Kathmandu: Princess KC from Baneshwor has recently joined an online class on performing arts. She is on the fourth day of the seven-day intensive acting course, and she says she is more than satisfied with the class. KC, who has never been to any kind of acting classes before, said, “ The classes are more productive than I expected. I have not felt any drawbacks of the virtual classes”.
Myrah Ghale has been taking virtual dance lessons for about a year and she says she is ‘really happy’ with it.
According to Ghale, she doesn’t have any disappointment with the virtual class. “As the online platform facilitates the recording of the classes, I get ample time to practice at my own pace,” says Ghale.
Disciplines like performing arts which were thought to be teachable only in person are now making their mark on virtual platforms. Like KC and Ghale, a lot of people are engaged in virtual classes of performing arts that include dance, music, and acting among others. Trainers of performing arts too have started changing their mode of operation owing to the pandemic and the lockdown.
Choreographer Manisha Ghothane Gurung, better known as Manisha GG, is tutoring online dance classes from the first lockdown. Unlike Ghale and KC, GG has faced a few disappointments with virtual coaching.
“I miss the vibe that I used to get during physical dance classes. However, the happiness and satisfaction of my students keep me conducting the virtual classes,” says Gurung.
As the pandemic forces silver screen artists and tutors to find new podiums, virtual classes show promise
According to her, such online classes can help the students detach themselves from any negativity during these dire times, and help them become productive from the comfort of their homes.
Similarly, filmmaker and acting instructor Bisharad Basnet is also conducting virtual acting classes since the earlier lockdown. He has tutored more than 300 students from Nepal, India, Qatar, France, and other countries. He says that teaching virtually has been a unique experience for him, and he adapted himself to adjust to the new platform.
According to Basnet, a major challenge while teaching online is the difficulty in reading students’ body language. “There is a very significant role of body language in acting. It tells the instructor whether the student is understanding the lessons and whether they are interested or not,” says Basnet. Basnet believes that the improvement in connectivity and use of better devices can solve these issues in near future. He is also busy designing a new curriculum to resolve these issues and to make online classes more effective.
Along with the challenges, Basnet also points out some benefits of online classes. He says, “Virtual classes allow an instructor to teach a number of students as opposed to physical classes which have a limitation. Similarly, the students can avail the courses at a comparatively lower price,” opines Basnet.
Basnet usually instructs more than 50 students at once. “For the first six days, I don’t entertain any questions from the students and just dispense the lessons. On the seventh day, I only listen to their questions and answer them,” explains Basnet about his teaching methods.
Unlike Basnet and GG, guitarist Nikesh KC is quite new to online teaching. He started providing virtual guitar classes just a couple of weeks ago. At the moment, KC is providing guitar lessons to eight students from Nepal, Australia, and Japan. But similar to Basnet, weak connectivity and frequent disconnection of the internet is a major stumbling block for him too.
“Timing and audibility have to be impeccable for teaching an instrument. Latency and synchronization issues are the primary impediments for me while teaching guitar virtually. I hope in the future, better technology can further streamline the courses,” KC said.