Growing in the Performing Arts of India

Growing in the Performing Arts of India Growing in the Performing Arts of India

This is a come-as-you-are class defined by those who attend it.

Mistress Lakshmi has spent 20+ years studying Mysore Style Bharata Natyam, the context and practice of dance in India, the life of dance and dancers and how that connects to the modern practice of classical dance today, and bringing the practice of this to the SCA in the East Kingdom. She's also spent 13+ years studying Kalaripayattu and it's history, and a similar length of of time digging into the practice of it in medieval India. And somewhere in there she also formally studied Carnatic vocal music, and Kannada (the language spoken in the modern day state of Karnataka in India). Through that research, she's also gleaned a fair bit of knowledge about Carnatic music (the classical music of South India), the myths and stories of India, musical performance, and just about any performing art she could dig into.

The goal here is to help performing artists or those looking to start on a path in these arts - to find their next step or some good places to start with celebrating the arts of the kingdoms of medieval India in the SCA. It may be a dance practice class, a reference material class, a slide show, a storytelling class or something else - please be ready with your current experience, your goals and your questions. Our goal - collectively - is to grow as performing artists who can thoughtfully bring an understanding and appreciation of the arts of India to SCA events.

As this class could become movement oriented, wear clothes you can move in and have a space you feel comfortable moving in if you so desire.

Intro to Indian Classical Dance

Intro to Indian Classical Dance Intro to Indian Classical Dance

We have a tremendous set of resources in both text and sculpture describing dance in the Indian subcontinent during the SCA time periods. We'll do a quick run through some of these resources and how they connect to the modern classical dance styles of today.

That will be followed by a hands-on intro dance practice into some of the fundamentals of Bharata Natyam - a modern classical dance style, covering some of the basics for how both pure dance and expressive movement work in this form, and also tips on how to continue train and use it in an SCA context.

Bharata Natyam can be a physically intense form consisting of keep knee bends, repetitive stamping and precise hand positions. It's a total body workout. Students are recommended to:
- wear clothes you can move & sweat in, nothing that drags on the floor, confines the legs, or impedes the arms. Bring a sash to tie at the waist. Traditional clothing for this form would be a sari draped to hang halfway between ankles and knees or a sari draped in one of several dhoti style drapes (ie, into a pair of pants), and hair pulled away from face. Bare feet strongly encouraged or the most minimal footwear you can manage.
- be somewhere with some space to move - a 10'X10' square or more that you can move in barefoot is ideal. Also, downstairs neighbors that won't hate you stomping on the floor are ideal. Concrete floors are hazardous to knees - tread lightly or avoid if possible.
- use good judgement - if you have knee, hip or lower back problems - the lower body movements may not be for you. Treat yourself gently and we will organize class to balance time to move to hand movements with can support a wider range of mobility limitations.

All are welcome - we'll figure out a way to have fun and learn some dance together!