Until a few years ago, dance, music, theater were limited to fun activities and theses or library books. It was as if our unique cultural identity would soon be diluted by the influx of media. Though over the years the importance of performing arts has been debated and discussed many times and the importance of teaching these arts to Indian youth cannot be undermined, but nothing much has changed.
Digitization has resulted in the influx of various media forums and the perception of the arts has started to change with what is seen and heard in the name of the arts. The youth are constantly bombarded with visuals of Bollywood songs and music videos that dilute and alienate the original art forms; even schools and colleges encourage performances of songs, dances and plays around them; it becomes even more crucial to re-emphasize our cultural and artistic awareness.
Educators have realized the intrinsic value of the performing arts in curricula and also as stand-alone courses. Performing arts cannot be limited to role-playing or a little dance; the versatile and transferable skills acquired through them are important. The pedagogues emphasize that learning the performing arts nourishes the mind, body and emotions, in a collaboration, essential to live well and face the adversaries of life. The performing arts might have seemed fun and a bit challenging, but eventually the belief was restored. There is no doubt that it not only sharpens the learner’s creativity, stimulates intelligence, but also teaches compassion and empathy. This leads to a better understanding of humanity, making performers/learners critical thinkers. By studying and learning the performing arts, students gain vital skills for the future: critical appreciation and knowledge of artistic techniques, and insight into the cultural nuances of dance, theater, music.
Through various studies, over the years, performing arts have been proven to encourage learners to explore their emotions, expand their imaginations and build their own unique voice. Music, dance and drama synchronize a learner’s brain, body and emotions in many ways and build their confidence and help them find joy in self-expression, thereby broadening their horizons.