This week we look at two classical dances of India:
Bharatanatyam originated in southern India more than 2000 years ago as a dance offering to the temple deities. Over the centuries, the dance has evolved to include performances at festivals and in theaters, but the spiritual aspects are still honored. Many of the ancient sculptures in Hindu temples are based on Bharatanatyam dance postures, and portray the traditional bent-knee position and intricate hand gestures of the dance. Bharatanatyam training is technically very demanding, and the performances integrate music, theater, poetry, sculpture, and literature with the dances.
Kathak (KAH tahk) originated in areas south of the Himalayas, with traveling groups of performers who acted out stories of Hindu deities. When the Muslims invaded the sub-continent, they brought the form into their royal courts and added their own flare, making Kathak the only classical Indian dance style that contains influences from both Hindu and Muslim cultures. A formal Kathak performance will generally include storytelling dances, “pure” dances - which show off the dancers’ technical skills - and improvisation with the musicians.
We will study with Derek Phillips, company member of the Katha Dance Theatre.
1. Watch the video clip of Ragamala Dance Company.
2. Download Dance+Descriptive Review from the Tool Kit.
3. As a class, respond to the dance using the worksheet as a guide and as a place to record your ideas.
Click photo to see more about African textiles.
Remember learning the Norwegian Hat dance?