India Music and Dance in America


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India Music and Dance in America

  1. 1. By Michael Kobseff
  2. 2.  Introduction  History of the Dance  Meaning of the Dance Moves  Attire  Teaching Youth  Examples of Indian Dance in America  One Woman’s Story  Bibliography
  3. 3.  In the last few years, the traditions of India’s music and dance have been making a presence in American life.  There have been dance schools with added classes to teach the youth the traditional dance.  Ice skaters dancing to Indian Music.
  4. 4.  Presentations of the dance and music.  Even featured a Dance Troupe on Good Morning America .  These are just a few of the ways that America is accepting the music of India into our society.  The next few slides represent Indian traditional music and dance presence in America.
  5. 5.  “The dancer must communicate with the audience on a narrative level, as well as, as Rasika says, appeal to some aesthetic on the level of “abstraction.” (  Each move the dancer makes, helps tell the story  The dancer could be a man or a woman or group of dancers, depending upon the dance.  The stories are based on love, mythology, and poetry.
  6. 6.  This dance style is characterized by a linear form of the body without any pronounced movement of the upper body and linear spatial patterns, which make the dance form extremely dynamic and powerful.  It also makes it very difficult to learn.  It was designed for royalty and has been preserved with its professionalism though strict tradition.
  7. 7.  Sadir Natyam – a solo dance performed for royal courts  Bhagavata Melam – a group form of dance drama from Tamil Nadu, with all roles performed by men, themes based on mythology  Kuravanji – a group dance by women, interpreting literary or poetic compositions typically on the theme of love  Kuchipudi – a group form of dance drama from Andhra Pradesh, with all roles performed by men, and themes based on mythology
  8. 8.  “This dance is the oldest of the classical dance forms, and its origin can be traced to Bharatha`s Natya Shastra” (
  9. 9.  deo_2382620_basic- bharatanatyam-dance- syllables.html  Basic dance moves are taught with specific movements called syllables. The syllables feed off of each other keeping pace with the music.
  10. 10.  bharatanatyam-dance-steps.html  This is the first dance step. It is asking permission from Mother Earth to stamp on her. Then at the end of the same is repeated to ask permission again. All dances begin and end this way.
  11. 11.  Through the movements stories are told.  Passing of the torch .
  12. 12.  “A female Bharatanatyam costume consists of a number of pieces, designed to look like the dancer is wearing a sari in a special way. Typically, there is a single piece from the waist down, which could be in the form of a skirt or a dhoti. There is a blouse piece for the torso, and a wrap that covers the blouse. Then there are optional decorative pieces, such as back pieces, fans, and pleats.  In addition to the clothing, there is specific jewellery for Bharatanatyam, called temple jewellery. It consists of the headset, earset, necklaces, and waist belt, some of which can have many individual pieces. Bangles and anklets with bells complete the ensemble. For men, the jewellery does not include the headset. The earset is simple, usually just stud earrings, and the necklaces are also less ornate.”
  13. 13.  “In India, traditional knowledge was passed from teachers to disciples using a system called the gurukul. The literal meaning of gurukul is "the guru's family".” (  “In India Bharatanatyam students train daily for four years to be qualified as dancers, and some continue with post graduate studies, usually for two more years.”(
  14. 14.  Bharatanatyam students in the U.S. typically have a one hour class each week. This means it usually takes about ten years to mature into a performing artist. Since American students also work, have school and other interests.
  15. 15.   Excerpts from Abhinaya's concerts: 1. Rivers - a mystical journey - choreography by Rasika Kumar; performed by the Company. 2. Nritya Sangati - Progressions - choreography by Rasika Kumar; performed by the Company.
  16. 16.   Dance performance by the US national dance champions Meryl Davies and Charlie White to Indian songs.  American competitors use an Indian mix of dance music to skate to.
  17. 17.   The NDM Bollywood Dance troupe perform a Bollywood dance to "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire, on Good Morning America, under the choreography of Nakul Dev Mahajan.  This group was featured on Good Morning America.  It is a modern mix of Indian and Hip Hop.  They dance to the song “Jai Ho” by The Pussy Cat Dolls
  18. 18.   August 15, 2009, the Indian community in Madison ,Wisconsin, led by the Association of Indians in America-Wisconsin chapter (AIA), celebrated India Day to commemorate India's Independence Day. The celebration featured several performances highlighting Indian dance, songs, and music, as well as Indian food offered by a number of local restaurants.
  19. 19.  “Mythili Kumar began teaching informal bharatanatyam classes to a group of young girls and it blossomed into a Company.  She created the Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose  Mythili taught her daughters the dance. Her husband also perfoms and helps with the music.
  20. 20.   This is the Dance Company’s slide show of pictures that represent different dance moves.  It also gives a good representation of traditional attire and makeup.  Abhinaya Dance Company was started by Mythili Kumar.
  21. 21.  In June, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival awarded Mythili Kumar the 2010 Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award.  The San Jose Mercury News estimates that over 1,000 students have passed through Abhinaya’s doors.” (
  22. 22.    l?article_id=8bf1bfc198cd2cccadc48e91f7035386  bharatanatyam-dance- syllables.html?pid=1&cp=1&wa%5Fvrid=5A968644%2 DBDA3%2D4918%2DB999%2D160FA71D3E57&wa%5F vlsrc=continuous  ml