The rhythm and the beats
He started out as a bank teller, had a short stint as a primary school teacher but this is not where his passion lay. Conroy B Wilson, executive director of ASHE on his rendezvous performing arts and how it can be a rewarding vocation.
“I was forced to learn music in prep school, but gradually I started liking it, as time went by I used to watch the music teacher and later used to practice teaching to benches and chairs,” says Conroy Wilson
The journey meandered through varied vocations and finally landed him at ASHE,
Performing arts is all about creativity, says Wilson, “it was in 1993 when I was introduced to ASHE and started the journey in performing arts.”
Wilson took his job seriously and went on strength to strength to build a name for himself and his company. Performing arts is not a cakewalk he says, it takes a lot of hard work, energy and creativity to make place for oneself and most importantly stay there.
Nature of the Work
The mainstay of the vocation is dance, dancers should have the ability to transform stories and ideas into rhythm using their body and expressions. A variety of dance forms are used for this. Many dancers combine performance work with teaching or choreography.
As a performing arts person, one is expected to do multifaceted things; musical productions, in shows, special events etc. It is job of choreographers, to create and develop new interpretations of existing dances.
“ There is a misconception that performing arts does not require training, some of the best performers have strong educational background,” says Wilson. “It is important to have some basic education,” he adds.
This is a very strenuous and demanding vocation. “People do not understand the hard work that is put behind making of an artist,” says Wilson.
Daily rehearsals require very long hours. Many dance troupes are on tours for most part of the year, which means that one has to be prepared to be away from home.
Since most dance performances are in the evening, the performers rehearse and the practice is during the day, as a result the working hours and often stretch late into the night.
Training varies with the type of dance and is a continuous part, “it is like going to the ocean to swim, one needs the requisite skills to be successful in this field,” says Wilson.
Training is an important component, if the dancer or the choreographer does not go through a regular training regime, Wilson asserts.
On an average dancers spend around eight hours a day in rehearsal, keeping their bodies in shape and preparing for performances. Their daily training period includes time to warm up and cool down before and after classes and rehearsals.
Because of the strenuous and time-consuming training required, some dancers view formal education as secondary. However, a broad, general education including music, literature, history, and the visual arts is helpful in the interpretation of dramatic episodes, ideas, and feelings. Dancers sometimes conduct research to learn more about the part they are playing.
There are numerous opportunities for those who want to pursue their career in performing arts. In the Caribbean region the booming hotel industry has a constant demand for performers. The burgeoning music industry also has thrown in opportunity for artitistes.
Most dance companies take their students in their fold; for the experienced academics is another opportunity to be explored.
Creativity and innovation are the key components in this area; if a person is not creative he will end up doing the same things again and again.
“One needs to understand that performing arts, contrary to perception, is not for anyone,” says Wilson. “It is for those who are educated, are willing to work hard and full of new ideas.”
Last updated: August 28, 2007
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