The discussion on Dance as an Education and Dance in Media threw up some interesting points

It was a discussion that was brief but stimulating and which raised some interesting points. Organised by the Department of Youth Services and Sports, with Karnataka Nrityakala Parishath, as part of Ankura Dance Festival, the colloquium focused on Dance as An Education and Dance in Media. Well-known Kuchipudi dancer Vyjayanthi Kashi played moderator. She was also felicitated for her recently won Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. Padmini Shreedhar coordinated the function presided over by Lalitha Srinivasan, President, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath.

The first topic –– Role of Dance in Education and in Shaping One's Personality had dancer and dance-critic Probal Gupta explaining that studies revealed that dance helped build cognitive, social and spiritual aspects of personality, and that music and dance were positive forces in personality development. Priya Raman emphasised the need for a holistic approach to education which encouraged artistic expression along with intellectual pursuits while Ramya Janakiram said that to become good artistes, performers should work as much on their personality as on dance.

Instant fame

The next set of speakers held forth on the desire for instant fame among aspiring dancers. Accomplished Bharatanatya dancer Satyanarayana Raju deplored the tendencies of students to chase fame with quick rangapraveshas, focus on the quantity rather than quality of performances; and also to move from one teacher to another in an attempt to gather items and increase their repertoire.

Karthik Datar said commitment to the art form rather than fame should be the aim while Pulikeshi Kasturi spoke out against parents in a hurry to see their children ascend the stage irrespective of proficiency levels.

Vyjayanthi, stressed the need for a positive outlook and a solution-seeking attitude rather than complaining about the system or depending on someone to throw a lifeline. She said dance can be fulfilling in many ways as it offers a myriad of opportunities worth exploring––performing, teaching, administration, documentation, film-making and writing.

Scant respect

The discussion on Reality Shows on Dance had panellists regretting that most of these TV shows display little knowledge of Indian classical dance traditions and show scant respect for them. Seeta Kote said it was painful to have parents come in asking for their children to be admitted to dance classes with a query as to how soon their child could be readied for performing in a reality show. Uday Shetty felt the lure of big money in TV shows and films was a major factor, while Radhika Ranjini said these shows were dictated by commercial elements not aesthetics. Lalitha held that many dance reality shows abused the word dance and some were not only mediocre, but also bordered on the obscene.

Speaking on how academic pressure is a frequently cited reason for quitting dance classes, youngsters Vidya and Shivaranjani said in today's time, academic curricula has become heavy and also family pressure to do well in studies is high. However, some students manage to persist with the art, they pointed out.

Suparna Venkatesh said academics need not always be a hindrance to the diligent pursuit of dance. If one was motivated enough, one could successfully balance both as some all-rounder academic toppers have shown.