We wish the pop culture was such that it made room for ballerinas and cellists. (Yo Yo Ma gets some pop culture time, though–and that is good!) But Leno’s not going to be inviting ballerinas to come on the show anytime soon, and that’s that. Fortunately, PBS and NPR stations offer that kind of programming; we can be arts boosters in our social circles, in our churches and in our communities. Parents can cultivate their own leanings in that direction and include the children.
And the mention of parents brings me to an important omission from my previous post. Since I was six (if not younger) when I knew about Margot Fonteyn, my parents must have turned on the TV when Sullivan had her on the show: and they must have been tuning in to the filmed ballets and orchestras. Their own interest–that, and the sparkly tutus–was really all I needed at that age to be captivated, I suppose.
In fact as I was writing that earlier post, I was asking myself, how much of this memory do I owe to television exposure accorded to Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev in an earlier time, and how much do I owe to the simple fact that my parents’ musical and arts interests naturally shaped my world when I was that age? After all, Elvis Presley was a pretty big star, too, and I never even heard his name until I was 9 (1967), when my neighborhood friend’s mother swooningly mentioned getting a new Elvis Presley record, and I had to ask, “who’s Elvis Presley?”
Of course being a parent is hard enough without adding to it a whole nuther level of “how to be a perfect parent and raise perfect children.” But it does seem to me like it’s a good idea to take advantage of children’s early impressionability and include plenty of “high art” experiences that have natural kid appeal. There are a few years during which what you say is cool is cool!