class, race and gender divides and boundaries. It is the universal language bringing people together across borders. Dance is the ideal global ambassador for understanding and compassion.

 

Your most outstanding project right now is your Netflix series on dance. Tell us about it.

Well, this is one of the projects we are pushing forward. The documentary series is called “We Speak Dance” is distributed on Netflix worldwide. It is about dance, music, and culture and how people use dance and music to uplift people across the world, use dance to shape and change culture.

We already shot in Nigeria, Lebanon, France, Egypt, Vietnam. We show how dance intersects with women’s rights, refugee rights. In Lebanon we follow a male belly dancer across nightlife and across a Syrian refugee camp bringing the joy of dance.

In Nigeria we saw the connection between dance and revolution with Femi Kuti.

Our shows ranks among the Netflix top 10 shows because people want content that is inspiring and unifying, especially in times like these to provide hope for life.

However, the TV series only provides the base for our global dance platform, featuring all cultures and dance styles. We are launching a global dance app, the more you dance the more impact you make in the world. We are looking for partners and support to build this bigger moment of making dance leaders and ambassadors for the most important causes of the 21st century.

 

Before you launched these projects, you have been involved with the United Nations?

Yes, my team launched the UN Woman Safe Cities Global Programme. This was the first UN Women impact evaluated program on women’s and girls’ safety in cities across 30 countries and still is the flagship initiative for women’s right for the city.

We started in five piloting cities, New Delhi, Quito, Port Moresby, and Cairo.

I was living in Kenya and for the first time combined my passions for women’s rights and dance. I became a judge on “so you think you can dance” by dancing in a viral video. From watching the whole nation of Kenya dance, this is where I came up with the idea for the TV series “We Speak Dance”, and started filming the next week.

When we use dance as the language that connects us, we have trust within seconds which usually takes years, people feel fully human, and we design change from a place of empowerment instead of victim hood.

Now we are creating the next generation of dance leaders using their dance as a language to inspire and ignite action and make the invisible visible.

 

You sure are not only a dancer but also a traveler. In how many countries you have been living so far?

Let me see, it is quite a few: Among others, I have been living in Kenya, India, Egypt, Sweden, London, Paris, New York. I am in Mexico now. On one trip to South Africa, I was invited to a house dance party and traveled an hour out of Johannesburg to a harsh township over an hour away from the city center. It was rare to have foreigners there and there was a lack of trust in why I was there. So, I decided to just observe the party, but soon I became so overcome by the music that I jumped in the circle and danced. It became very bright, and I looked up, and everyone was filming me. They said, “Move here” “you are one of us” “build a dance school here” This experience validated the power of dance to unite and build trust within seconds verses endless conflict over lifetimes. If you immerse in the music and dance of a nation, you have a path to the heart and soul of the people.

 

In parts the history of your life resembles a James Bond movie. This also has to do with your family.

There are times I do feel like I am part of a spy thriller. I was born in Moscow in the time of the cold war, my mother is Russian, my father is American. He was a human rights activist trying to set religious and political prisoners free in the Soviet Union. My parents romance was in secret cafes as the masterminded the list of people to help free. My father was eventually not allowed back into Russia and it was not until my first birthday I got to meet him Stockholm where we arrived as refugees. He got us on a nuclear disarmament agreement between the two nations leaders, we were the first 10 families to be reunited during the Cold War.

 

You now decided to accept our invitation to cooperate with Diplomatic World. What do you expect from it?

I want to grow a million ambassadors of dance within the next few years all over the world. I only have about 1,000 right now. We need to get that spirit across, and this will only work within a cooperative network. We will need many partners from a diverse spectrum. You provide a unique network and reach a unique inspiring group of people. I believe this can become of mutual benefit and become a movement using dance as the common language.

 

Looking at what you already accomplished in your life there seems to be not much left for a new target. However, you do not seem to be fit for boredom…

(laughs) There is always much more to accomplish. Right now, I am working hard to push forward our global dance app where you can learn any dance move and culture from around the world.

 

And is there any place in this world you have not yet been but are longing for?

As a matter of fact, I have never been in Tokyo and that is definitely a place I want to visit. It has such a rich dance heritage and dance culture. I also would like to visit Eritrea, for the simple reason: It is not easy to get in. In my family we always loved challenges. And I have never been to Norway! It would be beautiful to revisit Sweden as an adult, the country that brought my family together for the first time.

 

Vandana, thanks for this conversation. We are looking forward to developing and expanding the cooperation with you and your organization.