- Title: Venezuelan musicians and dancers reach kids online amid pandemic
- Date: 1st July 2020
- Summary: VARIOUS OF OJEDA WATCHING TABLE AND SITTING ON GROUND DIRECTOR OF IMAGIRODANZA ACADEMY, CARMEN VIOLETA PEREZ, AT INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DIRECTOR OF IMAGIRODANZA ACADEMY, CARMEN VIOLETA PEREZ, SAYING: "We will have to rethink our offerings, but we will continue to do things for children, because we believe that it is very important to attend to them in these times of uncertainty, to attend to their symbolic needs, to their emotional and creative needs, not just attending to their bodies, health, and food. Their needs have to be covered but also their emotional needs have to be attended to."
- Embargoed: 15th July 2020 15:24
- Keywords: COVID-19 Venezuela artists children coronavirus dancer lockdown musician quarantine storytelling
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Reuters ID: LVA004CKZ945J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: With Venezuela now three months into a coronavirus quarantine that has kept children locked inside, artists including music teachers and storytellers are for the first time taking their classes on online.
Moving online is an uphill battle in the South American that suffers constant blackouts and where almost half of households are not connected to internet - which is one of the world's slowest.
Artists have taken on the challenge anyway, worried that children are not using their imagination to develop talent and that there is still uncertainty as tow hen they will be able to visit concert halls or meet under the shade of trees.
United Nations children's agency UNICEF has noted that children learn by playing and have recommended that parents play with their kids each day in the home.
After preparing a youth dance program that was set to include a performance at a Caracas theater, dance troop Imagirodanza now teaches classes twice a week to girls and their mothers in virtual classes.
Imagirodanza director Carmen Perez, 51, had a group of daughters and their mothers drape sheets on their backs and imitate birds as part of an online classes.
The quarantine has forced the group to reinvent itself "so that we didn't become irrelevant," Perez said.
Story tellers now film themselves reading children's tales from their balconies and send the videos to families and schools that hire them to keep their children motivated during the extended lockdown.
Nury Delgado, 53, of storytelling group The Enchanted Frog said she always "told stories outside, I had never done anything digital."
Many now see the online world as being the reality for children in the near future.
Education Minister Aristobulo Isturiz in June said in an interview that classes could start in October as usual, but added that if the pandemic gets worse "we have the option of starting in January," leaving kids in their homes for the rest of the year.
Without physical classes, some 40 percent of children are at risk of missing out entirely on education because their families do not have sufficient connectivity to participate in classes or recreational activities online.
The Children's Museum of Caracas during the pandemic created a WhatsApp channel for the first time to broadcast audio stories. They also promote talks and experiments on social media, at times attracting more than 1,000 viewers.
Luis Alfredo Sanchez, 33, a trumpet player for the prestigious Simon Bolivar National Orchestra says the quarantine has shown that virtual learning is a viable even for music.
To pique the interest of kids in taking classes, he filmed a video of himself playing the Star Wars movie theme using different trumpets, yielding 8,000 Instagram views.
He cannot listen to students practice in real time due to slow internet. Instead, he asks them to send WhatsApp voice notes with recordings of the pieces they are practicing and responds via another voice note with his evaluation.
(Production: Johnny Carvajal, Efrain Otero, Liamar Ramos)
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