Human beings use numerous forms of communication that complement words and language. Be it “visual” or “performing”, Arts are one such form that encourage the translation and sharing of one’s thoughts and feelings. I witnessed their expression in the form of Music and Dance at the Annual Children’s Show held on Saturday, 18th of November 2017 by the Mahatma Gandhi Institute’s School of Performing Arts. The incredible talent on display from children aged between 7 and 14 years was breath-taking and incited the thought that we ought to share the joy experienced from Music and Dance.
I found solace watching the synchronized movement of those children, dancing to the tune of Music that evoked love, peace and harmony. In fact, those elements came to light even more when contrasted with the plight of children suffering from abuse and poverty. I believe that it is our duty to bring balance through positive efforts. For instance, the excellence of teamwork behind the exhibited choreography and the accompanying musical performance was tangible. It brought to the fore those who work tirelessly in the background – good and dedicated teachers. Details such as the children’s impeccable attire to the whole show’s organisation highlighted the discipline that must have gone from the teacher to the student, and to everyone around them. I was filled with joy to see the work of good educators come to fruition. Mauritians should be invited to witness shows like the ones held at MGI, safe in the knowledge that some, if not all, of our children have access to quality training in Music and Dance.
It is precisely the above notion that I would like to convey as a message and as a wish. The quality of performance demonstrated by the children at MGI should be shared with as many children as possible across the country. Music and Dance are not simply “extra-curricular” activities as many of us have been made to think, but tools that enhance intellectual development, as well as outlets that encourage healthy emotional and physical growth. According to Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, “Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.” Beyond this right, children should have access to musical and dance training not as a privilege, but as an essential part of their education. As such, I believe that MGI’s School of Performing Arts can lead the way in training identified teachers from schools and other educational institutions throughout Mauritius in the view to sharing Music and Dance as forms of Art to children.
As part of my life-long battle to uphold children’s Rights and well-being, giving our children access to quality and holistic education is of utmost importance. “Music enhances,” as highlighted in Dr V. D. Koonjal’s message about the show, “the education of our children by helping them to make connections and broaden the depth with which they think and feel.” We can agree that most of the economic development that we want to bring about in our country is largely for the benefit of our children. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Indeed, let us take care of our children and give them tools that will help them grow. The teachers at MGI did just that with their students through Music and Dance. The ray of hope that glimmered on Saturday needs to shine longer and brighter. Children, as the very core of our families and extended community, need to have access to holistic education, that encourages them to learn, all the while extending their cognitive abilities beyond intellect into the realm of spatial, musical and artistic exploration.

 

Rita Venkatasawmy