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1he arLs are a useful medlum for bulldlng culLural undersLandlng. My masLers and
docLoral research sLudles have shown LhaL dance, muslc, LheaLre and oLher arL forms
are sofL power" Lools (a concepL developed by !oseph nye of Parvard unlverslLy Lo
descrlbe Lhe ablllLy Lo aLLracL and co-opL raLher Lhan coerce as a means of persuaslon).
Sharlng of Lhe arLs faclllLaLes communlcaLlon amongsL people ln dlverse communlLles
and helps Lhe process of lmprovlng relaLlons beLween naLlons. Cdlssl dance, among
oLher classlcal dance forms has been presenLed on Lhe world sLage as a creaLlve
expresslon of Cdlsha. 8esldes belng appreclaLed as a dance form lL has also been
effecLlve as a means for lnlLlaLlng culLural awareness. 1hls paper dlscusses Lhe emlnence
of Cdlssl dance ln Lhe global arena and lLs role ln bulldlng cross-culLural relaLlonshlps.

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CulLural dlplomacy lncludes pollcles for promoLlon of arLlsLlc exchanges and lnLeracLlons
among naLlons wlLh a vlew Lo fosLer muLual undersLandlng. As a resulL, naLlons launch
evenLs and fesLlvals Lo share Lhelr culLural LradlLlons wlLh a vlew Lo communlcaLe
culLural bellefs and pracLlces. 1here are several records of how Lhe arLs have
conLrlbuLed ln culLural dlplomacy. lor example, ln 1934, durlng Lhe Cold War, Amerlcan
dancers !ose Llmon, MarLha Craham, and Alvln Alley, Lraveled Lo many counLrles as
culLural ambassadors, and Lhrough Lhelr arLlsLlc work demonsLraLed and reflecLed Lhe
ldeals of llberLy, freedom of speech, equallLy, dlverslLy, and Lolerance. Slmllarly, Lhe
CovernmenL of lndla has esLabllshed pollcles for sponsorlng pracLlLloners of Lhe arLs Lo
showcase arLlsLlc LradlLlons ln oLher counLrles ln order Lo culLlvaLe appreclaLlon for Lhe
lndlan culLure. 1he lndlan Councll for CulLural 8elaLlons (lCC8) esLabllshed ln 1930, seL
up CulLural CenLers, organlzed lesLlvals of lndla, and lnsLlLuLed Chalrs of lndlan SLudles
ln unlverslLles, for sharlng lndlan LradlLlons lnLernaLlonally. Cdlssl dance along wlLh
oLher culLural LradlLlons has been presenLed by Lhe lCC8 and Lhe CenLral SangeeL
Akademl, an auLonomous body of Lhe CovernmenL of lndla, ln Lhe varlous lndla fesLlvals
held ln London, 8ussla, !apan and ln oLher counLrles. Cdlssl dance has made a mark
Lhrough Lhls process. ln Lhe global arena, Cdlssl dance, besldes belng employed as a sofL
power Lool ln culLural dlplomacy, ls also a sub[ecL for learnlng as a parL of culLural sLudy
programs ln unlverslLles under, arL educaLlon, soclal dlverslLy sLudles ln humanlLles and
soclal sLudles.

8ohlnl uandavaLe presenLlng Cdlssl dance ln AnLloch College, ?ellow sprlngs, Chlo.

1he emergence of Cdlssl dance globally ls a resulL of Lhe efforLs of many dancers,
scholars, and paLrons achleved Lhrough presenLaLlons, workshops, lecLure
demonsLraLlons and sLudy programs. lndranl 8ehman, daughLer of a famous kaLhakall
and 8haraLnaLyam dancer, was one of Lhe flrsL few dancers who popularlzed Cdlssl
dance ln Lhe WesL ln Lhe early 1930s. Charles labrl, an arL hlsLorlan, arL and LheaLre
crlLlc, novellsL, and play wrlLer, vlslLed Cdlsha ln Lhe early 1960s and wroLe exLenslvely
on Cdlssl dance. 8lLha uevl, one of Lhe few lndlan dancers, Lralned ln all lndlan dance
sLyles, Loured Lurope, 8ussla and Lhe u.S. presenLlng Cdlssl alongslde oLher dance sLyles.
ln Lhe early 1970s Lhe renowned Cdlssl dancer San[ukLa anlgrahl, accompanled by Lhe
legendary Curu kelucharan MohapaLra, Lravelled Lo dlfferenL counLrles showcaslng Lhe
lyrlcal dance form. ur Menaka 1hakkar esLabllshed her school, nrLyakala, Academy of
lndlan Classlcal uance, ln Lhe early 1970s Lo offer Lralnlng ln Cdlssl and 8haraLnaLyam.
ur. 1hakkar Loured Canada, uk, and uSA, performlng Cdlssl, 8haraLnaLyam and
kuchlpudl dance forms. 1hese are a few names of dancers and scholars ln Lhe long llsL of
Curus, dancers and scholars whose hard work Look Cdlssl beyond Lhe borders of Cdlsha
and eLched a place on Lhe world sLage.

