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EJOTMAS: Ekpoma Journal of Theatre and Media Arts

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Dance for children: a functional education for national growth

CD Suru

Abstract


Dance for children is a functional education for national growth. This statement of fact was discovered and aptly applied by the traditional societies of Nigeria in time past to sustain the existing culture and tradition of the society and, to maintain growth and development of the child. Dance was a prehistoric tool for moralistic knowledge. At that time, in most societies, it was mandatory for every child to go through the process of cultural initiation, where the dos and don'ts vis-à-vis morals, mores and values of the society were taught and demonstrated afterwards in a dance performance. However, dance today is now looked at with disdain and impunity, not just by the modern and acculturated child but, by parents and the government as well. This is inimical to the growth of the nation. This paper, therefore, focuses on this emergent aridity and disaffection for dance by children as a career, and the attempt to reduce its significance to mere cabaret. It is aimed at redirecting, refocusing, and attracting Nigerians, particularly parents and children, to that neglected pillar of growth, the traditional dance, using dance for children, participant-observer, experimentation methodology of research, in children's theatre arrangement as paradigm. We discover that children love to dance and their interest in the art is an avenue for therapy and character moulding.

Keywords: Dance, Children, Functional education, Character, Growth, Development




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