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 Post subject: Stereotypes
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2000 1:53 am 
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in another thread, <B>basheva posted</B>:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I am posting this separately - because it is a very sensitive issue - but one that I think needs to be talked about. For several years I taught in an area with a very mixed enthnicity. Every racial group was represented. We had gotten a grant and were able to present a full range of ballet classes for $1.00 per lesson. I ended up teaching 7 classes per week, using an elementary school and this went on for 7 yrs. I was very happy to do this. It was in a neighborhood where dance lessons were never considered by families - they just couldn't afford it. <P>The classes were very successful and were a real joy to me. I found no difference between the various races the children represented - in hard work, focus, interest, politeness, - except in one area. It was very, very disconcerting to me, that every once in a while - a child would come in that had been taught to view me - because I am white - as an "enemy". It made me terribly sad- and I have never forgotten it. <P>The children in which I saw this attitude were very young - 5-6 yrs old. So the attitude was not from their life's experiences - it was taught at home. In each case, as I met the parents (usually the mother) - this was borne out. <P>What made me especially sad - was that to instill this attitude in a young child perpetuates a problem - and places the child at a distinct disadvantage. It doesn't allow her to partake of what is offered by the teachers around her who are not of her race. Through life she will be surrounded by people - teachers, employers, employees, neighbors - of a different racial group and she will already have formed a negative opinion of these people. I think she will be the loser. That is very sad. <P>Children not only bring into the ballet class the behavior patterns of their parents, but also the prejudices - and the ballet teacher might not realize that before class even starts - she is the "enemy". <P>As I said not all have this "attitude" and in some cases since I already had several students of this racial group who knew me well - they spoke to their fellows - and said that "I" was ok - and in some cases therefore the attitude changed. I was no longer the "enemy". <P>There is so much that goes on in a ballet class besides just the dance.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>------------------------------------------------------------------<P><B>j then responded:</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I teach in a town that has been written up world wide as the place to live if you are looking for racial diversity, but there are 3 large studios in town,neither is diverse. i wonder if it's an unconcious decision on the directors part, or the parents who look into where to enrol their<BR>children<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><I>the rest of j's response, which pertains also to the original thread, is still in THAT thread.</I>

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 Post subject: Re: Stereotypes
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2000 1:56 am 
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<B>basheva's</B> subsequent post:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>J - a private studio really doesn't have the ability to make its population diverse - they can't make students come in - its a totally voluntary thing. A school district can make a population diverse - but not a studio. <P>Some racial groups don't see the ballet as part of their heritage. Principal dancer of NYCB Arthur Mitchell - a black man - had a great deal of difficulty getting black kids to take ballet lessons when he offered free lessons in Harlem. Eventually he was successful and created the wonderful Dance Theater of Harlem ballet company. But he had to fight against the notion that black people didn't do ballet. And on the other side of the coin those black kids that that did take ballet lessons, like Judith Jamison (prima of Alvin Ailey company) who was a marvelous dancer was not hired into all white companies. As I understand it, Arthur Mitchell was the first black hired by a major company. So the bias went both ways.<P>I am sure that there are still many who don't view the ballet as part of their heritage. As I see it, in this country - we all benefit from sharing those heritages. You can only do your share when the opportunity arises. That's hard to do in a studio situation when the people don't happen to walk in the door.<P>In my case a rather unique opportunity presented itself through a grant from a private foundation to offer classes in a neighborhood in which there was no ballet at all - and most of the families could not afford them. But it is not always a problem of economics - but of point of view.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>and <B>stuart's:</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Basheva said:<P>"J - a private studio really doesn't have the ability to make its population diverse - they can't make students come in - its a totally voluntary thing."<P>While it is a voluntary activity, it seems to me that there are things that a private studio can do if they wish to have greater diversity. <P>Outreach through advertising, flyers and drawing attention to positive role models, like Albert Evans, may overcome the barriers that a school with a single ethnic group unwittingly erects against other groups.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: Stereotypes
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2000 1:58 am 
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j - can i just ask about this:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>there are 3 large studios in town, neither is diverse. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>what do you mean by this? do you mean that certain racial groups go to (only) one or the other studio in your town? or that some groups just don't go to a dance studio at all? or what? sorry to appear so dense! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Stereotypes
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2000 4:12 pm 
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the studio were unintentionally segregated by race.i did study at one because the director, with amazing credentials,taught and adult class. I didn't feel any different than i did in any other classroom. this is kind of a strange subject for me. i feel art has no divides and common interests bring people together,i didn't go to the studio and think,"wow, i'm the only caucasion in class, i was just interested in a class,also my theory on what seperates the men from the boys, you want to dance, you'll go whever it's happening and make the class work for you<BR>


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