(Last Updated on : 20/07/2009)
Indian dance academies have made learning Indian dance much easier, both in and outside India. Moreover, most of these Indian dance academies offer certificate and degree courses to the aspiring students, thus making dance a worthwhile career in the nation.
The Indian dance styles taught in the Indian dance academies cover a wide range, starting from the ancient classical to modern, contemporary styles. There are hundreds of Indian folk dances such as Bhangra, Garba and others. These are also taught in these schools. India offers a number of classical Indian dance forms, each of which has its origin in different parts of the country. The presentation of Indian dance styles in film, Bollywood, has exposed the range of dance in India to a global audience and many aspiring dancers wish to learn such styles. The Indian dance academies offer the provisions to learn the preferred dance form under the guidance of competent teachers or gurus.
Many Indian dance academies specialise in only one kind of dance style, such as Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathak and so on; but there are some that teach both classical dance styles and folk dances of India. Such academies offer the students the advantage of learning varied spheres of Indian dance. The students come from different Indian regions but during their stay in these Indian dance academies, they understand the authentic taste of Indian culture through dance. Rigorous practice in both theory and practical is required from the students to master the various Indian dance forms. The students are made to learn the guidelines laid down in Natya Shastra by the sage Bharata Muni. This ancient text explains the Indian art of performing and states that acting or natya is a broad concept which encompasses both drama and dance.
Indian dance academies usually teaches Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam, Kathakali, Kathak and Sattriya; besides important folk dances like Bhangra, Gidda, Dandiya, Bihu, Chhau and so on. There are certain Indian dance academies that teach the dance forms related to gods and goddesses. For instance some academies of dance in India follow the Shaivite tradition. The individuals who worship the Lord Shiva are known as the Shaivites. The students in such academies learn "the lord of dance" that reveals both faces of dance - `lasya` and `tandava`, of which all subsequent dance forms are offshoots. In `Lasya` dance Shiva`s iconographic forms are revealed through the dancer`s movements. While in Vaishnavite tradition, the students learn the dance style performed by Sri Krishna and gopi`s in Vrindavan called the Rasa-Lila, a form of devotional dance.
With passing days, the Indian dance academies are growing in popularity. The experts of various stylised dancing are establishing more and more dance schools across the nation with unlimited specialised courses and subjects of learning dance and other performing arts. Bollywood dance or film dance has also gained immense popularity amongst the youngsters. The aspirants of the acting world often attend these dance schools and also some aspirant choreographers. Dance in early Bollywood films, was chiefly modeled on classical Indian dance styles and particularly those of significant northern Indian courtesans (tawaif), or folk dances. However, modern films often blend this earlier style with western dance styles. The hero or heroine often performs with a troupe of supporting dancers. These supporting dancers are also trained in these Indian dance academies.
Modern Dance in India has a comparatively short history. Since the perception of `modern` or `contemporary` dance, the dance forms have undergone great changes. Deviating from the typical classical dance forms these dance styles are largely attributed to the style of maestro Uday Shankar. Born in the early years of the 20th century, he is widely accepted as the Father of Modern Dance in India and also his worldwide known school Uday Shankar Center for Dance. His daughter Mamata Shankar and daughter in law Tanushree Shankar have also started their own respective dance schools, namely Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe and Tanushree Shankar Dance Company. Today, in addition to the line established by Uday Shankar, there are other choreographers of Modern Dance in India who belong to other schools.
With growing interaction between dancers all over the country and the world, and awareness of important contemporary issues and themes, many classical dancers have also stepped into the realm of contemporary dance through exploration of one or many dance styles. Often martial arts such as Kalaraipayattu of Kerala and Chhau of eastern India are infused into dance choreography, lending greater vigour and variety to the artistic expression.
The Indian dance academies have promptly catered to all kinds of dance styles and forms, whether be it the classical Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathak; Indian folk dances or contemporary dance styles. The classes of these dance academies are often scheduled according to the convenience of the students. They offer opportunities for examinations and degrees with awards as well. The Indian dance academies like Kalashram, Kathak Kendra, Orissa Dance Academy, Bharata Kalanjali, Darpana Academy Of Performing Arts, Sri Krishna Kumar Dance academy and many others have gained immense popularity in and outside the nation.