What messages are in Take The Lead?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the most overwhelming messages of the film is the need for arts education.  In an age of high stakes standardized assessment, funding for the arts in education is often a casualty.  The film makes very clear the idea that the students that Mr. Dulaine teaches have been marginalized by the traditional educational system.  Art is the medium by which they can be reached and through which lives can be changed.  This is a profound message and one that is not easily forgotten.  Another message that comes out of the film is a sheer beauty of classical dance.  This is more subtle, but there is a transcendence present in dances like the waltz or the tango where two people become merged in a "moment" that goes beyond external conditions and contingencies.  There is a reason why the children are entranced and inspired by the tango.  Seeing Mr. Dulaine tango is what initially causes the students to pivot towards dancing.  It is this precise message about dance and believing in a craft that causes the students to accept the idea that their identities are not solely determined by their contingencies and conditions.

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