A Legacy of Innovation: Contextualising an International Creative Practice Project. Kolkata, West Bengal. 2004

Stock, Cheryl F. (2006) A Legacy of Innovation: Contextualising an International Creative Practice Project. Kolkata, West Bengal. 2004. In Vella, Richard (Ed.) SPIN SPeculation and INnovation: Applying Practice Led Research in the Creative Industries, 2005, Creative Industries Faculty, QUT, Brisbane.


Rabindranath Tagore and Uday Shankar, both 20 th century Indian cultural icons, used tradition as a basis for new theatre concepts and processes, which were innovative yet commercially and internationally successful. As with many innovators, their once fresh ideas now form the basis of a somewhat formulaic approach emulated by dance organisations in West Bengal . Understanding this context was crucial at the 2004 Kolkata International Choreographic Workshop in which three non-Indian choreographers worked with teams of 17-20 Indian dancers trained either in classical traditions or the ‘Uday Shankar' style. This paper speculates on differing interpretations of innovation and practice through problematising the expectations, actuality and outcomes of this workshop. Encoded with the cultural aesthetics and movement patterns of their training and beliefs, the dancers also subtly imbued the process and works with the underlying spiritual significance of Indian dance. Analysis of the creative processes of the workshop yields intermittent understandings of their complex cultural, political and social milieu. The paper also examines issues of content creation, form and function in a culture where commercialisation, tradition and spirituality exist side by side within a work, an ethos, a community. In this environment nascent practice-led research approaches seem internalised and problematic, relevant for an individualistic erstwhile global culture, but perhaps not for a communal yet hierarchical context of strong leadership still steeped in a living tradition.

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ID Code: 5729
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Rabindranath Tagore, Uday Shankar, dance, West Bengal, Indian dance, spirituality, culture, content creation
ISBN: 1741071313
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Cheryl F. Stock
Deposited On: 07 Dec 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:26

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