Dancers question new govt. guidelines by Anita Joshua
Artists of high calibre will not appear for an audition before the selection board.




Anita says.....

Time flies when you are older. It is more true than ever. The second half of the year is upon us, the sun has begun its descent and festival time is upon us in India. In the midst of summer’s blaze, dance is more present than ever – in parks, gardens, lakes, galleries and malls around the world. In this dizzying world of change, blurring images and mind numbing information, we notice that as the world hurtles onwards, the system and methodology of dance training in India has not changed as much. Speaking on this subject in Chennai was Leela Samson- ever thoughtful and articulate – about how each teacher must be respectful of the student and realistic about expectations from the guru-sishya alchemy. An urban experience and diasporic histories must be considered when transferring traditional knowledge systems like the classical arts.

The big news/controversy in the dance world is the recent decision of the Indian Culture Ministry to divide the responsibility of selecting dancers for the international FESTIVALS OF INDIA. With the government committed to showcasing Indian culture through dance and music in over 15 countries over the next three years, the thorny minefield of artiste selection once again rears its head. The ICCR chairman Dr. Karan Singh has resigned and his successor will be named this month. Across the world, ministries and embassies are being asked to clear the backlog of paperwork and streamline their work culture. In India the four government funded institutions, Kalakshetra (Chennai), Jawaharlal Nehru Manipuri Dance Academy (Imphal), Koodiyattam Kendra (Trissur) and Kathak Kendra (New Delhi) have been asked to put forth their large group productions for these PR junkets. In a bid to de-centralise artiste selections for solo and smaller group presentations, the Ministry of Culture has divided responsibility previously resting only with the ICCR New Delhi, into two geographical divisions. Sangeet Natak Akademi in Delhi for North India and Kalakshetra in Chennai for the rest of the country. The thorny issue is that one organisation is a cultural apex body with a national representation of artistes from around the country (SNA) and the other a dance school teaching one style of Bharatanatyam (Kalakshetra).

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