Teatro del Lago

By Bader, Uli | ReVista (Cambridge), Winter 2016 | Go to article overview

Teatro del Lago


Bader, Uli, ReVista (Cambridge)


TEATRO DEL LAGO IN FRUTILLAR IN THE SOUTH of Chile offers spectacular views of lakes and volcanoes. This natural setting has attracted international and Chilean artists, ranging from Yo Yo Ma to Gil Shaham to the Bamberg Symphony, and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas.

When my team and I inaugurated the theatre in November 2010, we saw it only as a performance space, one that would be able to nurture an entire region with creativity and a new quality of life.

In the original concept, education did not play a large role. However, quite early on, we discovered the importance of educating through music. Teatro del Lago now manages an arts school with musical instrument classes and an extensive ballet program (connected to the Royal Academy of Dance in London). Five years after its inauguration, Teatro del Lago has become an education and arts center receiving 20,000 students per year through its several innovative and integrative education activities.

Teatro del Lago has also created an International Orchestra and Choir Academy to bring together students and young professionals from all over Latin America and the world to jointly create sophisticated musical programs. In addition to these formal international programs, Teatro del Lago recently created two community programs "Puedes Bailar" (You Can Dance!) and "Puedes Cantar" (You Can Sing!).

These programs were inspired by the realization that not every child and every family can easily afford to buy or rent a violin, a piano or any other instrument to bring music into their children's lives. Inspired by several talks and readings of Sir Ken Robinson, an English author and adviser to arts-in-education programs, as well as by other creative leaders, we focused on the fact that most of us have a working body and most of us have a voice. With that body and with that voice we can dance and we can sing without the need for any other instrument.

"Puedes Cantar," like its sister program "Puedes Bailar," recruits youth of varied social economic backgrounds from many of the region's schools-one of the essential cornerstones of this program. Real integration does not happen in programs that "only" help vulnerable students. Connecting children from different social backgrounds is what matters, especially at an age in which social background is not yet important.

Teatro del Lago's Choir Movement, which began six years ago, now has 120 participants and incorporates a children's choir, a youth choir and a choir for young and older adults. The choir performs traditional music, as well as more contemporary forms.

The benefits of a choir in education reflect the values of our society in general: listening while singing requires multitasking, coordination, discipline, teamwork, expression and learning how to read music as an additional creative world-language. The incorporation of one's own voice into the sound of a choir is a sensitive multitasking act; the tuning of the voice is a corporal feeling, steering the voice in a controlled and coordinated way. We work in teams, thus fostering the sensibility that enhances community and social understanding. …

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