Saturday, June 20, 2015

Music: A Universal Language

by Allison Armfield
Last night the class went to the teatro to watch a ballet version of “Romeo e Guilietta.” I have never been to a ballet before, but as an English major I am an advocate for Shakespeare; I have read and seen many renditions of this timeless piece and was interested to see a ballet interpretation. I remember reading Romeo and Juliet for the first time in high school, and again in college. I read the original early English with some difficulty, even though it is still written in my native language. I wondered how this dialect, preserved in time, could be translated into other languages such as Italian, and most likely in a modern context (is there such a thing as old Italian?) There is no way to convey colloquialisms because literal translations of many phrases wouldn’t make much sense. How much of the meaning is lost? This is metaphorical for the struggles I face abroad, trying to learn a new language and convey meaning to a different culture: many elements and nuances of communication are lost in translation.

While I was watching the ballerinas and listening to the music, I admit at first I was a bit lost: I was not tracking where in the plot line the ballerinas were, or what message they were trying to convey. Eventually I listened to the tone of the music and watched the mannerisms of the ballerinas. I realized that it didn’t matter; I was watching an interpretation of a timeless story and it was irrelevant that the actors and I spoke a different language. Music has a way of uniting people because the rhythms and emotions expressed are universal and have no language barrier. I looked around me and saw the theater packed with Cagliese of all ages. It was 11 o’clock in the evening and children were out watching this production. This is a community and culture that values arts, and I found the community support (including us American students) to be an incredible bonding experience. Momentarily, the language and cultural barriers we have been facing, were eliminated.