Friday, May 17, 2013

The Hindu/ Footloose/ Drawing the Line

There was a time when ‘Indian dance’ was synonymous with ‘solo’ performances. With classical dance branching out into group choreography, and with the advent of ‘Indian contemporary dance’, this is no longer the case. In both the classical and contemporary dance scenarios in India, dance troupes and companies are coming into being and expanding; and far less frequently, but silently coming into existence – are egalitarian and democratic artistic collaborations.

Every young dancer who steps into the professional realm of collaborative dance – whether it is joining a dance company where there is quite a gap, hierarchically, between the artistic director and dancer; or if it is doing a project with other artists as ‘equals’ –is faced with the question of where to draw the line.

Before I explain what I mean to say by ‘drawing the line’, I must confess that I do not have the answers to the questions I invoke in this essay. I do not claim to know where to draw the line. But given how several young dancers give up on their aesthetic beliefs and values without blinking, naively believing that agreeing to do anything and everything asked of them makes them ‘open minded’, I thought the question of where to draw the line is worthy of being thrown out in the open.

Let me try and explain what I mean when I talk about ‘drawing the line’. Ideally, a great dancer, after years of rigorous training, develops his or her personal aesthetic and style. Whether he or she remains profusely loyal to a technique, or decides to rebel against it – a dancer becomes known for his or her individualism within the generic ‘style’ or ‘form’ of dance. Therein, at least I believe so, lies the excitement and uniqueness. But therein also lies the complication during collaborations with regard to the question of ‘drawing the line’.

When two or more artists with their individual artistic convictions and aesthetic perceptions enter a common space, there is often a clash of individual identities in the form of aesthetic and artistic disagreements. In an egalitarian collaboration, whose individual vision will prevail and who compromises depends on how the artists negotiate their creative terms. The artists, together in a democratic space, may be able to work out to what extent they are willing to compromise on their aesthetic values before they draw the line.

But what happens in a situation where a young dancer is working under a well-known choreographer, or a young student joins his or her teacher’s dance troupe/company? In other words, what happens when the situation is not equal? When hierarchically, the artists in question are not on the same ‘level’? Does the willingness of a dancer to work under unequal conditions imply a willingness to compromise on artistic values?

It is a well-argued and justified defense that a dancer has the choice to work with one choreographer and not another. On researching the two choreographers, a dancer can make an informed guess at which choreographer is less likely to clash with his or her aesthetic choices. But hypothetically, if a dancer finds himself or herself in a situation where he or she is being forced to dance in a manner that clashes with their artistic and aesthetic values, where can a dancer draw the line? Has a dancer been able to draw the line? Or has the answer so far lied in the extremes – silently compromise whatever needs to be compromised or be forced to abandon the collaboration?

Friday, May 03, 2013

The Hindu/ Footloose/ Elite Art

Recently, there has been some talk amongst the Indian rock and metal crowd about musicians having to ‘pay to play’. This means that instead of artists getting remuneration for performing, they pay a fee to enter the festival as performers. Some musicians have been voicing concerns about it, calling it a dangerous trend. Others nonchalantly stated that this has been the case in a lot of music festivals the world over for many years. None the less, it reminded me of the similar situation that exists in the dance world in India.

Certain festivals or platforms for dance in India have been following this system for several years. It is said that many artists pay large sums to be able to perform in these prestigious festivals. Other festivals may not have this policy of paying to perform, but they offer such inadequate remuneration that an artist does end up ‘paying to play’ in some form or another.

As was the case with the music crowd, dancers are also divided in their opinions about having to pay to perform. Some are vociferously fighting the trend, while others have resigned to adopting the same nonchalance expressed by some in the music world.

As a dancer and a writer, I am entitled to my opinion about this system of paying to perform, but more illuminating than my opinion was an analysis of what happens to art when this system is applied to it. This is not to trivialize what it does to artists – such as the fact that the pockets of artists are hemorrhaging money every time they want to showcase their work, and that artists cannot give their full attention to their art because they must have a steady job to pay the bills - but I have written about this in an earlier article on performance ethics.

The ‘pay to play’ syndrome does contribute to the above mentioned issues for artists, but it also highlights a very specific reality.  In this scenario, there is no room for artists who are gifted and talented, but cannot afford to pay. It forces art into the hands of the relatively more affluent, and snatches it away from the less affluent and the poor.

