Ever watched a contemporary dance performance and wondered what was being depicted or conveyed? Well then, here is a book written by a contemporary dancer, Tripura Kashyap, who has tried to answer these questions and more in her book, which was recently released in Bengaluru. Titled Contemporary Dance – Practices, Paradigms and Practitioners, the book is published by AAYU Publications.
The introduction of the book gives you a gist of what triggered off the idea for the book. In it Tripura writes, “The book emerged out of my research project, which was spread over two years (2011-13), and attempted to address the historical, theoretical, philosophical and practical considerations of contemporary dance in India. I have included brief glimpses of choreographers and their works from different eras in the history of contemporary dance in India and abroad. Contributions of pioneering artists, such as Rabindranath Tagore, Uday Shankar and other younger choreographers, who consciously searched for new directions and approaches in Indian dance and attempted to expand its boundaries, have been addressed.”
This is Tripura’s third book after Manual on Movement Therapy for Special Educators and Therapists (published by Karnataka Parents of Mentally Challenged Children) and My Body, My Wisdom – A Hand Book of Creative Dance Therapy (Penguin).
Tripura says the book includes her experiences and the questions she has been asked about this form of dance over the years and adds that it is for anyone interested in knowing about dance and creative processes.
The topics covered in the book include what is contemporary dance, techniques and approaches, dancers and choreographers, their views and interpretations. Tripura says, the dancers featured in this book have “each their own style of working and approach. Most of them have drawn from Indian classical dances they have been trained in –Kathak, Kalari or Bharatanatya. Then there are some who are completely Western in their styles, as in, their movement language comes from the West. So the reader will find a wide spectrum of movements described in the book too.”
Tripura adds she has also tried to explain how dance vocabulary changes depending on the style the dancer is influenced by. “Some have broken away from traditional forms, while others stay within and change only the content to contemporary. There are many ways that the style can be incorporated to create movement,” explains Tripura, who has covered everything from hand gestures, facial expressions and how most of the dancers have used Indian classical dances in their creations using this dance style.
When asked where contemporary dance stands in India, she responds, “It has gone up in its act. If you see performances today, you will see the halls are mostly full. Even though we don’t have too many contemporary dance schools in India, many dancers have been adventurous in the way they choreograph their movements and interpret concepts and issues using it.”
The book, she adds is for students of dance as it features dancers from Uday Shankar to Martha Graham and Daksha Seth to Mayuri Upadhya. “Young dancers who want to know about what happened before them, can treat this book as a text book too,” beams Tripura.
The book, priced at ₹1,400, is available at major book shops.