A year since India's COVID-19 lockdown, an overview of how artists and cultural institutions navigated a crisis
Reviewing a year since nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, in culture coverage at Firstpost. Part 1 looks at how artists and institutions responded to the crisis.
A Pandemic Year for Women: In an unprecedented crisis, rethinking an art practice, and ways of living
This essay is from our International Women’s Day 2021 series, about women who rose to the challenges of being mothers, artists, professionals, students, and above all — individuals trying to make their way through an unprecedented time — over this pandemic year.
On Rukmini Devi Arundale's 117th birth anniversary, it is perhaps time to re-evaluate the scathing remarks relentlessly brought against her and her contributions to the world of Indian classical dance, Bharatanatyam in particular.
What cutting my own hair during a Mohiniyattam performance taught me about gender politics within the form
Classical dances have certain body ideals created for themselves, and one of them is the long hair or a stipulated hair length for the female performer that qualifies her to wear the costume. What does the hair — especially the long hair attached to the body of the woman — imply?
2020, a year of crises in classical dance: Amid silent stages, spotlight was on systemic inequalities in the arts
The hope ultimately is that Indian classical dance rejects the epistemic violence which has been at the heart of its creation and propagation thus far.
The sudden introduction of classical dance in a film acts as a placeholder for several values held by the girl on screen, which the film cannot delve into deeply. It transforms into a proxy for everything the word 'sanskaari' can convey.
How Amala Shankar witnessed the evolution of modern Indian dance and shaped it with her enthusiasm for life
The dance troupe led by Amala Shankar and her husband Uday Shankar was the central force of the cultural movement that introduced new dimensions in Indian dance and choreography
The Black Lives Matter movement must spark a reckoning within the diaspora Indian classical dance world with its own race and caste issues
As the arts grapple with fallout of coronavirus crisis, can a more inclusive way be found through the pandemic?
Existing outside screens and in physical bodies literally constitutes the “flesh and bones” of the performing art sector, or so it seemed until it came under the crushing weight of COVID-19 crisis. The crisis has forced the intensely embodied field into the disembodied realm of Zoom screens.
To fill vital gaps in dance education, three educators address how a more critical practice could be achieved
The designers of Performance Practice (Dance), a Master's programme at the Ambedkar University, Delhi, have decided that it must neither be heavy on text or theory, nor should it focus on one specific form. It also encourages students to become the agents of their own learning, unlike more traditional one-on-one relationships with teachers, which tend to seep into the students' personal lives
With its emphasis on training rather than education, ‘learning’ in classical dance requires an urgent and critical rethink
Learning in classical dance is conceptualised more as training than an education. A student is taught to effectively embody an aesthetic through physical training, with little reflection on what it means to do so historically, socially or politically.
Davesh Soneji on Indian classical dance, working with hereditary artists: 'We need a new, radical epistemology and political grammar'
Withstanding the test of time, Davesh Soneji's book Unfinished Gestures has emerged as a potential litmus test, for academicians and classical dancers alike, to reflect on their response, towards the hereditary community of artists.
At a time of nationwide protests, India's classical artists are missing a culture of dissent, and this needs fixing
An 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.
Classical dance and appropriation: How to think about a field whose foundations rest on cultural violence
Given 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.
The 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.
Firstpost Editor's Picks: BJP takes risk in Karnataka, RTI (Amendment) Bill, Hrithik Roshan regains brand reputation; today's must-read stories
Haste makes waste. That's the piece of ancient wisdom BJP president Amit Shah remembered while finally deciding what to do in Karnataka.
Media, 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.
#MeToo promises to make Carnatic music a safer, more ethical space, but it will take a while to get there
#MeToo has become a force to reckon with in the world of Carnatic music
Classical dance in the here and now: Can it accommodate a new generation of artists trying to find their own voice?
Just like the Constitution, how can classical dance respond to society, accommodating the ways in which artists derive new meanings from it?
Patruni Chidananda Sastry on expressionist form of dance, and how it can give a voice to communities
Patruni Chidananda Sastry believes that his expressionist form of dance can be used to talk about just about any kind of subject.