Friday 10 July 2015

TRENDING by Ashish Mohan Khokar - Whither Dance Education?

Is anyone interested in dance education in India? Not learning dance alone, or items. But dance education. Its history and heritage. Its nuanced feel, its layered approach. Is anyone interested in learning anything academic? Most dancers or dance teachers today (under 30/35) have no sense of history or heritage, save their own guru/bani/gharana/style or region/city/caste! When they are not politicking (talking ill of their immediate competition), they are busy on next performance and trip to here, there and everywhere. They have no interest in art or books, only Facebook! One Bangalore teacher (having 500 students) came to buy attendance, the yearbook, and wanted student discount (half price) and left paying the same. Such is our lot.

Youngsters are asking how to earn not learn. Earlier dance learning was an ideal state of mind, not for earning or performing alone - that happened by chance and was at best, a by-product. Now, a student or parent is more concerned about returns. Earlier, a guru saw potential and taught accordingly. Now, gurus are factories teaching all. Should they be called gurus? Or teachers? Our basic definitions are not in place, no standardization in teaching and thus we are making half-baked dancers. These dancers have no real devotion to dance, just themselves. That’s why one sees dancers having 400 students! They cut each other out in charging least fee to get maximum students. The laws of diminishing returns have set in.

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