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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Edition 6: School Social Gatherings or Bollywood Nights

Its gathering time again so cityblog talks to few parents, teachers to highlight certain anomalies that exist on school gatherings in Pune.
Glaring Lights, dazzling music, latest film songs , costumes and loud cheering!!! This is not the set of any bollywood night but an annual social at one the upcoming 'international' school in Pune witnessed by Parents, teachers and a very happy crowd of school children. Not to undermine the cute performers who have put in great efforts to put up the show, but the main question remained that why school gatherings turn into bollywood night. There are so many performing arts: classical dance, folk dance, drama, elocution, singing, playing instrument? Why do schools allow bollywood numbers?
“My daughter learns in Abhinav and we have tradition to have very inclusive and creative gatherings without any single bollywood performance. That requires a lot of participation from teachers, parents as well. Which I think is the bottleneck for many other schools”. says Dr Meeta, a parent.
There are many other schools who also share the same policy. But there are also sizable schools where annual social gatherings partly turn into Bollywood dance night.
Another reason can be that it's the parental and children pressure to do something very popular.
“Kids have many other forums apart from school gatherings to perform and they see lot of TV, so they feel great to do encore of a leading bollywood number or an act. Is it natural for elders to restrict these simple fun activities?” says Anita a collegian involved in choreographing such dances. She adds that she keeps steps simple and vulgarism is strict no-no.
“Dance can relieve tension and can be a source of joy .It is an art to be appreciated. As has been said by a spiritual person " Fire can give you warmth but can also cause fire". In some communities, dance is an offering to God and all girls in a family learn dancing in a home environment. Dancing is good but bad/vulgar dance is not the thing. Colleges/schools must moderate the form of dance and disallow any vulgarity.” says Dr Akhil Singh Professor(Retd.) If gatherings are to be moderated, we need to explore what to do and how we should go about it.
Bumping, grinding, twisting -- sometimes it can be difficult to tell a school dance from an over-the-top bollywood music video. A dance isn't school. It's entertainment, and most of us can recall a time when our idea of fun struck authority figures as a little too risqué. After all, dancing has stretched society's definition of decency since long before Elvis Presley's offending moves, and it will continue to do so when today's students shake their heads at their grandchildren’s antics. Still, it's called a school dance for a reason, and the establishment is responsible for what happens. So, what's going too far? But what about the dancing itself?
Whether we see it as creative expression . Many schools have at least some rules to groove by. But should the grown-ups be doing more?
'It's hard for children to differentiate between reality and fantasy. Most girls and boys mimic what they view on television which in most cases is a fictitious world. However they are unable to make that connection. Therefore, they do what they see and bring the secular world into the school. I think students should be supervised by a responsible adult prior to performing in a school event or activity. I also think that we (adults) are responsible for the children we teach.' Says Lata a mother of std VI and IX students.
“As a former dancer for 27 years and an educator who has coached the school dance team as well as just a highly opinionated citizen, I want to add my two cents worth. Let's face it; kids are always going to try to push the envelope on what is permitted. Adults are always going to want to set limits. That's natural and appropriate. By placing too much emphasis on external expression, we adults can miss the point of the process adolescents are going through as they separate themselves from their childhood and define limits for themselves. If we grown-ups set reasonable limits, then stand firm on consequences for going beyond them, a healthy balance is achieved. We do not have to be grossed out by behavior we deem unseemly, and young people feel their needs have been taken into account and they get half the pie, not the whole megilla.” Says Ritika an academician.
While majority of respondents said that there is no need for bollywood dances during school gatherings, and we should cultivate more classical and creative focus. Most of the schools in Pune are moving in right direction of setting standards and guidelines. That's the need of the day. “But question remains that schools may control these dances but what about reality shows where small children perform steps meant for adults. Also many parents are keen to emulate celebrity successes created out of these shows” says Pramila a grand parent.
This of course is beyond the school realms and something for caring parents to ponder over. We leave readers at this point and solicit their opinions which we promise to publish. Please mail us your opinion
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