Replacing the Temples and court, the Indian Nation-State since 1947 emerged as the chief patron of Indian classical dance. With the opening of the economy in the 1980s, cultural economics led to dance spectacles as group productions, development of stitched solo performances on recorded music, the pay to perform malady, virtual learning and most of all, the disarray patronage of the State as chief patron. Cultural economics and patronage have led to marginalizing solo dance.
Importance of the Solo
Barring Kuchipudi and Manipuri, the basic feature of the Indian classical tradition is the solo dance. Taking an overarching view, one standing feature of the dances is the character of improvisation in performance. In most traditions, improvisation called manodharma is present largely in the abhinaya (mimetic) repertoire; however, in Kathak, it is called upaj (to grow) and applies to both rhythmic patterns and mimetic elaborations. The improvisation illustrates creative competence of a dancer. Greater the manodharma / upaj, the more outstanding the artist.
Ensuring the intrinsic character of every tradition, improvisations need to maintain the structural grammatical rules defining each dance tradition. Unlike the West where the dance and the music are written heritage, the Indian is oral and is a flowing tradition (parampara). Every nuance imbibed/interpreted by individuals is different and the signature of an artist is to contribute to the flow of the tradition making it relevant for the contemporary time and audience.
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