You have heard all the catch phrases about 2020 by now and know them well. Some inspire us to pull together and support each other “We are all in this together” while others send a message that imprints into our minds “Stay Home Stay Safe”. When these messages contradict each other “Get our schools and economy back on track” we can feel conflicted to say the least even as adults.
For Australian children and teens, these public messages and new rules combined with observations on how the adults surrounding them react have been at times unsettling. News footage of large numbers of deaths internationally, national and state virus tallies and communities scrambling for items from empty shop shelves have been observed by our kids in recent months. While children were learning online, the opportunity to have discussions about these issues lead by teachers or with friends have not always been possible. Families are busier then ever juggling home life with new work demands that are so different to the beginning of 2020. All this begs the question ……. how are our children and teens processing what they have been through, continue to adapt to and feel about their future?
One way is definitely through art. Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable”. Art enables us to express what we sometimes do not have the words to express. Art enables us to dissect an experience or feelings, abstract it into another form and release it. Art is also a healthy escape – especially dance. For children to be able to access an artform that they connect with is vital at times of stress. If that artforms is shared with like-minded people and includes a level of physicality then all the better!
Unfortunately, during financially difficult times funding to the arts gets slashed and our ability to learn and access art can become more challenging. Recently, our beloved ABC will cut many programs and staff due to reduced funding, community performing art facilities like Carriageworks have gone into Voluntary Administration and university arts degrees double in cost as a deterrent to study art at a tertiary level. The message is clear – art has slipped down the Governments priority list and this is not a new phenomenon in times of crisis.
What doesn’t change but increases are the individual and community need for art during these times. In isolation we became inventive in ways to source and express our artistic side whether it’s through technology, social media, at home alone or with family. Now, as restriction lift it’s exciting that we can once again access more opportunities for artistic expression.
As we take our next cautious step forward with a return to face to face dance classes we do this with a sense of optimism. Are kids have so much to express right now and also so much to simply release. On Saturday 25th July 2020 we will come together once again, and this time it feels a little more special – a privilege to commune in the artform of dance.
Happy dancing everyone!
Natasha is a mother of two girls and owner of Momentum Dance Studios in Sydney Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Education & Bachelor of Arts (Dance & Theatre). Natasha teaches in a local girls high school in the Creative & Performing Arts Department, is P&F Committee President at her children's high school and volunteers for local NFP organisation Learning In The Hills as dance teacher.
Follow Momentum Dance Studios via Instagram @momentumdancestudios
and visit the website www.momentumdancestudios.com.au