Teatro Colón de Bogotá

Son el ballet y la música clásica formas de arte excluyentes?

UNESCO: Exclusion in the Educational System… Are Ballet and Classical Music excluding art forms?

UNESCO believes that the exclusion experienced in the Educational System is much more than just leaving kids out of the classroom.

So I wonder: Since low-income children are unaware of ballet and classical music … Are these exclusive art forms?

When I look at the public objectively I would say, yes. Traditionally the upper classes, seeing as they have enjoyed a quality education and the necessary resources, have had access to and acquired a taste for art forms that evolved to be considered “elite”.

Art as a Social Barrier

Interesting subject. I also know that there are those who would like to use the arts as a virtual social barrier, making them out to be excluding.

They elegantly qualify them as “exclusive” … As if exclusivity, in the case of ballet, were a positive attribute.

In Colombia, I clearly see how parents use the cost of the Educational System, as well as some arts and sports, as a social barrier. They want their children to have an “exclusive” school environment.

Child Abuse

I am firmly convinced that the exclusion generated in the Educational System is another form of child abuse.

This includes lack of access to the practice and appreciation of all forms of art … like ballet and classical music.

If anyone (being able to do something about it) remains indifferent to these forms of educational and intellectual exclusion, they are as guilty of child abuse as those who instinctively engage in it in physical form.

It is in these social levels where we see alarming rates of child abuse and domestic violence. However, “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20, NIV). In these social classes, 1 and 2 (going from 1 – 6 according to DANE) there is no artistic and intellectual talent wasted; only a lack of opportunity.

The Opportunity

Festival Art Foundation uses the teaching and practice of classical ballet to raise the cultural and social level of children classified in levels 1 and 2, in Colombia.

They rescue them from potentially dangerous situations and child abuse — like a mother who forces her young son to steal food in supermarkets, marking this the future of that child … her own son.

Thanks to the intervention of the Foundation, this case has a happy ending: The protagonist learned classical ballet, competed in international circuits, gained acceptance in the best ballet schools in the world and now has a promising future.

Thanks to this opportunity, a small Colombian boy destined to be a delinquent in prison or die violently and prematurely, managed to have the possibility of becoming a ballet star, enjoy worldwide recognition and in its practice, take their families out of extreme poverty and lack of education.

I clarify to our readers who are unfamiliar with the socio-economic scale that is used in Colombia; the social classes 1 and 2 are classified under extreme poverty.

The Paradox

The paradox is that those who would have preferred that ballet would be inaccessible for classes 1 and 2, in Colombia, will enjoy these future stars, in the best venues in the world, in just a few years.

Maybe even feel for these excluded children, the same kind of “national pride” that they now feel for the stars of Colombian soccer.

Is it, or is not, a contradiction?

UNESCO: Exclusion in education system

Exclusion in education does not only mean “out-of-school children.” It has many forms and expressions.

Exclusion from having the life prospects needed for learning;

Examples: living under conditions inadequate for health and wellbeing, eg. inadequate housing, food, clothing; living under limited security and safety.

Exclusion from entry into a school or an educational programme;

Examples: unable to pay entrance fees and tuition fees; being outside the eligibility criteria for entry; dressed in ways considered inadmissible by the school.

Exclusion from regular and continuing participation in school or an educational programme;

Examples: school or programme too far to attend regularly; unable to continuously pay for participation; unable to spare time for attending school due to other life demands; school or programme closed down; illness or injuries.

Exclusion from meaningful learning experiences;

Examples: teaching and learning process not meeting the learning needs of the learner; teaching and learning process not corresponding to the learning styles of the learner; the language of instruction and learning materials is not comprehensible; learner goes through negative and discouraging experiences at school or in the programme, eg. discrimination, prejudice, bullying, violence.

Exclusion from a recognition of the learning acquired;

Examples: learning acquired in a non-formal programme not recognized for entry to a formal programme; learning acquired is not considered admissible for a certification; learning acquired is not considered valid for accessing further learning opportunities.

Exclusion from contributing the learning acquired to thedevelopment of community and society.

Examples: learning acquired is considered to be of little value by society; the school or programme attended is seen to have low social status and is disrespected by society; limited work opportunities that correspond to the area of learning acquired, or limited work opportunities in general; discrimination in society on the basis of socially ascribed differences that disregards any learning acquired by the person.