64: Performing Arts Advocacy w/ Viva Vinson

In Episode 64, Dan Dissinger talks with Vocalist/Educator/Actor/Writer Viva Vinson about the positive impact of performing arts education, overcoming Dyslexia and ADHD, and harnessing the power of the performing arts to have deeper DEI discussions with students and teachers.

Born of an Italian American mother, and African American father, Viva has always had multiple artistic interests as diverse as her cultural and ethnic background. Viva is somewhat of a Triple Threat, starting her dance career at age 12, her acting career in her teens, and then later transitioning into music, writing, and performing arts education. Viva started her acting career at age 16 appearing in such productions as Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, A Different World, Cop Rock and the cult-classic Roadside Prophets, to name a few.

After taking a hiatus from her acting, Viva rediscovered a deeper joy and passion for music. She turned to a career in Music in 2002 where she made her way to Asia in September 2003, performing at the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong. She spent several years traveling to and from Asia.

Viva is currently pursuing parallel careers in music, acting, writing and performing arts education. She loves inspiring young artists through arts-education programs and individual instruction. She has also become an arts advocate, reinforcing the importance of Performing Arts Education in Schools. Follow this link to see Viva’s full bio.

Follow Viva on:
Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

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“I believe performing arts education should be in every learning institution that is on the planet […] whatever I can do to champion that cause, I’m all for it.” -Viva Vinson

“Performing arts education saved my life, literally.”
-Viva Vinson

“We are all musicians.” –Viva Vinson

“Music is an essential part of the evolution of mankind.” –Viva Vinson

“Music is its own language and it’s universal.” –Viva Vinson

“The intellectual process that one has to go through to learn music and play music is so, so valuable it’s a different way of thinking, and I just think it makes us more well-rounded, more sensitive, more empathic, and more creative and more intelligent.” –Viva Vinson

“I’m dyslexic […] and ADHD, so fitting in those [writing] constructs was always very difficult for me and sometimes it did kill the joy of writing, because I was always so afraid that I didn’t adhere to all the rules of grammar.” –Viva Vinson

“You’re always learning, you’re always growing as a creative person.” –Viva Vinson

“I feel like everyone should feel that they excel at something, and sometimes the students who have ADHD and they can’t focus, they can’t read […] they might be great in drama class, they’re great at doing improvisation, they’re great at rapping, they’re great at coming up with rhymes, or they’re great at dancing, or putting choreography together; and so it’s a vehicle for students to excel in this other area […] there’s a lot of learning to be had in the performing arts.”
–Viva Vinson

“I want to reach those kids who don’t feel like they’re good at anything and have nothing to say and give them a vehicle to try and explore how to say what’s in their hearts through performing arts education.” –Viva Vinson

“There needs to be this more collaborative approach to education, where it’s not like a kid scared in a classroom that the teacher is going to give them an F and therefore they can’t express their ideas.”
–Viva Vinson

“If I’m going to achieve, I have to work three times as hard as others and I have to be the best, I have to be supreme at what I do in order to get the recognition that’s so freely given to somebody who may just be good, but not the best, but we have to be ‘better than’ because of the color of our skin or because of our gender identity […] it exists in all spaces.” –Viva Vinson

“Instead of me just having this conversation [about my racial identity], or feeling fearful about saying these things, because I might hurt somebody or offend somebody, if I put it into the context of a play or a scene […] yes I’m expressing these ideas, but it’s not me expressing, it’s the character and it kind of gives me an opportunity to kind of free myself from feeling so identified by this thing that I’m going to say.”
–Viva Vinson

“Why bother teaching if you’re not learning […] That’s why I teach. I’m constantly learning, I have to constantly work and develop and learn and expand, work on my craft to be able to teach […] but I’m also learning from my students. And that’s why I do believe in a space that’s collaborative, because how can I learn from my students and how will that inform my teaching?” –Viva Vinson

“I’m here to facilitate, to facilitate the learning.” –Viva Vinson

“Why do we assume that we know everything and the students know nothing? That’s constantly, I think, a mistake that a lot of educators make.” –Viva Vinson

Call for Contributors
Humanities Podcasting Symposium
October 15-16, 2021

The Humanities Podcasting Network is inviting expressions of interest for our first annual symposium on academic podcasting. Please use this survey to indicate which kinds of event(s) you’d be interested in organizing and to briefly describe your proposed topic. The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2021.

This episode was recorded on June 25th, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod

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