And yet, rather paradoxically, throughout history and in literature, art has belonged in the realm of the common man, not the elite. Sure, the people that patronized the arts have been royalty and the affluent but the artists and practitioners have not. The devadasis in India were wealthy by patronage, but they certainly did not come from affluent backgrounds. The famous painter and sculptor, Michaelangelo also lived the life of a common man. The birth of jazz and the blues, was amidst poverty. And our very own M.F.Husain walked all over Bombay barefoot, paintbrush in hand, painting billboards.

My intention is not to romanticize the poverty of artists, or to say that artists have always been and will always be poor. That certainly should not be the case. Every artist hopes that he or she will be able to survive and thrive through their art. However, art is not something that can or should be taken away from the common man or the poor.

This syndrome almost declares art to be something like a luxury that only the affluent elite can afford to practice. If an artist cannot pay out of his or her own pocket, they don’t get to show their work. The ‘pay to perform’ scenario is as bluntly simple as that. If you don’t have substantial amounts of money that you can spare every time you want to show your work, then you simply don’t show your work. Then, is the message that is being sent out by the syndrome this – pick up a paintbrush, a musical instrument or a set of ghungroos only if you are wealthy? That, in turn, begs for introspection about a crucial question – is the practice and performance of art only for the affluent, or is it for everyone?

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Hindu/ Footloose/ Peer Pressure

In the dance classroom, particularly in classical dance classrooms, classmates share a long term relationship. Many of them join their teacher when they’re very young and stay with them for several years. This not only makes the bond between the teacher and student a crucial one, but it also binds the students together. “My senior”, “my junior” and “my classmate” identify and label students of dance for the years they study together and even after they have launched their individual careers.

One would imagine that these seniors, juniors and classmates are great friends largely due to the fact that they are thrown into the same room week after week, year after year. They share the same teacher, the same learning material and the same triumphs and anxieties. While it is true that some become and remain friends, it is not always the case.

In the competitive world of dance, classmates do not always look out for each other. They exploit each other, tell on each other to the teacher, and are subtly nasty to one another - fighting for the spot of the favourite student. In reality, this relationship can be very cruel indeed. Of course, not all classroom dynamics in dance are like this, but the grim side of it does exist and it is worth examining.

Some students do fall victim to this cruel relationship. In these situations, at best, some students privately celebrate the failure of their peers, and give bad advice disguised as guidance that will unfavour the student with the teacher. At worst, they lie about each other to the teachers or publicly discredit each other’s talent. The insecurity that drives the competitive atmosphere in the classroom is further fuelled by favouritism on the part of the teacher. Having a favourite student is not wrong, maybe its even natural to be drawn to talent. But blatantly displaying the favouritism can lead to such unpleasant relationships between the students.

Some might argue that competition is healthy and that every classroom – be it an academic one, or an artistic class – has some amount of competitiveness that drives the students to excel. Moreover, some may contend that the will to one day be the ‘star student’ inspires each student to do their very best at all times. But underneath this all, what happens in some situations is a slow sedimentation of an attitude that becomes so deep-set in the minds of the students that it does not leave them even as they leave the classrooms.

As some of these students mature, and step into the professional world – becoming dancers, performers, teachers and/or critics, this attitude wears on. Peers do not have any nice things to say about one another, they do not wish to work together. Not always scrutinized by the gaze of the guru anymore, they put each other down in order to rise high enough above the rest to catch the eye of the public now. Just as they had done previously in the classrooms with their gurus or teachers. One hears and sees that dancers are reluctant to praise their contemporaries, subtly and sweetly criticizing one another. Two dancers cannot work with each other because one dancer is threatened by another’s youth or slim figure. These are signs of disturbing trends, the roots of which may lie in their earlier years of training.

The point I’m driving at is this – it all begins in the classrooms. The professional world of dance will not elevate itself from the petty, backstabbing state that it partially (not entirely) exists in, unless teachers and students nip the problem in the bud.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Hindu/ Footloose/ Learning to Teach

Learning to Teach
A relationship of a shishya or student with his or her guru or dance teacher is a strong one on many levels. Students turn to their teachers for guidance consciously, subconsciously and even unconsciously.

