Treasures On Display
When I think of a showcase, the first thing that comes to mind is that old cabinet at home where you display your most prized possessions, collectibles, or memorabilia in the hope that it influences someone’s perception of you.
At Slam Out Loud, our ‘showcase’ is a similar display of treasures; it’s full of art, colour, thought, emotions, and voices. The only difference? In our showcase, you’ll always find a place, even with all your imperfections. This is what our annual end-of-year showcase for our Pune school students looked like. While I could fixate on the 10 things that didn’t pan out perfectly at Kalarang, I want to talk about the things that stole my heart.
Faces Full of Wonder
Now, as a first-time event planner and full-time over-thinker, the stakes are always higher than what they are in reality. Our team spent many sleepless nights in preparation for this day. Was it worth it? 100%.
In the course of the showcase, I saw joy, tears, smiles, and hope on the faces of the children. Their faces lit up with wonder when they saw a selfie point, when they saw the artwork on display, the colourful decorations specially put up for their event, or Mansi beatboxing. Their faces continued to light up every time they walked up to the stage to perform in front of the audience. It was a full-circle moment.
Children have this innate ability to amaze, educate, and spread love, but most importantly, they have this look of wonder in their eyes. They made me realise that it doesn’t take much to fascinate a child; they already see the world with a sense of wonder. All you have to do is be there for them as they embrace the newness in the world, enable them to be fiercely themselves, and walk alongside as a guide as they discover all the possibilities out there for them.
Winning Hearts With Vulnerability
I knew that parents always want what’s best for their children, but I didn’t anticipate the extent they would be willing to go to make sure their children felt loved and appreciated. The beauty of this showcase was that it was a space that celebrated all voices, not just children’s. While our students owned the stage with their performances, their parents won our hearts with their vulnerability. They shared their hopes and dreams for their children with the audience.
The sight of parents beaming with pride and joy as their children took the stage will always remain unmatched.
While our students owned the stage with their performances, their parents won our hearts with their vulnerability.
I believe that as a culture, “art” is so guarded, and there is an assumption that it is only for the consumption of the elite or those who have trained in it. This creates a sense of inferiority, anxiety, or discomfort for putting yourself out there. At Slam Out Loud, our vision has always been to work towards dismantling or breaking down these barriers and embrace individual voices through art. Kalarang was one such wholesome celebration!
Building a Culture of Support
For me, the highlight will always be this one moment when the entire auditorium unanimously came together and encouraged this one student who froze mid-performance. At that moment, everyone in the auditorium simply wanted to be there for that one child, which will always be a memory that lives with me.
My hope for the future is that we continue to build this culture that supports children, fosters their talents, and welcomes them with all their insecurities, imperfections, and inhibitions. I hope that platforms like Kalarang are just the beginning of a colourful journey for children.
Do you see value in enabling children to find their voices? Do you believe in the transformative power of the arts? Then join Slam Out Loud in our mission to transform how arts education and socio-emotional learning happen for children from underserved communities in India.