Wednesday 24 September 2014

The dance history Column by Ashish Mohan Khokar - Of critics and editors

Pune University’s Lalit Kala Kendra made a commendable effort to bring together various voices in the dance field on the occasion of a two day (Aug 27/28) seminar on Micro & Macro in Dance Writing. With senior Bharatanatyam talent like Sucheta Chapekar’s guidance, Associate Professor Parimal Phadke undertook a meaningful seminar. Gurus, critics, editors and publishers, teachers, dancers and media honchos shared their thoughts. As one who has traversed all three roles in last thirty years (as critic of India's largest circulated English daily the Times of India and later, columnist India Today) and then editing Rasamanjari for 5 years and editing-publishing attendance, the dance annual for 15 years, my views come from practical experience. It may help budding dancers and journalists/critics, who wish to write on dance with integrity and meaning.

Parimal Phadke, Ashish Khokar, Sucheta Chapekar
Dancers first, since without them critics and dance editors and publishers wouldn’t exist! In all humility, writers of all shades, ought to accept this basic premise. Dancers learn an art form for many years, then strive harder to reach where they wish to be, professionally. But just because one learns dance it does not mean one becomes a dancer. Or a professional. It takes a minimum of 20 years of consistent work/output to become a known dancer of repute. Dance is a serious calling, beyond being a profession or vocation. It needs stamina, will power and total surrender, and above all, a real guru. There is a big difference between a guru and a teacher, but more on that in my next column.

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