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Dance in criticism

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Dance is the most transient of all art forms, and the use of visual equipment like cameras along with the development of useful dance notation in the late 19th century contributed to its critical value. 

The family of dance forms is diverse and encpompasses the world.

In western dance forms Ballet, Hip-Hop, Tap dance, Jazz, Contemporary, folk, salsa, modern dance, belly dance, tango, break dance, ballroom etc are historically significant and still thriving.

In India, famous dance traditions include Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Bhangra, Garba, Manipuri raas leela, Odissi, Giddha, Mohiniyattam, Sattriya and Chhau dance add to the diversity of dance styles.

With so many dance forms, dance criticism becomes a very important vertical in its development. 

boy depressed

Reviewing a dance demands critical acumen and thorough understanding of the history, generational communication which transforms it for contemporary taste and popularity.

Being well versed in the technique of dance and rhythm, the aesthetics theories governing dance, the theme and content of particular performance are major areas where critics apply their expertise.

One who has some knowledge of these are aptly qualified to review any dance form. The Natya Shastra- dealing with dance, drama, music, architecture, poetry, and many other aesthetic experiences is among important and universally relevant texts in the field.

To understand the principles and gain knowledge of dance and techniques one can always refer to Natya Shashtra and understand the various bhavas and rasas governing the experience that constitutes the most important part of any dramatic body of work.  

Apart from the ancient and modern texts, a dance critic mostly depends on self-learning. Through his/her senses which allows him to experience the performance, a critic delves into the perspective of performer, the viewer and the performance itself.

Only after evaluating all of these objectively, through his personal sense of observation, can a critic justly comment on a dance form. 

boy depressed from criticism

Through formal channels of education, the courses related to dance criticism are very rare, yet the opportunities are plenty. The discipline of dance criticism courses would play an important role in the development of dance.

Few years back, the widely read newspapers, with significant circulation, stopped covering reviews of performing arts, literature and contributed to systematically killing the institution of criticism in dance.

This trend was followed by several newspapers which used to print special Columns of dance critics in Sunday editions. Currently the print, electronic and social media are filled with advertisements, but nrityashaala.com is a pure form of dance educator. 

We at Nrityashaala believe in educating people with our knowledge, experience as well as practical performances performed by dancers to engage enthusiasts and promote dance in our society.

Aristotle, in poetics furthered the imitation theory and stated “Rhythm alone, without harmony, is the means in the dancer’s imitation”. A dance gains harmony when performed to music and language when accompanied by poetry or prose.

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