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A Student on Shantala

Tue, Apr 9, 2013

Lauren Bedal is a junior at The Ohio State University, studying dance and design. She currently works at the Wexner Center in the marketing and communications department.

As a dance major at Ohio State, I have been able to participate in master classes with visiting artists including Faye Driscoll, Peter Carpenter, Cedric Andrieux, Hana Van Der Kolk, and Palissimo. These classes provide dance majors unique and informative experiences to diversify our training and allow us to connect with prominent artists currently working in the field of dance.

This week I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a master class with Shantala Shivalingappa, a dancer trained in Southern Indian traditional dance forms who is performing tonight at the Southern Theatre. Being my first experience embodying this particular style of dance, I found it very challenging. She deconstructed a few basic steps, showing us the progression of footwork, while also giving directives for our arms, torso, and focus. Although it did seem similar to types of African dance, in the sense of polyrhythms within the body, this way of moving felt completely different. Trying to integrate extremely specific hand positions along with focus was challenging. I was amazed at the amount of concentration it took to execute the progressions with clarity and ease.

She stressed that accomplishing this specificity within the body (especially with focus) was important in not only communicating and connecting with the audience, but also connecting with your inner expression. She values the importance of dance and movement as a means to connect the mind, body, and spirit, and she reminded us how movement serves as a reminder that we are part of something greater. These holistic sensibilities could be seen when she demonstrated; her ability to embody a feeling or narrative was captivating. After participating in the master class, I am excited to have the chance to see her in perform tonight. Her performance is definitely something I would not want to miss. 

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