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Tapping Into People’s Passions

Western Illinois University

A long-time modern dancer in New York believes people can make the world a better place by finding their passion and then using it to energize others.

“In African philosophical terms – very traditional – you bring the head and the heart and the gut together, said Dr S’thembile West, who now teaches at Western Illinois University.

We just have to find our unique energy... and how we can put that energy not only into our work, but then into the world

“Usually when we love something, it’s not because we thought, ‘Ooh, I might love that. So now I’m going to select to do that.’ No! We feel something, and then we try to make sense of it.”

West said she never thought she would be a dancer. She said she started out in health and science before she discovered her passion for dance.

West will give the 11th Annual John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture. Her presentation is titled, “Dancing Metaphors: Creative Self-Construction and Liberal Arts Education.”

She will give the lecture twice. It begins at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, September 4, on WIU’s Quad Cities campus, and then at 7:00 pm on Thursday, September 5, in the University Union Grand Ballroom on WIU’s Macomb campus.

The radio story

West said the speech will be personal and historical, though she stresses it will not be a history lesson.

West teaches in the Department of Women’s Studies at WIU, but she feels everyone is an artist, no matter their occupation.

“We just have to find our unique energy … and how we can put that energy not only into our work, but then into the world,” West said. “And I don’t mean that in some ethereal way but really on the ground.”