chapter  2
15 Pages

Institutionalization of Classical Dances of India: Kalakshetra — The Principal Case Study: Sunil Kothari

In the late 1920s, Indian dance made a mark on both national and international fronts. Through the efforts of pioneers like Uday Shankar, Indian dance and Indian heritage were discovered by the world. Indian classical dance did exist in the temples as a part of ritual worship and in the princely courts where dancers performed for the patrons. As a reaction to the British rule the intelligentsia, seeking national identity, revived the indigenous arts. With increasing awareness about Indian dance traditions, some of the pioneers founded institutions for training. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) introduced Manipuri and Kathakali in Santiniketan in the 1920s and 1930s; Poet Vallathol Narayan Menon established the Kerala Kala Mandalam in 1930 in Cheruthuroothi, Kerala for Kathakali; Rukmini Devi (1904-86) established Kalakshetra in Chennai

in 1936 for Bharatanatyam; Uday Shankar (1900-77) established the Uday Shankar Cultural Centre in Almora in 1939; Madame Menaka (1899-1947) established Nrityalayam at Khandala near Mumbai in 1941 and made arrangements for training in Kathak and other classical dance forms. These were people with modern sensibilities who had realized the importance and value of Indian classical dance forms and why they should be preserved.