Dance Education in India: Some Issues and Questions

by Aadya Kaktikar

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

INTRODUCTION
India is a country that loves to dance. From festivals to films, dance is an integral part of our cultural heritage. A dance culture that is vibrant, diverse, multidimensional, and simultaneously old and new is the legacy of the youth of this country. Though dance had always been a part of the social life of the community in India, the last decade has seen major shifts in the way dance is produced and performed. It has traveled from once being a ‘morally corrupt’ profession, to a spiritual discourse, to a cause for social change. Once considered a ‘esoteric art,’ dance today has become the signifier of a socially mobile, globally aware, politically astute, media savvy, technologically advanced younger generation. [Read more…]

Pedagogy in Odissi: Multiple Voices, Multiple Perspectives

by Aastha Gandhi

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

 

Method of Teaching
Indian classical dance training is highly codified where students are mostly taught through a method of imitation of Guru’s demonstrations. The explanation of technical manoeuvring of the body depends on the teacher’s proficiency in technique; the core process involves imitation with a few guidelines and instructions. If not explained consciously, the techniques of weight- shift, balance, movement and division of body are imbibed through the unquestioned process of imitation. Abhinaya pieces are explained along with anecdotes and stories to make the theme clearer, seldom followed by discussions around the chosen story. Understanding of the body, and the form comes with one’s own practice; riyaaz, emphasized during the training period. “Angasuddhi” (purity of movement) and “saustabha” (purity of body line) become the defining criteria of one’s technical expertise over the form. (Chatterjee, 1996; 74- 75)

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