In/Dividual/In/Stitution Panel Discussion with Jayachandran Palazhy, Leela Samson, Parwati Dutta

Sadanand Menon introduced the three panelists who are associated with different kinds of pioneering dance institutions in India. Jayachandran Palazhy is the founder of Attakalari which is a contemporary dance institution in an urban location, while Parwati Dutta, director of Mahagami, an institute that works in the performing arts, teaching Kathak and Odissi, is located in Aurangabad, a non-metropolitan city in Maharashtra. Leela Samson is associated with both private and official institutions, including, most recently, the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Kalakshetra.

Jayachandran Palazhy talked about his interest and investment in the movement arts. He said that contemporary dance in India is not a form; rather, it is an idea. It is constantly evolving. Artists have to identify their needs and find ways to procure it for themselves and the dance community.

Parwati Dutta talked about her experiences of coming to Delhi as a student and the need she felt to do something new as an extension of the tradition. When she first went to Aurangabad to start Mahagami it was a cultural desert. She says that she felt like a farmer going to a barren land with the determination to plan something there.

Leela Samson said that there will be rupture and discontinuity and glorious moments in every institution. She says that India has far too many expressions even within one expression. Thus it is difficult to form a government policy for performing arts. She ended the discussion by pointing out that dependency on the government means that you will always be the receiver. She urges artists to stand together and be independent.

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