David School of Performing Arts hits all the right notes

Saturday, 15 January 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The David School of Performing Arts (DAPA) was launched in September 2010 with a view of providing high calibre artistic education in vocal music, performance, musical theatre and related fields.

André David, founder and Director of the school, is keen to attract and develop performers to reach international standards. The school, according to David, will focus on musical theatre and vocal training for modern musical genres.

In just three months, the school has grown from five students to over 60 and has also launched its official website www.dapasrilanka.com.

“At DAPA we believe in bringing a balance to the development of kids and performers. In the case of those who are geared towards a career in performance, no matter which category of performance arts one wishes to specialise in, to make it as a performer, you’ve got to have complementary performance skills,” David noted, elaborating on his vision for the school.

According to David, a singer has to develop basic acting, dance, movement and presentation skills. For those who are not planning on a performance career and are interested in singing, dance or drama as a hobby or an extracurricular activity, learning performance arts as a whole helps give balance to a child’s education and general development. It also develops parts of the brain that are neglected in academic learning.

Scientific research has shown that there is a significant difference in the symbolic retrieval levels of the left hemisphere frontal lobe activity of performing arts students, which means that they have a much greater ability to generate novel ideas, he added.

David has years of experience and exposure to vocal music and drama. He is the Deputy Director of the Mary Anne School of Vocal Music, founded by his mother, the well-known voice and choir teacher. His father Andrew David, who now works mostly with the Mary Anne School, was a prolific theatre practitioner, having been involved in acting in, directing and producing numerous shows over the years.

David directs the junior school and is Deputy Conductor of the performing group, The Merry An Singers. He has created, directed and produced several large-scale productions over the last 10 years, including ‘A Riot of Rhythm’ and the critically acclaimed ‘Bustin’ Broadway’. David, who is also trained in modern dance, has been responsible for the choreography of numerous musicals and shows presented by the school. His training also includes tap-dancing and street jazz under Shannon Raymond, yoga relaxation techniques, and mixed martial arts.

Apart from the regular weekly lessons conducted by him, David plans to collaborate with professionals in the fields of musical instruments, voice and choral techniques, theatre and dramatic arts, jazz and other musical genres and different dance styles to ensure that students get a well-rounded education in technique from experienced and qualified professionals, both local and international.

DAPA currently runs classes in Moratuwa and Kohuwela, where students are trained personally by Andre. It is open to students between the ages of eight and 27, who are seeking first-class training in singing, musical theatre and performance.  

According to David, it is important that Sri Lankan parents and future artistes understand that talent in itself is not enough. Just like talent in sports needs to be developed with years of training, talent in performance arts too must be nurtured with training in correct technique and by taking care of one’s instrument, be it an actual instrument or part of the physical body – the vocal chords, limbs, diaphragm, facial muscles, etc.

This cannot be achieved by attending random classes and taking part in school concerts. It calls for focused hard work and the employment of correct technique. DAPA was created to make an exemplary performance arts education available to Sri Lankans at affordable prices.

“I firmly believe that there is an amazing pool of talent in Sri Lanka and all that is lacking is high quality training in technique. My mother set the foundation for me by changing the face of vocal training and choral singing in the country, I want to take it one step further by expanding this change to the performing arts as a whole,” David said.