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  • October 14


October 14
Registration, INR 300 for all three days of the conference
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Startup Tunnel, Vihara Innovation Network, D-57 Chattarpur Enclave, 100ft Road, New Delhi- 110074

Rekha Tandon, Priyadarsini Govind, Justin McCarthy


  • What space does the guru-shishya parampara accord to the individual voice?
  • What learnings can we derive for contemporary dance by looking at traditional pedagogical models like the guru-shishya parampara? How is such a system of learning adapting itself to present-day circumstances in institutions such as Kalakshetra and in newer liberal arts universities?
  • How does the training system for form-based practice acknowledge newer pedagogical approaches to dance, encompassing the role of technology, interdisciplinarity and the inculcation of a bodily awareness that is capable of transcending form? Can the latter help us arrive at the ‘contemporary’ body in Indian dance, where the contemporary is a sensibility rather than a notion of form?


Rekha Tandon is a choreographer in odissi, has a Ph.D. in Dance Studies from Laban, London and has been a performer in the tradition for over thirty years. She was part of Madhavi Mudgal’s dance company in New Delhi between 1984 – 93 and subsequently worked as an independent artiste in Bhubaneswar, Orissa for thirteen years. She co-founded Dance Routes and its repertory group with gotipua dancers and continues to be its Artistic Director. Her choreographic work (both solo and group) has explored new form in odissi grounded in the principles of yoga, using indigenous traditional resources. She has co-authored Odissi – A Dance of Sculpture with Michael Weston, and recently completed a second book examining the background, technique and embodiment of odissi based on her research at Laban. She now lives and works adjacent to Auroville in Tamil Nadu, India. In this session, she discusses an approach to expanding traditional form in odissi using choreological perspectives developed at Laban. The contemporary dance environment at Laban (UK) facilitated examining odissi from “inside-out”, as much as Rekha had from “outside-in” while entrained within the tradition. It also explores its ramifications on the processes of learning, teaching and creating new works, in accord with the tradition’s ideals of sadhana.

Priyadarsini Govind is one of the foremost Bharatanatyam dancers of this generation. She has been performing in prestigious venues all over India and the globe, taking Bharatanatyam to many major international and national festivals as a soloist. She is actively engaged in performing, creating new repertoires for dance, and teaching. Among her recent works are a unique set of instructional DVDs for Bharatanatyam conceptualised and created for Kalakriya covering the entire Bharatanatyam margam as well as focusing on capturing and documenting Kalanidhi Nayarayan’s teaching and practice of abhinaya. She has collaborated with several top-notch artists from around the world such as Leela Samson, Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Bombay Jayashree, T.M. Krishna, Aruna Sairam, Elisabet Petit and Gowri Ramnarayan to create diverse and delightful artistic experiences for her audience. Priyadarsini has been honoured with many awards for her work in the field of arts. She currently serves as the Director of the Kalakshetra Foundation.

Justin McCarthy is both dancer and musician. He teaches, dances and choreographs in the bharatanatyam style and teaches and plays piano and harpsichord. After initial training, Justin studied bharatanatyam with Leela Samson for a decade at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi, where he has now been on the dance faculty for the past 25 years. In addition, he is presently putting together the performing arts programme at Ashoka University.