Indeed, this puts a whole lot of responsibility on the shoulders of those who consider themselves ‘dance teachers’ or call themselves ‘gurus’. The awareness of this responsibility led me to examine just what kind of teachers are we today. It dawned upon me that before we talk about the proper or correct method of training students, there needs to be some reflection on the ways in which we teach dance. Teachers need to ask themselves - Are we trained or training ourselves to be educators? Do we see ‘dance teaching’ as a ‘side-job’ or an actual education? What do we consider to be a dance education?

The first question begs further questions to be answered such as – Is knowing how to dance well, enough to be a good dance teacher? If not, what involves training to become a teacher of dance? These questions need to be addressed and their answers sought out before one even begins to think of becoming a dance teacher.

Moreover, why one teaches dance also becomes an important question to ask. There are several performers who teach ad hoc in various schools and dance institutions. I can say, with almost complete certainty, that one of the reasons for performers drifting into the pedagogical world of dance is because that is where they can earn a steady income. But is that a good enough reason? Teaching to earn a stable income is one thing, and given the abysmal conditions of performing opportunities and financial support for dancers, it is a justified reason for stepping into the world of dance pedagogy. After all, dancers have to make a living somewhere! But is that one reason, reason enough? Where does income measure up to the passion of passing on knowledge and transmitting skill? Is dance teaching more than a ‘side job’? Is your training a bland and robotic handover of information or an actual education for your students?

The string of questions leads to yet another one. An important question – what do we consider to be a dance education? Is teaching steps through imitation and repetition enough? If it is enough, then perhaps DVDs of steps, dance sequences and dance pieces should replace us as teachers. If it isn’t enough, then what else goes into dance education? In my view, dance education would involve an instruction in understanding rhythm, cultivating musicality, encouraging creativity, guiding students to research into dance history and theory.

A Bharatanatyam student is not educated if he or she learns an entire margam without knowing names of the adavus or the talas and ragas of the Bharatanatyam pieces they perform. A contemporary dancer who trains in the Graham technique is not educated if he or she does not understand the life and philosophy of Martha Graham, and a hip-hop student who is not aware of the social and political surroundings from which hip-hop was born has not had a complete education of the form. In order for our students to be educated in dance, our teachers must value dance education, be educated and constantly re-educate themselves too.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The Hindu/ Footloose/ Keeping Dance Scholarship Alive

Keeping Dance Scholarship alive
In agreement with my previous article in ‘Footloose’, a regular reader asked for my thoughts on the possible solutions or guidelines to “instill and motivate academic scholarship in dancers” and students of dance. The answers, which came to mind, were both easy and difficult to implement at different levels. But it was immediately clear that the answers lay in a multi-tiered revamping of the way we view dance education in India.

For the positive transformation of dance scholarship in India to take place, changes would have to be made at four distinct levels – at the level of the government, institution, at a private as well as individual level.

At the highest level, the government would have to take the arts much more seriously than it does. Every year, funding for the arts diminishes further and further. This has serious repercussions on the study and practice of dance. It affects the incentive of people to take up dance even as a performance art - dance as an academic study, which already has a subordinate position in the dance education hierarchy, then has no hope. Further, the government needs to approve or incentivize schools, colleges and universities to give importance to dance education. This doesn't just mean that the government merely tells all educational institutions to include dance in their curriculum, but needs to put effort into making sure that this directive to include dance in education is implemented properly and effectively.

At the institutional level, funding bodies and institutional heads of schools, colleges, universities and dance institutions need to give dance academics and theory importance. A school, for example, must be able and willing to hire properly trained dancers and dance educators specifically for the purpose of educating the students in the area of dance, rather than using a certified Physics, Mathematics or English teacher to do the job.  

At the college and university level, we need to have Performing arts departments that offer practical and theoretical modules for all of the performing arts - theatre, music, dance. None of our major university departments have this. The few dance institutions that have opened up in India in the last decade also do not offer dance theory and history as a priority subject. I conceptualized and initiated a dance history and theory course for Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, here in Bangalore and I believe it is one of the few dance institutions that now offers this kind of study into dance.

