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Royston Maldoom: We should start with the arts

Kann man sein Leben in einer Tanzklasse verändern? Ja, meint der britische Choreograph Royston Maldoom. In seinen Projekten bringt er Schülerinnen und Schüler zum Tanzen. (© 2005 Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung)

  • Deutsche Textversion

    I was invited to come an make a project for the opening of "kinder to olymp" in Hamburg. They selected a school that was very enthusiastic, it's a "Realschule" and "Hauptschule" little bit on the edge of Hamburg. It sounded like an interesting project for me and it was the first perhaps major practical project that I actually did in Germany since "Rhythm is it!". For me it was a chance to come back and say "ok, there is more, come and have a look at it". The nice thing now was I felt a lot of people were interested – especially at this conference – so we can reach a lot of people.

    I always start with something where they can achieve something immediately because the rest is gonna be hard. But at least they have a picture what they're doing: It's not HipHop, it's not that kind of thing - but they say "it's exciting", and it uses the energy. And then every day right to the end, even before they went on stage, working on this essential focus is finding a place of stillness and quiet without you can do nothing, achieve nothing, go nowhere: That's 95% of my work here. Once i have it, maybe in the last days, then everything else I can teach. The projects – as far as I'm concerned after 30 years of experience – change lifes, very, very clearly. I have the evidence from people of many years ago, I've watched them and for each of these children I've seen the lifechange in three weeks. You see it in the eyes, you see it on the stage, you see it in the way they feel about themselves and if more opportunities come along: It doesn't matter if they dance again, that's not my issue. The issue is that they have a sense of worth and value and that they feel "we did something which nobody thought we can do including us. So when we meet the next challenges we're not going to fall away. We can say: 'Oh, I can meet a challenge'".

    Art and culture is what we call in english for me "pre-curricular". It's the first thing you do with anybody to prepare them for the act of learning. And the problem is we don't prepare and we have children locked away in a ghetto of schools and education for thirteen years. We say "go in there now, your're five or six, sit there for – in germany maybe twelve or so years – the rest of the world is going outside, but you're gonna sit here and we're gonna teach you". But if we're gonna teach them, they've got to want to learn. If they're going to want to learn, they have to have the confidence to learn, they have to feel it's valuable. We should start with the arts and keep it all the way through.

    We had many years literature in schools, we have music in schools, and for some it works. But we have to be honest: many young people leave school hating music of that kind or poetry or whatever. It's about how we deliver. I think we have to think about sharing passion. We have to make it passionate. We have to make it part of life. There is always a danger that if the teacher has not truely experienced for themselves the transformation and the joy that they can't transfer it. I think it has to be a relationship between artists who live the life and the teachers who understand the structure of the education system. I have seen so much evidence. It's written, it's available to anybody in education that introducing the arts but especially dance which is a very fast acting medium really effects the academic and sporting standards of pupils. Teachers are ready to testify. After three days the teachers at the school we're saying "there are things they have learned in three days that they cannot learn in three years". They said "these children are different already in the way they're socialized with each other and in their attitude to us".

    Redaktion:Tatjana Brode, Matthias Jung
    Kamera: Eileen Kühne
    Schnitt: Oliver Plata
    Das Interview entstand auf dem europäischen Kongress "Lernen aus der Praxis" vom 22.-24. September 2005.

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