A Body Talk session for school children (Photo: Nagesh Polali)
There are no techniques taught here and no sense of right or wrong.
Children are free to express their thoughts through their bodies and expressions. At Body Talk, each child is given the freedom to be creative and to explore any sphere of creativity.
“We create an atmosphere of ‘no judgement’,” says Preeti Sunderajan, facilitator of Body Talk, a scientifically developed creative module based on the performing arts that is being run in a few schools in Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Body Talk is for children in the age group of three and eight years and it works on the principle that children primarily experience the world through their bodies and their sense of self is strongly connected to how comfortable and at ease they are with their bodies.
This method of self-expression enhances self-esteem and thereby the child develops a positive attitude and imaginative ways of learning.
It also fosters holistic development—physical, motor, emotional and social.
“The ability to be creative with one’s own body through movement and dance, fosters problem-solving skills, develops a positive self-image and nurtures a healthy personality. When the body is opened up to a new range of movement and possibility the ‘self’ also grows more open, more creative and more expressive,” elaborates Preeti.
“Since most of these children have difficulty in verbalising their thoughts and opinions, this programme, which is conducted at the pre-primary and primary stages, gives them the space for self- discovery and exploration through body movements,” adds Preeti.
Body Talk module takes its roots from classical dance thus giving it a framework and structure. “Dance and children are two things I love the most. Body talk is very close to my heart because it has been carefully thought off and combines dance, theatre and music. The most satisfying moment is when I see the joy on the children’s face and the freedom they feel when they are allowed to express themselves. I have believed that creativity is as important as learning any subject. Making it a part of our everyday life is what I would like to achieve through Body Talk,” says the founder director of Shiri, a dance trust, which has developed Body Talk.
Children learn movement patterns as readily as they learn language.
Body Talk is now being recognised as a well laid out curriculum that focuses on complete child development according to the needs of today’s world.
“We’ve put in a lot of research in this project. The whole idea is to stimulate a child’s expressiveness. The Body Talk workshop includes workouts that have been inspired from Kalari, yoga and puts movements and kicks together to form a methodical programme. I think classical dance is a great art form to teach children, because it’s important to have something more rooted,” says Preeti.
“The ability to be creative with one’s own body through movement and dance fosters problem-solving skills, develops a strong self image and nurtures a healthy personality,” Preeti adds.
Words of appreciation have also started pouring in. Actor and social activist Amala Akkineni says, “This is something unique and different. I appreciate the way they have used dance, music and theatre as a means for children to be more expressive and creative.”