Thursday, 4 September 2014

More on Ballet in India

National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai
Photo Wikipedia

In "Ballet and Bollywood - why they don't meet more often" 15 July 2014 I noted that ballet had not take off in India in the way that it had in other Asian countries and wondered why that was the case. However, I noted signs that that might be changing:
"I googled 'ballet' and 'India' and discovered the National Ballet & Academy Trust of India in Delhi, a School of Classical Ballet and Western Dance in Mumbai and the Imperial Fernando Ballet Company in both cities which show that there is some interest in ballet in India. I also looked up theatres and found the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai which is a complex of auditoriums, rehearsal studios and outdoor performing spaces including the Godrej Dance Theatre. The Centre hosts The Symphony Orchestra of India, the country's first and so far only professional symphony orchestra whose repertoire includes Stravinsky's Firebird. The performance of that suite was applauded warmly so there seems to be an audience for ballet and the National Centre certainly provides an infrastructure."
Shortly after I published that post BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme on the National Centre for Performing Arts and the Symphony Orchestra of India which reported some of the reasons why Western classical music was not more popular in India some of which are mentioned in the clip.

However, progress is being made.  At least one full length ballet has been danced in India for the New Jersey Ballet Company performed The Nutcracker at the National Centre for the Performing Arts. This months. Another straw in the wind is that this month's Job of the Month in the Royal Academy of Dance's newsletter is for teachers in Mumbai. The school that advertises this post is for Bella Academy for Ballet.  According to the courses page on the website there are a variety of classes including an adult programme.  That is available on Wednesday mornings
"to anyone and is designed for the adult student who has no formal ballet training or who has studied ballet in the past and wishes to resume training."
The dress code is the same as for adult ballet classes anywhere but unlike most adult classes here ballet shoes are compulsory for ballet classes. Students don't seem to have the option of dancing in bare feet. If ever I find myself in Mumbai I will try to get to that class.

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