Cutting children’s art programs is stunting the future, says Christopher Wheeldon.
Wheeldon: I think ballet is a sort of-- I might have to talk more in general terms I think about dance, really. Dance is a way, is a meeting place for so much. You know, when you put together a performance, you are bringing in design elements, you’re sometimes bringing in narrative elements, and you’re combining that with music, with lights, and it’s the one art form that really kind of brings all the other art forms together. So it’s a great meeting place. It creates a lot of interesting dialogues between choreographer, composer, designer. So in that respect, it’s kind of, it can be sort of a wonderful kind of meeting point for different minds, and all coming from different disciplines. I think it’s an art form that helps people, if they open themselves to it, to understand how much you can communicate through movements, and it seems, feels to me like it’s a very healing art form. You know, we live in a pretty turbulent time, and there’s just something very delicate and gentle, and gosh, it’s so, you know, I feel so much for it, and I wish I could express more through words, but it’s a very difficult question to answer. I think kids need to be exposed to dance, again, because of how much it combines the different art forms. I wish there was more dance in schools. I wish there was more music in schools. I think one of the big mistakes of this country is to take those things away from the education system just because it encourages the brain to work in a very, you know, in a very broad way. Dance is not just about movement. It’s about music, and music is not just about music. It’s about numbers, and dance is a language, music is a language. Therefore, you know, it’s connected to speech, and to learning languages, and it just seems to me crazy that people don’t see this. People don’t see how kids that are exposed to the arts early on will grow up to be better people. Dance can touch the soul, it can affect you in a way I think that, I don’t know. We’re getting into really deep waters here. I’m getting into deep waters. My Sudafed is starting to wear off.
Recorded on: 5/22/08