Practice, Performance and the Performer : Analyzing the role of ‘Preparation’ in Kathak Dance

Shruti Ghosh, Macquarie University, Sydney

 Yatohastostatodrishtiryato, Drishtitatomana

Yatomanatatobhava, Yatobhavatato rasa

Tatradwabhnayaseba, Pradhaanmitikathyake

(Where the hand goes  the eyes follow, where the eyes go the mind follows, where the mind goes there is feeling, where there is feeling there is emotion)


 This is one of those popular slokas from Natya Sastra [ii] that is oft repeated by the teachers, students and practitioners of Indian classical dance. It is one of those quintessential imperatives that are drilled into the minds of the performers in course of their training. Interrogating the instant reception and popularity of the sloka, I notice its efficacy perhaps lies in its prescriptive tone through which it spells out certain ‘know how s’ about Nritya or acting in dance and indicates how to prepare oneself for acting. Our understanding of the nuances of the sloka would be limited if we consider only the component of acting. I shall therefore also include in my discussion, the other aspect i.e. Nritta, which refers to the abstract dance movements.  How do I prepare myself as a Kathak dancer is the question I have often asked. What do I prepare and for whom? In an attempt to address these questions, this paper analyses the role of ‘preparation’ in a dance practice. There are two crucial components which form part of preparation – ‘dancer’s individual preparation’ and ‘audience reception’. I note further that, an interrogation of the concept of ‘preparation’ also yields varying understanding of ‘Performance’.

The Therapeutic Value of Indian Classical, Folk and Innovative Dance Forms

Arpita Chatterjee, Barasat College, West Bengal State University, India

Dance provides an active, non-competitive form of exercise that has potential positive effects for physical health as well as mental and emotional wellbeing. Dance therapy is based on the idea that body and mind are co-relational. The therapeutic approaches with various forms of Indian dances are a new entrant to dance literature. Ayurveda held dance as a power of healing (therapy) and inner awareness (psychology). Indian philosophy also supports the facts of Sangeet (song, dance and music) for benefit of human health physically as well as mentally. The powerful dance form of Bhangra (Punjab), Karagam (Tamilnadu), Chou, Rayabese, Dhali (West Bengal) gives good health and strength. The fast footwork of Kathak dance helps to release anger and tension. Manipuri dancers make rounded movements and avoid any jerks, sharp edges or straight lines. It gives them undulating and soft appearance, proper body control and peace of mind. All these body movements, body balancing, expression, muscle movement, muscle constriction and relaxation have a strong effect on therapeutic movements. In India today the dance therapists are conscious about this matter and in therapeutic sessions they actually improvise different dance movements according to the need.