By Ketu H. Katrak (auth.)

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An experience of musical-movement transpires. Classical Indian music traditions with a rich inventory of bols, solketttus, tirmanams, varnum, and padam lyrics are used Introduction 21 along with creative musical arrangements that may include classical piano, jazz saxophone, opera, folk songs, and so on. I link another foundational principle in Indian aesthetics, namely the integral connection between mind and body to what I see as rasa’s integrated emotional-cum-thoughtful response in Contemporary Indian Dance.

Social reformist movements colluded with British Victorian colonizers to eradicate traditional dance, judged to be “disreputable,” along with the anti-nautch (dance) campaign of the 1920s and 1930s, and simultaneous, albeit paradoxical attempts to “revive” traditional dance by upper-caste Brahmins and Indian nationalists into “purified” classical forms (sadir to bharatanatyam, nautch to kathak). I discuss early pioneers – Uday Shankar’s “Creative Dance” in Europe (1930s), and Chandralekha’s creative choreography from the 1980s until her recent death in 2006.

Bollywood dance offers dancers more immediate access, requiring little more than youth and fit bodies that can execute the speedy, simultaneous shaking of limbs, hips, neck, and head in ever-skimpier costumes. The film medium of contemporary Bollywood encourages this, as it moves toward quick edits, fast-paced cuts, and glamorous sets as studios compete to entertain and titillate their commercial audiences. ”13 Historically, this led to complications in unexpected ways. Sarkar Munsi 8 Introduction points out that creative artists who did not fit into the strict binary of classical or folk found themselves outcast from the nationalist-inspired recuperation of “ancient” dance traditions that dominated the arts in postindependence India.

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