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Pedagogy Evolution Of Barathanatyam Essay

893 words - 4 pages

From old methods of teaching to modern methods, the relationship between the student and teacher has changed drastically. What was once the guru-sishya parampara, has now become a teacher-student relationship. This paper will present a brief examination of the evolution of the pedagogy of Barathanatyam and the change from guru-sishya to teacher-student.
Rukmini Devi fostered this evolution of Pedagogy when she opened the dance school Kalakshetra. She invited international educators of dance and music to teach at the school, and thus the guru-sishya relationship changed (Medhuri). Students learned different dances and pieces form different instructors, and although it was still a formal ...view middle of the document...

In more modern times, students take classes as their schedule will allow. Few families would be happy at the idea of their child becoming an artist, preferring that they dedicate themselves to fields such as engineering, medicine, or computer science (Pillai).
Arangetram, which translates to ascension of the stage, marked the beginning of a dancer’s journey as a performing artist. It is the dance debut, the first time a dancer is on stage by him or herself with the guru and musicians. It is a presentation of a margam, or journey, highlighting each and every aspect of the art form. From expressions to the pure dance sequences, the dancer is trained extensively to perform the entire repertoire in a 3-4 hour show. The deference to the guru has been sacrificed, as many students are more occupied with becoming “well-rounded” to get into colleges and universities. Gone are the days when being a dancer meant continuing the career beyond the Arangetram. Students see that performance as graduation and culmination of their dance career (Pillai). As a result, “studying dance is not a primary focus, and its purpose is rarely to become a professional, full-time performer” (Pillai).
When it came to teaching the art form itself, the sishya would learn by habitual repetition of movement. In more recent times, students have begun to use technology to learn. They videotape classes and go over them to practice. It was once considered rude and disrespectful and a challenge to authority and knowledge of a dancer asked questions. (Prickett). Students are now more comfortable with asking questions ranging from “why does the heroine plead so much? Does she have any...

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