Performing Culture in India

by Ashok da Ranade

My class notes

Summary from the Program

Culture is no more equated with Arts and activities identified as artistic. Similarly, performance is not confined to dance, drama and music. As a consequence, it is now accepted that arts, culture and life-activities/forms need to be studied together as co-relates. A provocative premise is: No art can be understood unless the culture producing it is understood and vice versa. The second premise opens the debate still wider. It states, 'The Performing Arts, on account of their inherent capacities, bring together usually stated conceptual and experiential paired opposites such as representational-autonomous, aesthetic-ugly, moral-immoral, human-non-human in such a way as to resolve situations otherwise perceived to be contradictory. Therefore, no culture can be comprehended in its full import unless multi-leveled manifestations of performing impulses are understood, appreciated and appraised. In order to understand, to know and to feel India it is essential to study Indian Performing Culture.

My Notes

Performing Arts - Dr. Ranade

- mudras - hand gestures symbolizing things, actions
- performers, while often good performers, often uncultured
	- odd dichotomy
- performance art ignores most senses, concentrating on sight (and to some extent, hearing)
- he would like a multisensory approach to performance
- we have overstressed "originality"
- the long history has people who have already done almost anything you could try, better
- performers, creators are part of a chain of tradition
- "culture" is about values
- five categories:  primitive, folk, religious, art, popular
- ie. Disco is primitive, if you consider its structure
- India believes in oral tradition
- the definition of religion is so wide in India that any performance has aspects of it
- performer in Indian tradition will always ask his guru's permission before starting to perform
- hearing plus attention is listening (talking about oral tradition)
- oral tradition co-exists with written
- teachers pass on skills, professors pass on skills and perspective, gurus pass on both these and insight 
by giles