Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fine Performance by MPA Students - Department of Dance, University of Hyderabad

It's the second year in a row that I am teaching a course called 'Arts Management' at the Department of Dance, Sarojini Naidu College, University of Hyderabad. It's part of the Masters of Performing Arts course (MPA) that is offered by the department. It teaches two main forms - Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi - the theory and practice of it. The course is a part of their fourth semester. The class sizes are generally small. Last year there were 9 students and this year we had 12.
Standing - Shanmukha, Tejaswi, Me, Vaishnavi PB, Vaishnavi S, Kavitha
Sitting - Seenaiah, Anusha, Ardra, Athira, Chudamani

I know little about dance, classical or western, Bollywood or pop. But I studied management and apart from that have tried to understand what one must do to gain an advantage in a particular path they have chosen. In other words, manage things without feeling overwhemed by the odds. I try to do the same with my writing - manage it. One of the main aspects of becoming better as a performer or even as someone who wants to understand performance arts is to perform. What we call in cricket - match practice.

To perform well over a period of time one certainly needs to strive for expertise - hence purposeful effort is a must. My theory is that one needs to deconstruct skill, get an expert coach or coaches to guide, practice the right things the right way (instead of  merely putting in loads of hardwork going nowhere) and once ready, perform on as many stages as possible. One needs to meet people of higher standing, have clear role models, engage in discussion and in interpretation and analysis, and mainly take responsibility for their careers. Visibility is important, understanding audience needs is important, understanding how to present oneself is important and mostly, like writers, one must also realise that its not just learning the skill but understanding and fitting in with the environment that's important for career growth.

Based on these principles, we decided to organise one performance at least on a stage - either at Shilparamam or at the DST, UoH. It was wonderful to see the students organise the event all by themselves and perform so well. They transform so much on stage that you wonder what it was that they were worried about - so much passion and work cannot just go waste.

And so it was that I got to see and applaud my students this year - Athira, Ardra, Anusha, Chudamani, Kavitha, Radhika, Shanmukha, Seenaiah, Tejaswi, Vaishnavi PB and Vaishnavi S. It was a wonderful evening and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. It had live music. Prof Anuradha Jonalagadda was there, as always helping the students. I met Dr. Siva Raju, Head of the Department too at the beginning. A good sized crowd came by to cheer - the hall was almost packed.

Well done students. Wishing you many more performances to come in the future.

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