Using dance to break barriers, build bridges
MUMBAI:GIVEN the transformative power of a classical, folk or contemporary form, the organisers of the annual Kala Ghoda Festival in February, decided to see if dance can and should do more.
At the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), on Saturday, Kathak and folk dancer Tushar Guha, Odissi dancer Jhelum Paranjape, and Zumba instructor, Sucheta Pal discussed new ways to get dance to navigate a changing world.
“People want to have a shorter ‘speed-dating’ tryst with dance forms now,” observed Gauri Sharma Tripathi, Kathak dancer, who moderated the discussion. This prompted Guha to explain that classical dance teaches aesthetics, geography, history, and even mathematics. “Performing lesser known traditional or folk dances also allows us an insight into a culture or tradition that we may not know of,” he added. He believed that, like all the arts, dance can be made contemporary for use in everyday life, “like training people in the corporate world to have the right body language”.
Paranjape noted that classical forms have been passed on through time, but audiences are changing. We cannot dismiss popular dance forms, she said. “There is space for contemporary as well as classical dance to co-exist.”
Popularising the form outside of its niche, a perennial challenge was also addressed. For Pal, it comes down to how much time a dancer is willing to invest. “Zumba, in that sense, gives that platform to anyone who wants to be fit, which they may not find in classical dances,” she said.
The talk was the first of a series planned by the Kala Ghoda Association which organises the annual arts festival. “It will be a six-part monthly series with the next one focusing on food,” said Brinda Miller, who co-conceptualised the discussions.
(LR) Jhelum Paranjape, Dr Tushar Guha, Gauri Sharma Tripathi, and Sucheta Pal at CSMVS on Saturday.