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Indian Dance: Theory and Practice

Indian Dance: Theory and Practice

-  Dr Urmimala Sarkar

The course deals with Indian dance practices, basing the study in an analytical framework to understand dance historiography in the context of Indian society and culture, covering the areas of aesthetics in Indian dance; Natyashastra and its applications in the structuring and restructuring process in dance; and, social spiritual, political, dynamics of dance in India.

The course aims to cover tradition and transition in dance in India, reviewing the dance history specific to each of the eight classical dances, and also the problematic of the concept of contemporary dance in the practice of Indian performers- bringing in local and global issues of significance.

Suggested Readings:


• Sharda Adya Rangacharya, Natyasastra, New Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1996

• Sally Banes, Writing Dance: in the Age of Postmodernism, Hanover and London: Wesleyan University Press, 1994

• Rustom Bharucha, Women / Dance / Resistance, New Delhi, Harper- Collins, 1995

• Uttara Asha Coorlawala, Classical and Contemporary Indian Dance: Overview, Criteria and a Choreographic Analysis, unpublished manuscript of Ph.D dissertation, New York University, 1994

• Shovana Narayan, Performing Arts in India: A Policy Perspective, New Delhi: Kanishka Publishers and Distributors, 2003

• Kapila Vatsayan, Indian Classical Dance, New Delhi: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1974

• Kapila Vatsayan, Traditions of Indian Folk Dance, New Delhi: Indian Book Company, 1978

• Kapila Vatsayan, “Some terms of Indian Arts: An Analysis”, Paper presented at the International Seminar “In Search of Terminology” Central Institute of Indian Languages, New Delhi, 1982



A warm welcome to the modified and updated website of the Centre for East Asian Studies. The East Asian region has been at the forefront of several path-breaking changes since 1970s beginning with the redefining the development architecture with its State-led development model besides emerging as a major region in the global politics and a key hub of the sophisticated technologies. The Centre is one of the thirteen Centres of the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi that provides a holistic understanding of the region.

Initially, established as a Centre for Chinese and Japanese Studies, it subsequently grew to include Korean Studies as well. At present there are eight faculty members in the Centre. Several distinguished faculty who have now retired include the late Prof. Gargi Dutt, Prof. P.A.N. Murthy, Prof. G.P. Deshpande, Dr. Nranarayan Das, Prof. R.R. Krishnan and Prof. K.V. Kesavan. Besides, Dr. Madhu Bhalla served at the Centre in Chinese Studies Programme during 1994-2006. In addition, Ms. Kamlesh Jain and Dr. M. M. Kunju served the Centre as the Documentation Officers in Chinese and Japanese Studies respectively.

The academic curriculum covers both modern and contemporary facets of East Asia as each scholar specializes in an area of his/her interest in the region. The integrated course involves two semesters of classes at the M. Phil programme and a dissertation for the M. Phil and a thesis for Ph. D programme respectively. The central objective is to impart an interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of history, foreign policy, government and politics, society and culture and political economy of the respective areas. Students can explore new and emerging themes such as East Asian regionalism, the evolving East Asian Community, the rise of China, resurgence of Japan and the prospects for reunification of the Korean peninsula. Additionally, the Centre lays great emphasis on the building of language skills. The background of scholars includes mostly from the social science disciplines; History, Political Science, Economics, Sociology, International Relations and language.

Several students of the centre have been recipients of prestigious research fellowships awarded by Japan Foundation, Mombusho (Ministry of Education, Government of Japan), Saburo Okita Memorial Fellowship, Nippon Foundation, Korea Foundation, Nehru Memorial Fellowship, and Fellowship from the Chinese and Taiwanese Governments. Besides, students from Japan receive fellowship from the Indian Council of Cultural Relations.