Third, there are several dance students who study dance privately - either at privately run institutions or they attend private lessons with a dance teacher. These privately run dance schools and private dance tutors also need to prioritize a wholistic dance education, which includes the history and theory of dance, at least of the dance form that they are teaching. This also needs to happen at a larger scale. I do not know of many of these that teach theory and history as an important and integral part of learning dance. Most of these private educators concentrate on the practical aspect of learning dance, and some completely ignore even the basic theoretical aspects of dance that are integral even to the correct performance of dance.

And finally, at an individual level, dance practitioners and students need to take initiative to constantly educate and re-educate themselves. Just as they do riyaaz regularly, so must they read regularly on dance, go to conferences and seminars on dance, perhaps even organize and initiate them. A change has to take place within the very minds of practitioners and students that makes them realize that they cannot be whole by learning only a part of what knowing dance is all about.

To conclude, dance scholarship needs to be encouraged at all the four levels and will need the cooperation and will of people from varying backgrounds with varying powers to make this change. Without changes on all the four levels – government, institution, private and individual – we cannot hope for dance scholarship to gain the importance it deserves.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Hindu/ Footloose/ Dance Scholarship

Many dancers in India are considered, by others and even themselves sometimes, to be exclusively performers. People who work on dance in spheres other than performance are wrongly but commonly construed as having first failed as a performer. I’m not sure if this is an ignorant assumption or a sad truth, or a bit of both.

I say a bit of both because it might be true that some people who work on dance today were first desperately trying, and failing to be performers. But loving dance and all it encapsulates too much to let it go, they ‘resorted’ to becoming public critical spectators, dance critics, writers or dance scholars. But it may also true that some dancers recognize the importance of theorizing about dance, academically engaging with it along with performing it. Moreover, there are a handful of people in India who do not dance and are dance scholars and thinkers of great repute, and have attempted to give dance scholarship a position that is equal and not subordinate to the performance of dance.

I do not know for certain which of these scenarios is more prevalent. But as I said, one does often hear of young aspiring scholars and critics that they first ‘tried their hand at dancing’. If this is the impression of dance research and scholarship in India, then it is problematic on many levels.

First, it builds a mythical and harmful hierarchy where the performer is at the pinnacle, and the researcher, critic or spectator is below the performer. This not only disturbs the equilibrium of the dance world but invents power relationships (between performer and audience, performer and student, performer and critic – which I have written about in previous articles) that are distorted and harmful.

More importantly, it creates the wrong impression that performance is more important than scholarship and research on dance. This hierarchy might be the reason why a comprehensive conference or seminar on dance is not possible in India without the presence of at least some international dance scholars. Perhaps performers in India shy away from scholarship and research because they will be seen as having ‘resorted’ to it because they failed at what they ‘really’ wanted to do.

Finally, if it is true that dance scholarship was a ‘last resort’ to staying within the realms of the dance world, then young scholars and critics are likely to be resentful and not appreciative of the field they are in. Such a situation presents problems of its own – where spite, malice and envy inform their research and work, rather than academic inspiration and an intrinsic value in what they do.

This disturbance of equilibrium in the dance world further complicates ‘what dance is’ in the minds of young people, aspiring dancers, critics and scholars. It pits one aspect of learning against another. Young dancers are more keen to ‘get on stage’ than to even learn the basic theoretical aspects of dance. As a dance educator, I come young across dancers who claim to have been trained for a decade and have no knowledge of the basic theoretical tenets of dance; I stumble upon dance students who sleep through discussions on the importance of dance criticism, history and theory; I fumble to explain to a student in his or her second class that it will be a long while before he or she ‘gets on stage’; and I struggle to keep students whose parents I have told this to. Performance seems to have overridden all other aspects of dance! The ambition to be on stage, then, crushes all other learning in its path.

In such a scenario, it becomes easy to cast off research and scholarship as subsisdiary or optional aspects of the training and learning process of a dancer. And under such circumstances, dance scholarship in India will never be what it is becoming in other parts of the academic world – a serious and crucial study.

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Hindu/ Footloose/ Killers of Creativity

Despite what romantics might say, it is not easy to be creative. Creativity is not simply something some people are born with and some aren’t. Creativity is cultivated over many years of training, learning, and experiencing. In other words, it is not an easy task to create something good and meaningful even in the best of circumstances. However, the best of circumstances don’t always present themselves at opportune or frequent moments in time. In fact, many an artist will tell you that the revelations regarding a creative piece of work came at a decidedly inopportune or inconvenient moment!

