Us­ing dance to break bar­ri­ers, build bridges

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - YOURSPACE - Jay­ati Bhola

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.

KU­NAL PATIL/HT

(L­R) Jhelum Paran­jape, Dr Tushar Guha, Gauri Sharma Tri­pathi, and Sucheta Pal at CSMVS on Satur­day.

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