Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2016, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

The Pioneers of Indian Dance

who Placed it on the World Map

Seminarraum 1 des Instituts für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Universitätscampus, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.7, 1090 Wien


A public lecture by Sunil Kothari (Former Professor and Dean, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India)

Classical Indian dance started making new strides from the 1930s, when Rukmini Devi established Kalakshetra in Chennai in 1936, Uday Shankar established the Uday Shankar Culture Centre at Almora in the Himalayas, Madame Menaka established Nrityalayam in Khandala, a hill station near Mumbai, and the poet Vallathol Narayan Menon established Kerala Kala Mandalam at Cheruthooruthy in Kerala in 1933. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore had already estblished Shantiniketan in the 1920s and introduced Manipuri and Kathakali dances in his dance-dramas in 1930s. Indian dance owes its renaissance to these pioneers. This illustrated talk (including film clips) will focus on the following dancers.

Uday Shankar (1900-1977) was born in Udaipur (Rajasthan). His father Shyam Shankar Sastri was a minister at the court of Jhalawar state and was a lawyer as well as a great Sanskrit scholar. Of his six children Uday Shankar was the eldest, and world-renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar the youngest. From childhood Uday Shankar had shown love for painting and theatre and used to act in children's plays and also dance. But he had no training in dance, except that he had seen female dancers performing Rajasthani dances and some Kathak dances at the royal court. He was sent to learn painting at the Royal College of Arts in London when his father was in London for some legal work. Uday Shankar eventually met the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who asked him to join her ballet company in order to choreograph Hindu dances. His dance with Anna Pavlova in „Radha Krishna“ was a great success at Covent Garden, London, in 1923.


Ram Gopal was born in 1912 in Bangalore. His father was a Rajput lawyer and his mother a Burmese beauty. Ram Gopal met La Meri, a dancer from America who came to study Bharatanatyam in Bangalore. When she saw young and handsome Ram Gopal she invited him to join her company for a tour of South East Asia. Ram Gopal was later helped by a Polish journalist who took him to London. Ram returned to India and studied Bharatanatyam under the great Pandanallur Meenakshi¬sunderam Pillai and Kathakali under Kunju Kurup in Kerala Kala Madalam. After that he formed his dance troupe and went to London and presented his classical Bharatanatyam and Kathakali dances winning laurels

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Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde in Kooperation mit der Österreichisch-Indischen Gesellschaft


Judith Starecek
Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
4277 43502