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One step at a time

Hrough a series of workshops, seminars and talks, the National Centre of Performing Arts aims to cover every aspect of Indian classical dance. “Pratipadarshini, which literally means seeing every foot, will deal with everything you need to know about classical dance,” explains Swapnokalpa Das, programming head, dance, NCPA.

Over the upcoming months, separate sessions will be organised, each dealing with any a particular dance or any of its allied forms. The series kick-starts on June 3 with a month-long yoga workshop conducted by expert Samanta Duggal, a former Bharatnatyam and contemporary dancer. 

“The workshop is basically a yoga class and will include pranayama, breath work, and chanting, which helps vocalise your breathing,” says Duggal. According to the former dancer, yoga is a precursor to a dancer’s recital. “Apart from acting as a first step to dance and helping in preparation, yoga also has restorative benefits. For instance, dancers are constantly plagued with the wear and tear of their muscles and yoga will help them stretch and mobilise their limbs.

Yoga will help them build more strength, release the tiredness from their body, teach them to centre their balance, and help their concentration,” explains Duggal. “Having said that, the workshop is meant for non-dancers too. Anyone interested in learning yoga is welcome,” she adds.

The entire Pratipadarshini series is designed keeping in mind both dancers as well as an enthusiastic audience. “Those who are not dancers, but want to learn more about dance forms and want to understand performances better may attend the workshops and seminars too,” says Das. July will see an Odissi taal workshop meant for dancers who can participate as well as people who’d like to observe. “A Pakhawaj player, one of the few female players, will give a talk,” adds Das.

The series will not only deal with different Indian classical forms but will also include make up, costumes, writing, and other allied aspects of dance. “The idea is to cover all the unique perspectives of Indian classical dance,” reveals Das. 

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