Bharatanatyam | Dancing for the Gods
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For each age group, activities are divided into four ‘activity areas’, as follows:

Activity area 1: Dance Making

This area looks at the ‘raw materials’ – Skills and Techniques – of dance and movement: sitting, walking, jumping. Once the basic skills are learned, we can start to put movements together to express ourselves: Improvisation. Then we can start to create phrases both for ourselves and other dancers: Choreography. All this can finally be combined in Performance.

Activity area 2: Dance Literacy

Dance literacy takes us beyond the physical technique of dance.
In Understanding Dance we look at how dance is used to communicate ideas and stories. In Bharatanatyam, the wide range of symbols and gestures is a specific Vocabulary that can be used to express ideas and emotions on many different levels. Armed with knowledge of this vocabulary, we can begin to Analyse dance, using the techniques of analysis to Compare Dance Styles. In this way, a critical eye is encouraged and developed, as we learn to identify different dance styles and modes of interpretation.

Activity area 3: Making Connections

Now that we are dancing and analysing different styles of dance, it is time to develop a sense of History and Culture – the cultural context from which Bharatanatyam has emerged, and the direction in which the art form is travelling for the future. How has Bharatanatyam worked together with other Indian art forms, such as painting and sculpture – and how can it Connect with Other Arts, western and eastern? And what role will Technology inevitably play in this development, since all areas of the world are now so closely connected through the Internet and other means? As these concepts are explored and developed, it is vital to be aware of the connection with our own bodies. This helps us avoid injury, builds self-confidence and general Health and Wellbeing.

Activity area 4: Community and Cultural Resources

Engaging with Institutions is a great way to develop the curriculum, making full use of the cultural resources around your school or college. Is there a nearby museum featuring Indian art and sculpture? Or perhaps a Hindu temple, similar to those in which devadasis performed for centuries? Using Research Resources means not only local libraries (who may offer programs covering Indian art) but also more general resources such as the Internet. You could also Share Between Schools, teaming up with colleagues in other areas to ‘pool your resources’ for a field trip, or a performance.

Lesson plan: Grades K-5
Lesson Plan: Grades 6-8
Lesson plan: Grades 9-12
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