Tribal and folk dances have been responsible for
sustaining the long continuities of ancient traditions. They are the link
between the past and the present. They also constitute the foundations of major
movements of classical arts. The first edition of Traditions of Indian Folk
Dance, published ten years ago, was a pioneering work which provided a
conceptual framework for comprehending dance. It focussed attention on the need
of placing these dances in their ecological, racial, linguistic, social and
cultural context, and in turn using 'dance' as an indicator and touchstone for
perceiving the multilayered phenomenon of the cultural patterns of India in
their dimension of universality and specificity, stillness and flux.
The book stimulated, provoked, inspired and guided further work particularly
for micro-level regional studies. This revised and enlarged edition fills the
outlines and opens up further vistas of exploration and provides an unique tool
for perceiving and experiencing the phenomenon of dance as lifestyle.
Kapila Vatsyayan, fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, recipient of
the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship, the Campbell Memorial and Chanda Memorial
Medals of the Asiatic Societies of Bombay and Calcutta and Doctorate of Honoris
Causa from the Banaras Hindu University and Rabindra Bharati University and
Mount Holyoke College, USA, is a rare combination of an artist, performer,
author, administrator, policy maker and presenter of exhibitions. For four
decades now, she has worked tirelessly to place the Indian arts in their context
of both function and metaphysics. Through her writing, lectures, performances
and exhibitions she has established new methodologies and provided unique
insights. She has pointed at the inter-relationships and inter-dependence of the
textual; oral, classical and folk, the micro and the macro.
Each of her books has been a path finder. Classical Indian Dance in
Literature and the Art is considered a world classic in the field of
critical scholarship on a theory of aesthetics and history of interdependence of
the arts. Traditional Indian Theatre, Multiple Streams, explores the
phenomenon of unity and diversity in the variegated traditions of Indian
theatre. The Square and the Circle of the Indian Arts presents a concise
framework for comprehending the metaphysical and ideational background of the
arts, and today it is acknowledged as the first major authoritive
multi-disciplinary work on the Indian Arts. Dance in Indian Painting as
also the five monographs on the Gita Govinda and the Artistic Traditions of
India explore the relationship of the text and the image. Through this body
of work as also the exhibitions 'Image of Man' and 'Kham' both conceived be her,
she unravels a holistic world view which is her vision.
Excerpts from Review:
....The infinite care and authenticity with which each little details of the
myriad daces has been worked out is breathtaking. It is not a book for mere
reading, but for study, to be assimilated in small doses, like an unfolding
- Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
....This is by far the best book I have ever come across in the field of
traditional art forms of rural and tribal India.
- Niharranjan Ray, Statesman
....with her characteristic tenacity and critical faculty, she has presented
a study of the traditions of Indian folk dances, breaking fresh ground by
bridging the work of cultural anthropologists and art historians.
- Sunil Kothari, Illustrated Weekly of India
....A valuable publication that should enlighten not only the social
historians but actually anyone interested in India's cultural background.
- Amrita Bazar Patrika
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