Wednesday, 11 March 2015

TRENDING by Ashish Mohan Khokar - Collaborations

Collaborations, that's what's trending. Collaborations between forms, dancers, organizations, cities, universities, institutions. 
February was fulsome, to say the least. TREND and TRENDING is learning! Our universities are woefully inadequate with dance history and heritage teaching as they have little or no evidence of historical materials in possession, to illustrate dance heritage. Just talking about a subject without visual or literary evidence is dull, especially in a visually rich art form like dance. One exception to this trend is Pune University’s Dance department. Last year, they had a seminar and focus on dance writing and assessment and this February a two-day focus on choreography under CREATING AWARENESS series. Pune University's Lalit Kala (Music and Dance Dept), Maharashtra Cultural Centre and Nad Roop made me address over 100 students of MA and PhD in what are trends in choreography today and dance history. To meet and talk with over 100 enthusiastic and evolved Puneites was an eye-opener. Among the most artistic lot in western India, Pune is to Hindustani music and theatre and films, what Madras is to Carnatic music, Bharatanatyam and films. It is a gardd (adda / epic-centre). With hours of rare film footage, culled and collected from various sources, including making my own short films from Mohan Khokar Dance Collection materials, I could bring alive the various facets of our dance heritage and history. The students were all grown up mostly and keen to learn and some had very good questions. They asked about Natya Shastra and its relevance to modern dance (!); they asked about where to practice in Mumbai (as though I owned Bombay!) and they asked why such materials had not been ever seen before. 

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