Reimagining movement arts in virtual aura amid the pandemic

Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography’s ‘skill diploma in choreography’ promises a unique blend of dance and dramaturgy within the digital space, says Madhu Nataraj

The course is specially designed to nurture the creative abilities of both professionals and aspirants (image credit: Pranav Yathiraj)

By Reema Gowalla

The shifting sands of the pandemic and the fear of the unknown saw many artistes break down behind closed doors. But hope persisted, paving the way for a reimagined and more resilient arts world. “The multidimensional aura of movement arts retained its rigour even within a two-dimensional frame. The basic need of humankind to stay connected inspired us re-envision our craft and eventually adapt to the virtual space, albeit a bit reluctantly,” says celebrated dancer-choreographer Madhu Nataraj, as she takes Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography (NIKC’s) ‘skill diploma course in choreography’ to hybrid mode amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Madhu Nataraj

This yearlong course in choreography is designed for artistes who ‘seek to balance sound training with the emerging global trends in the dance circuit’. Open to practitioners, educators and aspirants from around the world, this 80% online course comprises lectures, workshops and live interactions conducted by eminent artistes and experts from the field of dance, academia, media, music, theatre, design, management and therapy. In the last leg of the course, students will attend intensive sessions at NIKC in Bengaluru.

Among the mentors are Padmini Shreedhar, Geetha Narayanan, Nirupama Rajendra, SG Vasudev, Ashish Vidyarthi, Balan Nambiar, Geetha Narayanan and Mahesh Dattani.

“This is a well-through-out module spanning across verticals such as creativity, empowerment, pedagogy, transformation, healing, academic counselling and social enterprising,” says the director of NIKC, adding, “It took some extra effort to craft and curate a vocabulary for the virtual space. Apart from socio-political history, the arts of the Middle Ages, dance treatises and Indian aesthetics that often influence the language of choreography, special attention has been paid to incorporate nuanced responses to the difficult times we are living in the form of a narrative that merges select disciplines of both dance and drama. Mental health amid the pandemic is one such aspect that’s been keenly dealt with in the course. It is recalibrated considering the old and the new systems in a global trajectory.”

At the end of the course, students will be certified by NIKC and Jain (Deemed to be University). The institute is also offering a foundation course in kathak — a composite introduction to the artistry and craft of the traditional dance form.

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