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Two Indian Schools

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Katharine Kanter

Inscrit le: 19 Jan 2004
Messages: 1096
Localisation: Paris

MessagePosté le: Mer Mar 17, 2004 4:37 pm    Sujet du message: Two Indian Schools Répondre en citant

A brief note on the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) meeting at London, on March 14th

Although I had attended the aforesaid ISTD conference hoping to learn more about Cecchetti, I came away, on that account, unenlightened. The standard appeared to be somewhat worrying; however, as there are many variables to be taken into account at such events, it would be unprofitable to elaborate further.

For this writer, the only moment that drew one’s full and undivided attention, was a comparison of the Kathak and Bharat Natyam styles by two Indian specialists who also teach those schools. This writer is concerned with the Indian approach, because India would appear to be at the origin of Western classical dance.

To the same music, at the same time, one person, Pali Chandra, danced in the Kathak, the other, Nina Rajarani, in the Bharat Natyam.

This writer is in no way competent to speak of the epic, the musical, religious, mythological or rhetorical aspects of the Indian art forms, as these require a lifetime’s study.

But, seen strictly from the standpoint of the classical dance, the comparison was most instructive.

The Kathak school can be – very very coarsely indeed – compared to the way we see Western classical dance today, based on extending the extremities, and a striving after fluidity and multiple turns. In that respect, it rather resembles Balanchine.

The Bharat Natyam, a school better known in Europe, is completely centred, and focused upon command of the eyes, the head and the torso. The energy is never dispersed towards the extremities, but the arms and legs fold and unfold strictly in relation to the where the torso has decided to go. The plié is deep, and the focussing of energy allows both for startling explosions of speed, virtuosity and jumps that are nonetheless entirely controlled, as well as a progression towards a stretto-like conclusion.

From a sheer dance standpoint, and bearing in mind the writer’s incompetence on the aforesaid issues, the power of the latter school was indisputably demonstrated here.

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