|Living china>Shanghai>Shanghai News Digest|
Art school offers amateurs a chance
Surrounded by trees and plants, a three-story building on Julu Road, Jing'an District, is just one of the many old Western-style architectures that scatter the city.
In 1992, Wang Weiqiang converted the building into the Yindu Artist College, the city's first weekend art school that offers professional art education.
"There are very few theater or music related professional academies in the country yet there are a lot of young people who bear the dream of becoming a star," said the young headmaster. "I want to help them to make the dream come true."
During the past 12 years, hundreds of thousands of students have taken specially designed training courses in the school. Many of them have won prizes in various competitions and become famous stars in different areas, both at home and abroad.
"Thanks to these excellent students, we have been successful in building a good image for Yindu," Wang said. "The school is highly acknowledged by society despite the fact that there are more and more schools of the same kind nowadays."
He added that the powerful faculty is also crucial to Yindu's success.
Currently, the school offers courses in four main categories including movie and video performance (for adults and children separately), singing and dancing.
Most of the teachers are selected from well-known colleges such as Shanghai Theater Academy and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
An efficient teaching system and some unique teaching methods, which are ideal for amateur art school learners, have been gradually formed during the past years.
"We try to help students develop to the full according to their own characteristics," he said. "We teach them individually to ensure they get the academic knowledge and experiences as soon as possible."
When niu Ben, a seven-year-old boy, applied to enter Yindu six years ago, he was no different from other children. It was the teachers there who found the unlimited imagination in him and gave him training designed to stimulate his potential. Now he has become a famous child star and won the Golden Calf Award twice, an award held every other year to recognize excellent children's films and individuals around the country.
Wang said that Yindu not only provides students with high-standard education in performance, vocalism and body, but also prepares them to become professional artists from the psychological aspect.
"Nowadays, more and more students come to our school not in the hope of becoming a star, but simply wanting to learn more skills as well as gain more life experience," he said.
According to him, performance is such an art that helps people to enlarge their perspective towards life and encourages them to think about a certain situation from different angles.
"What's more, sometimes it helps people to gain confidence in themselves," he said.
Once a young teacher from a local university entered Yindu for performance courses. Handsome as he is, he was very shy about talking to people at first.
"He told me that he was thinking of changing his job to become an actor, as at that time his lectures were always too dull to lure students," Wang said. "However, after half a year's training, the young man regained his confidence and become very attractive both in looks and in characteristics. He has received warm welcome by students since then and decided to continue his teaching career."
These days a new course at Yindu is under preparation, designed to help children to learn English by watching movies.
"Children should not be forced to learn a second language. What we want to do is to create a delightful study environment for them, to encourage them and to arouse their interests both in English and in performance."
The school has already invited two professional teachers from the United States to launch the course.
A mini theater is also under construction in the building. When completed, it
will become the classroom for the new course and also an ideal place for
students to give graduation performances in the future.