Wednesday, October 6, 2010

the old versus the new on the subcontinent

It's not just on these shores that the integrity of live performance is under siege by the pandering of mass media. Aditi Saxton's profile of the Gati Dance Forum in the Caravan explores how the group can preserve traditional forms in the face of vulgar popularization while still finding space to innovate (and stare down their own arch-conservative critics). Saxton's purple prose is also a joy to read:
Even as fusty traditionalists worry about the siege of the new—in Besseling’s End (of ) Days, Arundale’s disciple MR Krishnamurthy expresses precisely these fears—the modern, the contemporary, it’s the twin Trojan horses of Bollywood masala mash-up and TV dance competition gimmickry that are laying waste to the Indian dance-scape. With no connection to reality, the kind that inspired thinking choreographers like Chandralekha, the two are reducing dance in India to its lowest common denominator. When the aggressive jut of a pelvis wins accolades, the appreciation for subtleties dwindles proportionally, whether it’s a mudra replete with spiritual significance or a battement executed with technical virtuosity. The threat is not from change but from capitulation to mediocrity.
RTWT here.

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