Two Day National Conference on Research in Music and Dance
January 28, 2020
(Translated from the original Kannada into English by Nagaranjita S)
A two day National Conference on Research in Music and Dance was organized by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jain University, Bengaluru, on 17th and 18th January 2020. The success of the conference affirmed that research in the field of performing arts is indeed seeing light and getting progressive. A lot of promising works presented by researchers across the country was evident for the same. The Jain University Performing Arts Department is known for its emphasis on quality research and promoting the rich Indian cultural heritage. The well organized event just reaffirmed it.
The conference was inaugurated along with the Natyayana book release authored by Dr. Shobha Shashikumar, reflecting the perseverance of the faculty in the institution. The first copy of the book was received by notable dramatist Korgi Shankaranarayana Upadhyaya. The book is a Noopura Bhramari publication and contains a foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh.
Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh
In his keynote address, Dr. Ganesh shed light on the problems, possibilities and challenges of research in music and dance. He emphasized on the need for multifaceted approaches for researching in these art traditions. He discussed wide range of perspectives like the need for music and dance researches to trail along rasasutra, the coalition of marga and desi forms, their social correlation, economics, choreography, cinema, art criticism and other aspects which open many new arenas for researchers to explore.
Music paper presentations
On the first day, 'Music Reconstruction of Prabhandha Notation' presented by K Shrilatha and 'Application of Carnatic solkattu for Autism - A feasibility study' presented by Sharanya Govindaraj bagged prizes for best papers. Karthik G, Deepashree M, Janaki G, Aishwarya Mahesh, Ragini AR, Narayana P Iyer, Anupama Murali, Sumidha Vedabala, Nirmal Harish, Nambi Pillai Manoj, Nitin Hoogar, Vibhashree MS, Sharanya Sriram were other presenters activating the stimulus of the conference.
Continuing to the second day, Abhijith Shanoy's 'Applicability of statistical quantitative methods in Indian vocal music' and Krithika Srinivasan's 'Orality, Appropriation and Cultural Negotiations with particular reference to Music and Dance' were awarded the best papers. Shivashankari J, Veena K Murthy, Raksha Rao, Bhavana Prabhakaran, Meena Ganapathi, Bhargav Ranganath, Charles Godwin and Roopa Srikanth were the other delegates who presented their papers. Dr. K Varadarangan, Dr. Meera Rajaram Pranesh, Dr. V Premalatha and Dr. Rajashree Ramakrishna from Tamil Nadu were in the panel of judges who selected the best of papers presented on both days.
Dance paper presentations
'The merits and difficulties in bringing Chaturvidhabhinaya in classical literature with special focus on Mahakavyas of Kalidasa- Kumarasambhava-A study,' a paper presented by the young scholar Arjun Bharadwaj that showcased a varied perspective in understanding ancient literature through dance, captivated everyone's attention. Fair and just so, it was chosen the best paper presented on the first day of the conference. Megha R Srinivas who presented a post-production analysis of her dance production called 'Avalokana' was an example for how an art research should elevate to the level of introspection in art. Next paper seeking attention was 'Current status and prospects of dance criticism' presented by Nagaranjitha S. The paper was a deliberation on the past and present scenarios in dance criticism and prospective suggestions that could promote it as a profession. Dr. Veena Murthy Vijay, Sneha Kappanna, Dr. Priyashree Rao, Sneha Shashikumar from Hyderabad, Apoorva N Prakash were the other promising researchers who presented their papers on day one.
The best paper presented on the second day of the conference was by Shruthi Chalam Mahadevan (second-year MPA student of Jain University), who presented a paper on 'Methodology Challenges in Performing Arts with special reference to Static Allied Arts - Amarachitrakatha - A study'. It caught attention with its clarity and preciseness aligning the observers towards innovative thinking and varied possibilities in dance research. 'The oral traditions giving rise to different banis of Bharatanatya,' a paper presented by Anupama Jayasimha caught the appreciation for good documentation despite the debatable factors. Rashmi Thaper's presentation 'Oral traditions in Indian Dance- Teaching methodologies of two different generations' mirrored how research is to be placed with authenticity and reasoning over generalization.
A cultural evening was organized by the department of Music and Dance on the first day. 'Kani Kathamani,' a dance drama production based on the research on Kuravanji of Karnataka by Dr. Manorama BN set a milestone. It set off an example of how a research must blossom in practical application to solicit its success. Lyrics were weaved based on Hanuman Kuravanji, Helavanakatte Giriyamma's Brahma Kuravanji, Rukmini Bai Narasapura's Srinivasa Kuravanji. It was an elite attempt by the Jain University students to be among the foremost presenters to showcase the versatile literature of Karnataka Kuravanjis. Attractive angikabhinaya balanced with sativakabhinaya, karanas of Natyasastra was aided by good stage coordination that elevated the presentation. Despite being the repeat presentation of the production staged earlier in October 2019 with live orchestra on a relatively bigger scale in terms of theatrical provisions, this presentation stood out for being showcased on a limited stage setup with a recorded audio which was commendable.
Much of the satisfaction came when the theme of the conference was successfully put back in place through the panel discussion that appeared to be misled by few presenters deviating from the research paper presentations towards challenges involved in the individual researches dealt with, instead of adhering to research challenges on the whole. A two hour long panel discussion managed by Dr. Aarthi Rao observed some of the eminent panelists such as Dr. TS Satyavati, Dr. Varadarangan, Dr. Meera Rajaram Pranesh, Dr. Shobha Shashikumar, Dr. Manorama BN and HOD of Madras University's Music Department Dr. Rajashree Ramakrishna was centered on the purpose, problems of research helping the research scholars and students realize the importance of an art research, the journey, its objective, purpose and the determination that it takes. It also successfully addressed some of the small glitches observed in the earlier paper presentations.
The conference had book stalls by Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs, Preksha Prathisthana and Noopura Bhramari Foundations. The two day conference was well managed and coordinated by the Jain faculty Dr. Aarthi Rao, Arun Sreenivasan and Madhulika Srivatsa. The research presentation rooms were named after the great ancient scholars like Bharata, Abhinavagupta, Anandhavardhana, Sarangadeva and Ramamatya which was very thoughtful and relevant to the mood and theme of the conference.
The two day conference was attended by many researcher scholars as well as observers who came from cities across the country and took part in the knowledge exchange.