Program & Curriculum

With Bharata Natyam as its principal form, DIPAC also teaches Kathakali, Kuchipudi and Mohini Attam. Classes in vocal and instrumental Carnatic music, including the rare gottuvadyam, the veena, violin, flute, nadaswaram, mrindangam, chenda, eddaka, kanjeera and ghatam are offered. Since 1982, with the inception of Darpana’s folk and tribal wing, Janavak (the voice of the people), training is offered in traditional folk forms from 22 states in India including such rarely seen forms as those from the Bodo and Naga tribes. Folk music and folk instruments like the double flute, the pungi and many forms of percussion are also taught. Courses are offered in Gujarat’s folk theatre form, Bhavai, as well.

Darpana’s artists are highly skilled practitioners who not only teach skills, but also share their knowledge and personal experiences with students. While many of the courses are taught by full-time faculty at Darpana, some courses are offered in affiliation with other academic and professional institutions and taught by visiting faculty. Course work often includes field trips to heritage sites, nearby villages and to Darpana projects for social and economic development through the performing arts.


Courses Offered for Study Abroad

Introduction to Classical Dance
SAP: 36 hours, 3 credits
India has 7 important classical dance styles – Bharata Natyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Odissi, Kathak and Mohini Attam. The course is a historical look at the development of these styles, their current status, new directions in the styles, present performers of note and the differences between the styles. Students will view and discuss films of great performers and performances and see live demonstrations of each style.

Bharata Natyam for Beginners – I
SAP: 72 hours, 4 credits
ISP: Up to 7 years
Bharata Natyam, arguably India’s most popular and oldest classical dance style, comes from the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The course is part theory and part practical. It will take beginners through basic postures, hand gestures, expressions, rhythms, songs; they will be introduced to the history and current status of Bharata Natyam and they will go through basic practical dance training.

Bharata Natyam for Beginners – II
SAP: 72 hours, 4 credits
ISP: Up to 7 years
Open to students who have successfully completed Bharata Natyam for Beginners I, or are able to pass the final examination for that course. A continuation of the theory and practical aspects of Bharata Natyam.

Instrumental or Vocal Music – I & II
SAP: 36 hours, 2 credits each
ISP: Up to 4 years
The course offers beginners or more advanced students the study of Carnatic (South Indian Classical) vocal music, the veena (stringed South Indian instrument), gottuvadyam (stringed South Indian instrument similar to a veena but played with a stone instead of a plectrum), violin (South Indian style), harmonium, flute, nadaswaram (South Indian wind instrument like the North Indian shehnai), and  percussion instruments – dhol, dholak, mridangam, tabla, chenda and edakka. Students may pick an instrument to specialize in, or take the course as a survey of a number of instruments.
Instrumental or Vocal Music II requires successful completion of course I or one year of prior training.

Puppetry
SAP: 36 hours, 2 credits
ISP
India has a long tradition of string and shadow puppets. In fact its shadow puppet tradition dates back more than a thousand years and the leather puppets from the state of Andhra Pradesh are the world’s only traditional puppets which are life sized and cast coloured shadows, and are the forerunners of the better known Balinese shadow puppets. The course will teach students the art of making and operating Andhra shadow puppets and string puppets from Rajasthan. An exploration of rod and glove puppets and masks may also be done.

Kalaripayettu and Dance
SAP: 36 hours, 3 credits
Kalripayettu is one of India’s oldest martial arts forms from Kerala, in South India, considered by some to be the origin of other known martial arts forms like Karate and Kung Fu. The course is an intense physical and practical introduction to the form. Students with some background or interest in dance will also learn how to use this form in dance and choreography. They will be required to create short pieces using the style.

Yoga
SAP: 36 hours, 2 credits
ISP
Yoga forms the backbone of Indian movement and is slowly becoming the most favoured form of relieving stress of the body and mind. Students will learn hatha yoga, and the breathing and chanting techniques for relaxation, improved agility & flexibility and overall good health.

Folk Dance
SAP: 36 hours, 2 credits
India has a wealth of folk culture which is alive in its many villages and towns. The course will take the students on a virtual trip across India to introduce them to dance and music traditions from many different states. It will introduce them to the festival or occasion when the dance is done, its religious or social relevance, the meaning of the clothes worn and associated information on other aspects like food, fasting or rituals. Students will be given practical dance training.

Bhavai Folk Theatre
SAP: 36 hours, 3 credits
Many parts of India have a folk theatre tradition that has historically been rural India’s conscience keeper and entertainer. In a society which still lives in its villages, where nearly 50% of the population is illiterate, this genre took on a crucial role. Bhavai is the folk theatre form of Gujarat and uses song, satire, dance and humour to communicate to its audiences. The course will be both historical and practical, and will involve the students creating a short piece in English using the syntax of the form. Darpana has worked for over forty years in the revival and recontextualizing of Bhavai and now uses it for development communication on a variety of social issues.

Development Television
SAP: 36 hours, 3 credits
With Darpana’s studios, cameras, editing suites and production staff, students will be taught to create developmental television programmes that aim at changing attitudes, informing or empowering people through innovative and exciting genres of television. Students will be put through the various stages of creating a television program, from pre-production research to the actual filming and post-production process. They will view and analyze many of the programmes successfully produced using different genres. If programmes are being produced, students will apprentice with the production team.

Arts for Change
SAP: 36 hours, 3 credits
For over thirty years Darpana has used the arts – traditional, classical, innovative – to talk to different target groups about social issues ranging from gender and religious discrimination to HIV and AIDS, maternal mortality, environmental problems and justice and human rights. The course will survey a number of Darpana’s development projects. If a project is running, students will visit it. They will watch videos and hear from people involved with the projects. They will be required to create a short performance piece on a chosen issue using techniques and ideas developed over the course.