Is value of art explained in school?

One of this week’s uploads on artplayer gives ample food for thought – “Young people talk about Dance” by Culture Street reveals the primary school students’ perspective on dance and potentially on other arts. As part of making the video, they took part in dance classes in Newcastle. Reflecting on his new experiences at Dance City, one young participant is convinced that dance is not for him and not just because “it is girly” but because he thinks he cannot help people with dance whereas he could be much more beneficial to the society as a farmer – which is his dream profession in the future. The two cannot really be compared, but in terms of choosing between ‘practical’ and ‘creative’ paths this is a good place to quote the vice chancellor of Cambridge university: “Medical science can make us live to 90. If you haven’t got the arts and humanities what’s the point of living until 90?” (The Guardian, Wednesday 19 October 2011).

The dance teacher get asked how much she gets paid – “Very, very little”. We all know that the arts is for those with passion and not for making money, but maybe the low pay has something to do with the distorted understanding of the function of arts in human life compared to other fields and maybe this understanding starts at school?

The children definitely feel the sense of freedom and the ability to express themselves better that dance can provide as they describe their emotions. Let’s hope that these feelings will not be crushed by thoughts about ‘secure jobs’. One can do both, really.

Watch video here:

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Text by Kati Jagel


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