Ballet. Tap. Jazz. Contemporary. Lyrical. Hip-Hop. That's the basic core curriculum for many dance studios. While a well-rounded dance education is key for nurturing a well-rounded dancer, many times the idioms included in their training can lack, shall we say, cultural diversity. It's just the way things have been done and in fairness, there are only so many classes that can be offered and only so many classes the average child will take. The progression of including multicultural dance in such genres as African or Afro-Jazz, Indian, Latin, etc. however can potentially open the eyes of young dancers who may never have been exposed to it in the first place. We are a changing world and the dance world is no exception.
As studio owners, you are in a prime position to consider the inclusion of these kinds of dance classes and it's certainly time dancers are expanding their scope of vernacular and movement styles as well as the historical context in which they come. We ensure our dancers learn about ballet dance history and jazz history but that's usually where it ends. There are endless styles from around the world which can enrich their foundation as a dancer as well. Fusion of dance styles is seen at every turn. It is the future and training dancers in all forms is pivotal for their growth, particularly if they go on to dance professionally.
Now, while you may not be able to add a class into your regular weekly schedule, which would be ideal, there are many, many ways you can expose your kids to classes other than the basics. Bring in a Bollywood teacher in for a masterclass, have a month long weekend workshop series on African Dance. Offer a flamenco class once a month in place of their usual jazz class. Take dancers on a field trip to see a Chinese dance performance with a possible masterclass afterwards?
The ways to incorporate new dance style and broaden the multicultural scope are endless. The problem is, we often don't think to even try it. We don't place enough weight on the importance of it. Young dancers need to understand all aspects of dance not just from Western culture and that initial exposure, respect and appreciation starts with the training at your studio. The world is getting smaller and smaller and wouldn't it be wonderful to share that through dance?
Food for thought!
See you in the dance studio,