Moreover, there are certain factors in the art world that make the creation of dance (and indeed other forms of art) even more difficult. One is undoubtedly the lack of inspiration. Inspiration can be thwarted by internal factors such as emotional distress or laziness to actually do the hard work that creativity requires, or to go out there and get exposed to other people’s work – in order to draw inspiration from it.  Inspiration can equally be diminished by external factors such as the apparent celebration of mediocrity, which may cause disheartening and discouragement; a lack of guidance in the form of a mentor, teacher or colleagues; and the economic factor – which in many ways limits creativity.

Let me explain this further. Money, I think, is the second factor worth mentioning that kills creativity. Of course, this is not unconditionally true. An art-funding body that approves funding for a choreographer’s work can be of immeasurable help to the choreographer because it helps him or her to be able to focus only on creating the work, rather than searching for funding. But there is a flipside to this as well. Work that is commissioned often has restrictions imposed on it by the organization that commissions it. Funds are released on the condition that content, concept, vocabulary and so on – will be determined and restricted – not by the choreographer, but by the person or organization funding the work. In that sense, it does kill creativity.

Restrictions are imposed in other ways too, and this particular one seems obvious as a killer of creativity – censorship. Of course, like all of the above factors, this one is also not an absolute evil. Censorship exists in an ideal world for good and important reasons. But sometimes, it does contribute to the bloodless murder of creative potential.

Censorship doesn’t happen in the world of dance very publicly as it does in some other spheres of art – Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vishwaroopam’ and Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic Verses’ are quite openly censored by society. Dance appears to have escaped that censorship but perhaps that is only the case because the world of dance is less in the public eye than Haasan or Rushdie. Censorship does occasionally threaten to kill creativity amongst dancers. Mallika Sarabhai, a dancer and activist in Gujarat, has faced ‘censorship’ of sorts for having viewpoints that didn’t fit well with people in power. On a more ‘aam aadmi’ level, the police does now impose restrictions on dancers who wish to perform publicly. Of course, the banning of live music (which had a profoundly devastating impact on local musicians and bands) in Bangalore as well as the banning of dancing in pubs has caught quite a lot of media attention a few years ago. But even for ‘serious performers of dance’ in India, a very subtle form of censorship disguises itself as a ‘Performance license’. Amongst several things that the performer has to agree not to do, the vague statements could potentially restrict the freedom of any kind of creative expression – the performance must not have “any impropriety of language”, “indecency of dress, dance, movement or gesture”, or “anything likely to excite feelings of sedition or political discontent”. The basis on which impropriety or indecency, or in fact, the expression of political discontent is to be measured is not mentioned anywhere, potentially limiting the creative freedom of a dancer to speak, dance, or dress a certain way.

So, when the best of circumstances do not present themselves to a creative person, these killers of creativity make the creation of art an even more difficult task than it was to begin with.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Hindu/ Footloose/ Pride and Prejudice

When you ask dancers why they dance, they give several reasons. Some say that it’s because they are happiest when they are dancing, others say that it provides them with physical and emotional ‘release’ – an outlet for creative self expression. Still others say that it enables them to say things that words cannot express. Many also say that the mental and physical space in which one dances is a safe space – an expressive and free space. Free in the sense that it is free of ego, free of judgment and of the fear of vulnerability – essentially, a space that leaves pride and prejudice behind.

At a recent ‘Reading Group’ meeting, where a bunch of us gather to discuss issues related to art and education, the discussion led me to think about the issue of pride and prejudice in Indian (and in some instances, global) dance.

Pride is defined as a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit or superiority, whether in the mind or as displayed in bearing or conduct. Undoubtedly, many observers of dance, dance scholars and critics do believe that at least some dancers are afflicted by this particular deadly sin. While a certain pride in your own work is a virtue, when this pride results in arrogance, dismissal of critique, and celebration of mediocrity – as it often does – then it certainly does become putrid.

Prejudice, although craftily disguised or carefully hidden, exists in the subliminal spaces of dance. Prejudice is defined as an unfavourable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought or reason. In India, and in many parts of the world, prejudice against dance and dancers of a certain kind certainly do exist.

