School to introduce classes in Disco Polo – but is it too ‘un’cool for school?
Pupils at a high school in the east of Poland could soon be attending classes on disco-polo, the indigenous music genre that invokes either joy or the depths of despair depending on the tastes of the listener.
The classes are part of a proposal formulated by Marek Nazarko, the mayor of Michałowo, a small town to the east of Białystok, who believes a course in disco-polo could help attract artistic children to the school and unleash the creative energy of its students.
“Our main goal is to create the conditions for our young people to develop their passions as well as providing them with an education and preparing them for their leaving exams,” the mayor wrote in a letter to local cultural institutions.
He has also enlisted the support of Green Star, a disco-polo record label. The label’s backing could mean that leading disco-polo stars such as Zenek Martyniuk could visit the school to pass on their expertise and advice.
The news that teenagers could soon be learning the ins-and-outs of disco-polo at school has raised eyebrows across Poland.
For many Poles, particularly urban ones, disco-polo, with its simple electronic melodies and boy-meets-girl lyrics, is a source of national shame, and they waste little time heaping their scorn and disdain upon the genre.
But it remains enduringly popular in Poland’s rural heartlands where its cheerful and up-beat rhythms provide the soundtrack for parties and small-town discos across the country, and have ingrained themselves into the local culture.
People have pointed that Michałowo lies in a disco-polo hotbed so the school’s courses should prove popular.
So far the mayor’s idea has already won the tacit approval of central government.
“There is nothing wrong with having young people who want to perform on stage especially prepared for it,” said Dariusz Piontkowski, the education minister.
He stressed that while the “popularity” of disco-polo was one of the reasons, perhaps, behind the idea, any courses in the musical genre were additional activities on top of the school’s core curriculum.