For Indian-Australian choreographer and educator Ashley Lobo, educating and mentoring aspiring dancers to find their place on the global stage is a big part of his life but he is equally pleased when children join his classes.
He tells: “They join to pursue a hobby but often discover a lifelong passion! When dancers start young, their bodies and minds are far more receptive and it is a joy to see them leap from one milestone to another. There is nothing wrong with starting late but if the basics have not been established correctly, it is harder for the student to grow to the next level of ease and expertise. Starting young gives dancers more room to explore genres and career options in the field of dance.”
During the lockdown, dancing helped many of his students to deal with the isolation and says to Ashley, “I can say this from experience that dancing is the perfect antidote to lethargy, negativity, and accumulated unreleased emotions. Even if you don’t want to pursue dancing as a career, it is a perfect creative hobby to expend energy, build confidence, develop stamina and a sense of rhythm from a young age. It is also a very healthy mode of self-expression.”
Lobo has a passion for dance not just as a transportive art form but as a transformative discipline for the young. Even during the lockdown, he continued to offer online classes and workshops to motivate students through his academy, The Danceworx.
He further adds, “As far as developing a professional mindset towards dancing goes, the younger the mind, the more receptive and open it is to learning. Also, the discipline you imbibe while dancing helps sharpen the focus in other areas of life, including academics. Your observation, concentration, ability to absorb knowledge increase because of dancing, and often you don’t need to spend hours studying when the mind can translate and interpret information much faster.
“Dancing brings a sense of fun with it but when pursued with commitment, it nurtures a sense of self, inculcates a work ethic, and prepares the young to take failure and setbacks in their stride. Dancing is a doorway to a strong and positive mind. And most importantly, it makes people fall in love with the “process” and not just the “results” that we so often become obsessive about “so why not start early”?
By Siddhi Jain