Chords & Swings: Incorporating performing arts with education for the rural children
Chords and Swings, a joint venture started by Sushma Chettri, the Director of Step Dance Sensation Academy and Sachin Pradhan, the Director of Cadence School of Rock, is a banner of education on performing arts which has been working indefatigably to raise awareness on performing arts in music and dance and has been working to introduce the subjects of music and dance, not only as curriculum activities but also as school subjects that hold higher educational values. They have introduced music and dance in numerous schools conducting classes, giving lectures and practical classes that culminate into theory and practical exams conducted by Chords and Swings overseen by faculties from all over the nation, and then a certification from registered schools of performing arts in the nation.
The organisation believes that in Sikkim, performing arts have hitherto only been seen as activities, educationally speaking, but they want to lift that veil of misapprehension and regulate these so-called curriculum activities into curriculum subjects that beget an educational value which spawn and branch out into career choices. They mostly want to introduce these subjects so the students have a sense of depth into these dances and music, further to act as an anchor holding them away from the tides of negative influences.
“If the kids don’t have any time to spare, if they are delving into their art, they won’t have any time left to get into substances and bad influence which are a surging evil in Sikkim”, Sushma says.
Chords and Swings have been regularly doing residential workshops in remote school areas of South and East Sikkim to encourage more rural participation and also to make the guardians of those areas aware about the career choices that the kids have in the field of performing arts.
The educational purpose of these workshops is to create a safe space devoid of judgement on the learning capabilities with an encampment of students in a week to a fortnight-long camps, where the kids learn to dance and play music but with that they also learn about companionship, working in a society, about fighting substance abuse and negative influences, and many more things that they can use as tools to help the community.
Chords and Swings have one main motive, which is to make kids of the future generation aware of performing arts as a career choice and an escape from ill effects of the societal evils.
Young monks learning guitars during the ‘Chords & Swings’ session
They began their residential workshop in Kabrey Secondary School, South Sikkim on 08 January 2020, and another one of their workshops starts in Temi Secondary School from 19 January 2020.
The sessions of these residential workshops include early morning Zumba and Yoga exercises followed by breakfast, intensive classes in their respective fields, group sessions, counselling sessions, playtime, etc. Speakers from different fields are called to give the kids an extensive motivational session to teach them how performing arts can be used to stay away from negative influences and harmful thoughts that may lead to mental health problems.
“We want to make them know about how the world works, to make them aware about the ugly factions in society, but also let them know that there is a remedy and it is art, we hope that the seeds we have sown will surely reap in beautiful flowers and tasty fruits”, quotes the Chords and Swings team.