Articles by Sammitha Sreevathsa
Jan 14, 2020
At a time of nationwide protests, India's classical artists are missing a culture of dissent, and this needs fixingAn absent culture of dissent is not a new feature in classical dance, given that the relationship of classical dancers with the society is heavily mediated by the state’s cultural machinery. As societies from across the world are leaning on their youth for leading the fight for a better tomorrow, there might be no better moment than now for the classical dances to reflect on what an education in classical dance is truly meant to serve.
Dec 01, 2019
Classical dance and appropriation: How to think about a field whose foundations rest on cultural violenceGiven that classical dance entered the upper caste communities through the process of appropriation (first by denying the hereditary dancers their right to perform, then adopting the same dance tradition while continuing to deny them the right to perform) it might seem rather obvious that the present day classical dancers should be aware and respond to this past that they continue to benefit from. The reality however couldn’t be further away from this.
Oct 03, 2019
From temples to royal courts, and the proscenium stage: A social history of Indian performance spacesA proscenium stage born in the West posits a distance between audience and performer to offer a visual experience. Yet, why is it that classical dance, which vehemently claims its origins in a text on Indian aesthetics, most widely performed on a proscenium stage? The history of performance spaces in India is a deeply sociological one.
Aug 31, 2019
How the Indian classical dance industry created a troubling culture of dependency on marriageThe unique relationship of the classical dance industry with marriage was born in mid-20th century India, when the Devadasi system was abolished and dance was appropriated into the upper caste.
Jul 27, 2019
On Indian media's role in depoliticising discourse around classical dance, and the need for changeMedia, especially print media has played a historically significant role in shaping the public discourse on classical dance in pre-independent as well as post-independent India.