Students and the Master
In a mudra
Salaam Baalak Trust put up a dance show last week. It was out of the ordinary performance compared with performances by children from NGOs, that I have typically seen. The youth at Salaam Baalak (mostly kids who either do not have parents or have parents who dont want the kids) were trained by Astad Deboo in modern dance. The performance was brilliant and quite comparable to professional troops from Europe and Americas!! As Astad himself said on the stage that the students had shown immense persistence, hard work and picked up the 'modern dance vocabulary' in a very short time of 4 months. Astad lives in Mumbai and these youth are a mix of girls and boys spread over various Salaam Baalak homes in Gurgaon and Delhi. So Astad had to come periodically to train these youth. And the outcome is amazing.
So then what is so special here?
Let me begin with what I saw -- there were 20 youth - girls and boys who were dancing on the stage like professionals. The demeanor and whole attitude represented confidence and satisfaction in self -- a clear 'am equal to you' feeling. And this with a short training of 4 months. Some of those youth are now going to get into professional dance units and make a career out of it as well. The earning in this profession starts at what a typical Engineer gets on graduating after 4 years of study.
I am thinking that we have been really working hard to give all left-brain skills to the underprivileged with the assumption that such training will raise their being, make them employable, and move towards equitability with the rest of us. The process is slow, and quite frustrating.
But here it was right brain activity and completely broke all barriers that might have been perceived. It appears that right brained activity is accepted much more readily and creates self-confidence and self-esteem. Of course they are being trained by Astad Deboo -- that does make a difference. But when I start looking at cases where students have taken up right brained activity they have actually been more successful -- whether it is photography, or dance or painting or even puppeteering. Salaam Baalak actually thrives on such.
This is a point I would appreciate inputs on.