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Innovative approaches in Performing arts

By 29.7.2013         Mail Now Send Mail   Post Comments

Self satisfaction, though is a key measure in determining the 'quality' of any art, performing art by its name itself means 'performing before someone' and therefore, has an additional dimension which is the audience.

In the context of a performing art, the audience is as important as the artist. The satisfaction, elation or the emotion generated by a performance is expected to be shared with the audience. It is this ability of an artist which brings acceptance and recognition by the people for the performing art and the artist.

However the audience being part of the continuously evolving society also experiences this process resulting in change in the expectations from any performing art. I would like to elaborate it with an example,

The life till the later part of the last century was relatively 'Slow' and 'Peaceful' with not many options for 'Entertainment'. Performing arts was one of the major ones. No wonder, the concerts of music and dance used to go all the night. In case of dance, the artist could elaborate a single 'Word' or a 'Line' in variety of ways, bringing subtle meanings out of it and the audience could appreciate it. Peaceful life created the demand required for such elaborate performance.

That is not the case today. The audience is now part of a society where life has become rather 'fast'. Also, multiple avenues for entertainment are available which were not there earlier altering the sensibilities of the audience. Hence, what appealed in a performing art then, does not appeal now to the same extent.

Non evolution of the presentation in line with changing expectations will take a performing art away from the larger audience. Therefore, there is a need to innovate in the presentation of a performing art in line with the changing expectations, for enhancing the acceptance and appreciation of the art.

Another pertinent fact is that, the Indian classical dance is performed with several other classical performing arts such as the vocal and instrumental music etc. This coming together of several performing arts has helped in making Indian classical dance most attractive to the audience due to composite impact but its rightful appreciation still remains with the classes only.

Our performing arts are comprehensive enough to provide great creative freedom to respond to changing sensibilities while maintaining their classicism. Only extensive understanding of the art and thoughtful treatment in line with contemporary times is required for reaching larger audience.

In my view, the way to innovation in a Indian classical dance must be vertical than horizontal. What I mean by horizontal is trying to extend the 'Maryada' itself. So, the only available way is vertical which requires deep understanding and training of the performing art on both aspects namely theoretical and practical. This is essential not only for a quality innovation but also for understanding the 'Maryada' itself.

(Prerana Deshpande is one of the leading exponents of Kathak dance in India. A traditional Kathak solo dancer, choreographer and teacher,she runs her own Kathak dance studio in Pune called Nrityadham.)

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