Celebrated Bharatanatyam dancer and dance education proponent, Geeta Chandran makes no bones about the lack of understanding on dance and music education by the school community in the country. According to her dance is not only a decorative art but an important tool of communication. “Dance is music, literature, yoga and poetry packaged in one and I feel appalled when people remark it was a good performance and leave it there.” Speaking at the German Book Office (GBO) event on children literature, Jumpstart on August 4 in New Delhi, Chandran who is also Founder-President of Natya-Vriksha and has done a lot of successful experience to set classic dances free of regimental thought of school, said that the way music or dance is taught in schools at best will make them an appreciative audience in future and not performers. Recalling her interactions with school principals and directors, she was very direct in saying that music teachers are accorded a low status in the school, which is understood by students as music being unworthy to go about because the ‘role models’ are before their eyes. “Today, most of these music teachers are ‘failures’ who don’t have self-esteem. They don’t perform or are not allowed or encouraged to perform. Barring the annual day and one or two odd events during the year, they are absent from the minds of school community,” she added.
According even a 10-min daily adherence to classic dance and music in school assemblies can work wonders for the children who are extremely stressed. Dance teachers need support from other teachers, if this has to become a movement in schools. And well-informed school managements is a key to dance and music education revolution that is more relevant than ever before.
In the same event, another doyen, Devdutt Pattanaik, author and mythologist who has penned down several interesting stories in modern context said children need to be told that stories are not always good. There is both good and bad to a story and this much be told to children.
JUMPSTART 2017 looked at learning from new, innovative perspectives to find ways to make it more integrated with life experiences