• BRINGING PACIFIC DANCE TO THE WORLD

Children in art do better

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The VOU school was featured in a story for The Fiji Times on 12 December 2014

Children develop a more analytical mind when they are engaged in art programs during their formative years. This belief and actual observation has fuelled VOU Dance Fiji’s children’s dance school program, its director Sachiko Soro said.

Mrs Soro says this is one of the reasons the company prioritises learning and development for school students. The dance pioneer made the comments ahead of the staging of its fourth annual school concert to be held tomorrow at the Suva Civic Centre.

This is the second one of the year for the fourth year going and Mrs Soro says this particular event showcases the smallest ever number for the school, with 100 students between the ages of three and 65.

One of a handful of independent dance companies in the country, VOU Dance has showcased Fijian versions of various dance genres including indigenous Fijian meke, hip hop, Jazz, contemporary and others.

“I just really think it’s important to get your kid into some form of art, any form of art actually gives children an opportunity to develop a questioning mind, to learn how to problem solve.

“If they’re going to create a dance, they have to think about which way they are going to turn, what they’re going to wear, what music they’re going to use, what they’re going to dance about and all these series of questions is so important towards developing the way we think,” Mrs Soro said.

“We find that children whose parents maintain an art component in their lives tend to do very well in school whereas the ones who get pulled out during exam time, not as well.”

Tomorrow’s concert will be particularly special as two choreographers in residence, one from the US and the other European have been part of VOU’s teaching staff for the term recently ended.

Kevin Yee Chan (US) and Simone S Wierød (Denmark) are the choreographers in residence, a program Vou organises each year to develop the company’s dance repertoire.

“Residencies provide a two-way learning opportunity for the teachers and the students. For the teachers, it is the path to growing their choreography career and also a bigger opportunity to have dancers producing their work,” Mrs Soro said.

Yee Chan said while he was excited to be working with Fijian students, he was also more grateful to be able to learn from them.

“As artists, we never stop learning and growing. Part of being an artist is being open to new sources of inspiration and adding them to your toolbox for growth. This has been a vital part of my work as a choreographer thus far.”

Tomorrow’s concert will be held at 7pm at the Suva Civic Centre and tickets are $5 at the door.

* Lice Movono-Rova is a freelance writer for An Islandher.

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