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Dancing in-between spaces: an auto-ethnographic exploration of an abhinaya class
Published in Routledge
Volume: 17
Issue: 2
Pages: 113 - 129
The questions that this paper poses are placed at the intersection of a Liberal Arts approach to education and the pedagogy of traditional Indian dance forms. These questions are explored through my ongoing pedagogical experiment with teaching the art of abhinaya in the university classroom. This paper charts the journey of exploring what the technique of abhinaya means. How is it generated? Where does an individual find agency and voice within the discipline of a classical Indian dance form? Here abhinaya is generated through a toolbox of methods, which allows students to access their own perceptions and understandings and structure them in ways which can be communicated. Building upon their embodied knowledge, students create multiple layers of meaning, moving from the obvious depictions to abstract forms; a process that forms the bedrock of traditional abhinaya technique. Learning in the class is driven neither by the teacher nor the curriculum, but rather by the student. In its approach, this class cuts across disciplinary boundaries and creates new frictions and relations in the class. It challenges the authority of the teacher and redefines the relationship between the teacher and the taught and what constitutes legitimate knowledge in a given discipline. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
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