UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Research in Dance Education
Name(s) of Author/Editor(s): 
Suparna Banerjee
Volume No.: 
Issue No.: 
1 & 2
Page numbers of article: 
41 - 52
Year of publication: 
Country of publication: 
United Kingdom
Country of Research Data: 
This paper is a reflection on the process of dance choreography, an assignment for pedagogical evaluation at postgraduate level in an Indian university. It is also a recapitulation and reconstruction of my experiences while undergoing a Master's course in Bharatanatyam (a style of classical dance) in the Centre for Performing Arts (CPA), University of Pune, India. The formal assignment of dance choreography, placed at the end of the final semester, is compulsory and an integral part of the syllabus. It enables the learner to make independent choices in creating new variations within the scope of a dance style. In the curriculum an assignment of choreography drives and motivates the learner to be creative in constructing their knowledge into a visible and distinct form. This is how educators justify the process of creation in terms of a measurable account of effective learning. However, it does not tell anything about the intrinsic forces, the inner struggle and the conflict that acts 'behind the screen' to make this dance possible. The aim here is to reflect on the various elements involved: the dilemma between tradition and innovation, the confusion of the overlapping selves, the inner struggle to create a new form within the preset parameters and the psychological fear to be condemned as 'archaic' or 'iconoclast'. All these experiences will be analysed in detail such as to unfurl the nature of the Indian dance teaching and learning process within a prescribed curriculum from the learner's viewpoint.
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