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Mongolia’s Creative Class

December 12, 2010

What would have been a rather boring Friday last week, I instead spent observing the talent of my students. Admittedly, I ended up observing it for rather longer than I would have hoped as every single class gets its time on stage, but it was still pretty wonderful to be able to sit and watch my students sport their theatrical chops a bit—chops that I’d otherwise never get to see when we don’t really speak the same language.

It was a school-wide talent competition by class, with medals being awarded to the class that puts on the best acts as a whole. By the end, I’d heard plenty of Casio keyboard music given the Mongolian fondness for them as an instrument, but I was most struck by the creativity in the students’ comedy sketch acts and western/modern dance presentations. These categories of acts seemed to really have the students interested and inspired to create something original. I couldn’t follow everything in the comedy acts, but I knew enough Mongolian to glean a little here and there, and judging by the way they had the other teachers rolling in the aisles, it must have been pretty magnificent. The modern dance presentations were interesting as well, though some of them for different reasons. Let’s just say that the musical choices and choreography were generally not things you’d watch kids aged 10-15 do on stage in America without making Vladimir Nabokov blush. But, as I seemed to be the only one uncomfortable, I guess I’ll chalk it up to a cultural disconnect, because this was absolutely a family affair with proud parents lining up at the door to watch their kids strut their creative stuff. All in all, it was pretty wonderful to see.

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