A societal prejudice like race (or more particularly, skin colour) infiltrated into the world of dance as well. While in India, there has not been as open a prejudice against darker skin as in the west (the slave trade and subsequent racism against “blacks”); dark skinned dancers have subliminally been victims of prejudice in India as well. How many famous dancers of the previous generation do we know in India who are not ‘fair’ skinned? How come the dusky dancers didn’t quite make it as big as our fair leading ladies in dance?

Another prejudice would be sexuality. Dance is, as I’ve mentioned before, historically been misappropriated as a female form (see my Footloose article, ‘The Suppressed Male‘, Oct. 18, 2012). Male dancers face subtle and sometimes open prejudice, especially with regard to their sexual preferences. On the flipside, female dancers, because their chosen profession involves a display of their bodies, also become the subject of prejudice of another kind. Many conservative families still consider a dancing daughter or daughter-in-law to be morally dubious.

Further, young and slim dancers are favoured, whilst older and plumper dancers face prejudice. A slightly rotund dancer will have always been told by someone or another to lose weight, regardless of how well he or she manages his or her weight while dancing. And of course, youth has been a global obsession for quite some time now. One of the members of our reading group made a brutal but likely accurate statement that in many instances, “older dancers are tolerated because they are pitied”.

Many other instances of prejudice can be found within the mindsets of people who view dancers and dance in India, and the world. Prejudices do enter the outspokenly declared ‘free’ spaces of dance. Whilst these prejudices are allowed to fester in the world of dance, a false sense of pride (at not being eligible for any of the above mentioned prejudices) feeds off these prejudices as well. It is only when pride and prejudice are truly left outside of this space, can dance really be the space that the soul seeks. A space full of creation, expression, creative vulnerability, invention and experimentation – an inclusive space, that allows all people – pale skinned and people of all beautiful shades of brown; male and female and in between; fat, thin, big, small, robust, and petite; young, middle aged and old – to flourish.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Hindu/ Footloose / On his Steps

Patriarchy and Objectification

The attention that patriarchy and objectification of women has received nation-wide due to a gruesome crime against a woman and her friend in the national capital recently forced many Indians to look around them and into themselves. Introspective people have examined the presence of patriarchy and objectification in Indian society and in their own personal lives. As a dancer, I could not help but explore the role that patriarchy and objectification has played in dance.

Historically, although the devadasis were relatively liberated women – amongst the few of that time who were literate and educated; could inherit, own and pass on property to daughters and were free to have sexual alliances without judgement – it is important to remember, as Janaki Nair points out, that they “remained dependent on the triad of men within the political economy of the temple – priest, guru and patron”.

With the onset of colonialism, patriarchal values that already existed in India were perpetuated further by Victorian ideas of femininity. The shaming of the sensual Devadasi and initiation of ‘good Lakshmi-like’ girls into dance in turn spring from the nationalistic visions of womanhood in the post-colonial era. Patriarchal norms dominated this idea of ‘respectibility of women’, which inevitably trickled down into the sphere of dance too.

As far as objectification is concerned, one can speculate that although women were objectified earlier as well, this objectification was magnified during the time that dance forms moved from the temple into the courts and later into the proscenium. Dancers, who had previously offered their dance form to a faceless omnipresent ‘god’, one who would not voice his likes and dislikes, were now presenting their art for a king or a court – with people who set standards of beauty and grace according to their personal aesthetic choices. It is a matter of speculation, but it is not an unreasonable speculation.

In modern India, we have seen extensive discourse on ‘the male gaze’ and how dance has been affected by it. Several scholars have written about how dance has come to be shaped by the gaze of its male spectator. Others have written about how female performers are objectified and idealized depending on their appeal amongst male spectators. Critique in dance has also focused more on the dancer’s appearance than her skill, making specific reference to her eyes, the fact that she did not have ‘the face of a dancer’ or the fact that the design of her costume made her look ‘fat’.

Stepping away from classical dance, contemporary dance in India has perhaps somewhat escaped this objectification by defying the notions of beauty and aesthetics that were laid down by patriarchal norms in the pre-Colonial, Colonial and post-Independence era, to which the classical arts fell victim. Yet, there are Indian contemporary dancers and dance companies that have not been able to separate their dance from the demands of a patriarchal India. Whether contemporary Indian dance totally succumbs to patriarchy and objectification in India is yet to be seen.