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Building Bridges While Dancing in Jaffa

Building Bridges While Dancing in Jaffa

During International Education Week, we’re sharing stories of cultural understanding and education across borders.

His father was a Protestant from Belfast, his mother a Catholic Palestinian. From the very beginning, Pierre Dulaine has understood the importance of cultural exchange and international education. He began teaching ballroom dancing to New York public school students and became the inspiration for the movie Take the Lead, before he returned to his ancestral home, Jaffa.

Mr. Dulaine uses ballroom dancing as an educational tool, bringing Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli children together. The film, backed in part through a successful Kickstarter campaign, shows Mr. Dulaine slowing breaking down barriers between the children, battling cultural differences along with the more conventional pre-teen fears of cooties and the other gender. Over the ten week class, the film follows the heartwarming transition, watching these children grow comfortable with each other, laughing, dancing and building friendships.

The film doesn't promise the impossible that the samba could help mend decades of ethnic conflict, but Dancing in Jaffa does leave you with the hope that the children's new friendships could be a step closer towards larger ones.