Open Up Their Minds

I have am important meeting today in regards tothe dance program I am putting on March 27, 2010. Organizing events like this is time consuming but I get a lot of pleasure out of bringing people together. Good teachers never stop learning or pushing themselves and their students. Good teachers have and keep an open mind.  Why We Dance: Reaching the HipHop Generation 2010 gave teachers and students another perspective in liturgical dance.

This past weekend I spent some time looking up the lyrics to the words of songs that I plan to choreograph. I like the movement to have meaning. My second grade class is doing a tribute to Michael Jackson. I choose the beautiful song Heal the World. This song has some deep lyrics regarding people and the environment.

Last week I told you about a dance group I am working with who wants me to work with them. They gave suggestions of songs they would like to dance to.  I have to start by saying that I listen to the radio (WBLS, Hot 97 and Kiss FM) but not so much because I am always creating dances so I spent the time in my old car using my CD player.

When I looked up the words to our more popular R&B and rap artists I was shocked at their explicit lyrics. Where is the love? Much of the music is hard core sex, drugs and making money.  I didn’t run across any songs that dealt with improving society. I know that they exist but they aren’t played at lot on the radio or cable so our children gravitate towards the sex songs.  These explicit themes are reinforced by music videos.

The kids I met didn’t know about our great dancers such as Judith Jamison and Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham or the Nicolas brothers.  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers. Can I get an Amen anybody! Their favorite dancers were Usher, Chris Brown and Madonna. I’m not saying these dancers don’t have talent but they  include a lot of gyrating and extremely sexual movement in their routines. Thankfully they did know (and like) Michael Jackson but they  never heard of Sammy Davis Jr. or Gregory Hines. I didn’t even ask them about Mikhail Baryshnikov or out great dancers from other countries.

The community leader said we have to open their minds. When I meet them this week I plan to provide information on other types of dance. The one problem I find with our young people is that they are so limited in their experience and knowledge of the world.

I wonder if other dance leaders have similar problems and how they handled it.


One Response

  1. Important things to think about very powerfully expressed.

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