Dance transcends the arena stage for Larry and Laurent Bourgeois, otherwise known as Les Twins.
While our favorite duo continue to impress audiences on Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour, they have taken up other avenues to spread positivity and make a difference.
The Les Twins feel passionate about improving the literacy rate in children. They fear a disconnect among youth to read and write, which may only worsen with emerging technology such as ChatGPT.
As AfroTech previously told you, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) robot was created to resemble a conversation and can analyze words from the user to create a text-based response. Forbes reports 43% of college students have used AI resources such as ChatGPT, and half of those students admitted to turning in assignments or exams with the help of those resources.
While showing promise, the technology is also raising concerns for potential negative outcomes.
“We have worked with so many children in our lives,” Les Twins told AfroTech in an email interview. “They touch us the most because it feels like we were just one of those kids looking for something to build our confidence. Since text messaging became popular and now with ChatGBT, literacy is lost. Less and less students want to read and write.”
The pair strive to ensure that youth do not neglect basic skills such as reading and writing. Their passion in this space centers on their belief that literacy can spark creativity, which can lead to greater confidence and improved mental health.
They are aligning their mission with Kids Write Network (KWN), a program that encourages a six-step process, researched by McGill University, and merges positive psychology with neuroscience, according to a press release. Furthermore, the program exposes children to the beauty in writing and movement by employing dance with the Les Twins during the RISE for Mental Health Tour (RMH).
“We all know you need to write music, write choreography, and illustrate art… when we develop choreography, we need a map, otherwise can you imagine what a show would look like?” Les Twins explained. “This is what the KWN has done with literacy; they created a map to help children understand themselves better and build the bridge between literacy and well-being. The students do the writing part of the program, and we show them how to use it through creative movement.”
Currently, the joint effort has captured the attention of 500 schools and hospitals since its launch in November 2022 in Montreal, Canada. According to the press release, it is the only mental health program that has been folded into school curricula.
“What we are doing is revolutionary because we are combining a specific science with our art that has participants walking away feeling a sense of freedom they never felt before,” Les Twins said.
Looking ahead, KWN plans to expand into a digital platform supported by AI. Specifically, augmented and virtual reality will be implemented to improve cognitive thinking and to support students who experience barriers participating in the workshops.
“This technology will allow users to build their profile that will create a space for them to be able to feel included in our workshops without having to be in a crowd that would otherwise make them feel uncomfortable,” Les Twins expressed. “This technology can help people who are differently abled to move and express themselves in ways previously not possible. AR/VR can allow people to experience certain types of sensory therapy as well without incurring the costs of buying or renting the physical equipment required. This can also help students prepare for potentially stressful or traumatic situations, allowing them to develop the confidence and coping skills before the real-life experience occurs. We are the first ever AR/VR experience that is an innovative science for mental health that uses art as the solution at your fingertips.”