Other topics can be tailored to suit individual residencies with focus geared specifically to college level students of theatre, dance, music, art history, religious studies, gender or multi-cultural studies, as well as to general audiences of adults or school children.

 

Introduction to classical Indian dance

 

A brief historical overview of 2000 years of dance.  Explanation and demonstration of differences and similarities of the major classical dance styles of India with fundamentals of technique and dramatic expression shown through movement phrases and full dances.

 

Introduction to Odissi, Manipuri or Chhau

 

Similar to above lecture-demonstration, with greater emphasis on one style.  Dance workshop (master class) or lecture-demonstration.

 

Abhinaya / Dramatic Expression : The essence of Classical Indian Dance

 

To touch the audience emotionally, to evoke rasa, the essence of emotional experience, is the paramount aim of the dancer.  Hands, eyes, and facial expression have been codified in an elaborate movement system.  In ancient Sanskrit theater, the dance was also the actor, communicating the moods and metaphysics of the epics.  The codification of gesture, as well as the classifications heroes and heroines in various stages of love and separation, are defined and demonstrated.

 

Rhythm and Movement : How they relate in the classical Indian tradition

 

Aimed at music and dance students, the intricate rhythmic variations, point and counterpoint, theme and variations of Indian music structure are explored in its close relationship to movement technique.  Workshop or Lec-Dem

 

Iconography of classical Indian dance in stone and paint

 

Many of the ancient temples of India are covered with relief sculptures of dancers, dedicated to service in the gods.  Hundreds of poses cared in stone and illuminated in miniature paintings and palm leaves can be brought to life in the dance.  Motifs, design conventions and poetic images maintain a through line in painting, sculpture and dance.  This lecture-demonstration is aimed at art history students.

 

Masked Dance / Male Dance : Chhau Traditions of India

 

Based on martial and folk traditions developed under royal patronage, use of the mask significantly alters the impact of the masked chhau from its non-masked form.  Emphasis on torso and leg control makes Mayurbhanj Chhau particularly useful for theater movement students, Seraikella Chhau for mask work.

Workshop for lec-dem

 

Divine Aspects of Dance

 

Indian classical dance genres evolved from a spiritual consciousness.  Text based dances communicate love, truth and beauty on a metaphysical, rather than mundane plane.  The western separation of sacred dance from religious ritual and casting human love as profanely divergent from the divine is absent in Indian tradition as it has evolved over the millennia.