Rooted in tradition; seeking new horizons
As Indian dance traditions continue to thrive, faithfully mirroring an age-old culture, there are several powerful currents that are exploring new forms and questioning established norms of performance.

It is through this new and fast moving group - loosely termed as ‘modern’ or ‘creative’ - that themes like environment, youth and women’s issues have been showcased in music and dance. Some choreographers have chosen to explore the primary impulses of the human body; others have used the lexicon of classical dance hastas to interpret lyrics in western language; some others are incorporating multi-media techniques and elaborate stagecraft to convey their message.

In most cases these pathbreakers have moved away from the elaborate, bejewelled, coy image of a traditional dancer to visuals that appear bolder, more graphic and provocative.

In all these creative excursions we are seeing a new and exciting equation of performance styles and standards. Some of these performers have chosen to directly attack the traditional bastions of Indian dance, often inviting fury and criticism from shocked purists. Others have chosen a more concillatory path, seeking the blessings of their gurus while striking out in personal voyages of creative expression through dance.

All the members of this new breed have imbibed training in one or more of the classical styles and are using their trained bodies along with the language of Indian dance and music to explore the inner reaches of the human mind, to chase the shadows of reality and illusion and to encompass themes and ideas that strike more directly at the heart of today’s audience.

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