Indian Performing Arts- Where are the audiences-the founding of Anant Naad Foundation

first_imgDear friends & fellow readers!This post is part 2 and continues from my earlier post, dated 6th May 2020.In March 2015, I started my own music school in partnership with someone who had been running a Music School franchise earlier. This was a high-end music school franchise located in a prime area of South Delhi. My son was one of the first students!And the enquiries for learning music and dance started to trickle in. The enquiries were made up of a few distinct segments of prospective students.The first segment was made up of Children whose Parents were looking to develop a hobby for their child, Parents who were primarily upper-middle class and a few rich ones (the real rich ones still prefer the teacher coming to their homes), Parents who wanted to wean away from their child from the Video game and TV addiction.The second segment was of Children who were interested in Music and Dance, but their preference was Western Music, Musical instruments like the Guitar and the Violin, Children who could hum English songs and studied in the Private Schools of South Delhi. Interest in Indian Classical Music or Dance was limited if any. Dance forms that interested this segment is what we call Bollywood Dancing or Contemporary Dancing.What I found very interesting was the third segment. These were Children with a keen interest in Indian Performing Art forms, be it Kathak or Hindustani Vocal with its myriad Ragas or even Tabla. These kids were primarily from socio-economically underprivileged sections of our Society, mostly studying in Government Schools. Most of these children were very talented, could hold a tune and through practice had learnt some of the classical dances from Bollywood movies.The Parents of this third segment were keen-eyed and excited to get the Child to develop a happy life skill in a small group setting, something more than they could genuinely afford. Both the Parents and the Child would be immensely disappointed with crestfallen faces when they became aware of our fees, though we used to deep-discount it for them. Some would still find a way to pay the fees, maybe for a few quarters. We instituted a few scholarships to get some of the highly talented along.There was some level of mix and match of profile in each of these three segments; these were not so cleanly delineated as described above.Once the Child converted into a Student, Children from each of these segments showed different behaviours.1. The first segment: Rich Parent-Child disinterested in Music and DanceA few of these Children would develop a love for Music and Dance. Most of the others would have patchy attendance and would drop off over time, the disinterest rubbing off on the parents.2. The second segment: Middle Class/ Rich Parent-Child talented and interested in Western Music or Contemporary DanceThese Children did well; typically, their skills will get honed and they would develop a happy life skill in Western Music or Contemporary Dance. Their interest in the formality of Music Education, of getting a diploma or a degree would be limited and many a time, exams and school education will overtake their schedule and then it would be too much of an effort for them to come back.3. The third segment: Socio-economically underprivileged family – Child with talent and interest in Indian Classical Performing ArtsThese students were in a different class altogether. They would be extremely regular, and as Indian Classical Performing Arts require immense practice, they would be at it. These Children would do every class and then a few more, hoping that their Parents will pay up. Their learning would be dramatic till one day the Parent can no longer afford it.For any performing art form, you require a sponsor, a talent and an audience and the three are tightly connected.In earlier times the patrons of Indian Performing Arts were the Maharajas, the Rich and the Haveli-walas. Who are the current sponsors/ patrons of Indian Performing Arts? Bollywood? The Industry?And where is the Talent going?And the Audience? How does it learn to appreciate these tough and complex performing art forms? Are these art forms too rigid and have failed to evolve for the times?Why do tickets for a Dua Lipa or a Jonas brothers concert get sold out at exorbitant sums, but nobody wants to listen to an equally good classical singer?This brings me to the third phase of this journey, which I will cover in part 3.last_img

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