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lncreaslng awareness, undersLandlng, and appreclaLlon for Lhe dance form across Lhe
world has lnsplred many lnLernaLlonal sLudenLs of dance Lo vlslL Cdlsha for Lralnlng and
Lo lnvlLe Curus Lo Leach ln Lhelr homelands. Leadlng performers, choreographers and
Leachers of Cdlssl dance, namely 8aLlkanLa MohapaLro, Su[aLa MohapaLra, 8ahul
Acharya, and several oLhers who conLlnue Lo Lravel Lo oLher counLrles Lo Leach and
presenL. Cn Lhe oLher hand, some dancers, such as Sharon Lowen from Lhe u.S. and
lleana ClLarlsLl from lLaly, Masako Cno from !apan, have chosen Lo make lndla Lhelr
home Lo pursue Lhelr passlon for Cdlssl dance. 1he conLlnulng learnlng and sharlng of
Lhe Cdlssl dance has led Lo a formaLlon of large number of sLudenLs ln counLrles llke
1alwan, !apan, Afrlca, Malaysla, 8ussla, AusLralla, 8razll, WesL lndles and Lngland Lo
name a few. 1he lnLernaLlonal Cdlssl dance lesLlval, organlzed ln 8hubaneswar each
year ln Lhe monLh of uecember provldes a plaLform Lo perform for Cdlssl dancers from
all over Lhe world. As reporLed, Lhe fesLlval ln Lhe year 2012 ()234+.+ 70 solo
performances, 14 dueL performances and 20 group performances". Around 398 dancers
and 300 muslclans from across Lhe globe showcased Lhelr LalenL aL Lhe fesLlval. 1hls
evenL conLlnues Lo draw an growlng number of lnLernaLlonal dancers Lo 8hubaneshwar
each passlng year resulLlng ln lncreased undersLandlng and admlraLlon for Lhe dance
form, Lhe Cdlya culLure and oLher lndlan LradlLlons.

8ondlng over lunch: Leadlng Cdlssl dancer 8a[ashrl rahara[ wlLh her 1alwanese sLudenLs.

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8esldes CovernmenL-sponsored fesLlvals and culLural exchanges, educaLlonal
lnsLlLuLlons, arLs organlzaLlons, and lmmlgranL communlLy organlzaLlons ln clLles ouLslde
of lndla are schedullng annual Cdlssl workshops, lecLure demonsLraLlons and oLher
creaLlve plaLforms for arLlsLlc collaboraLlon. uance lesLlvals ln varlous clLles ln Lhe world
are propelllng culLural awareness and appreclaLlon for dlverse world LradlLlons lncludlng
Cdlssl dance. lor example, Lhe San lranclsco LLhnlc uance lesLlval organlzes an annual
performance serles of dance sLyles from all over Lhe world. Slnce 1978, Lhelr
performances have aLLracLed hundreds of Lhousands of audlence members. 1he Aslan
lesLlval organlzed ln Columbus, Chlo every year draws large audlences Lo learn abouL
dlverse culLures Lhrough lLs culLural pracLlces. 1hey lnclude lndlan dance presenLaLlons
of local and vlslLlng arLlsLs.

arLlclpaLory Learnlng: lrench Cdlssl dancer Chloe 8omero wlLh her young sLudenLs

LducaLlonal lnsLlLuLlons are also playlng a role ln promoLlng Cdlssl dance: dance schools
run by lndlvldual dancers are creaLlng ongolng parLnershlps by lnvlLlng dance Curus
from lndla Lo Leach, unlverslLles have lnsLlLuLed deparLmenLs for World ArLs and CulLure
Lo help sLudenLs experlence and undersLand unfamlllar culLures Lhrough Lhe arLs.
Courses comblne Lheory and pracLlce of dlverse culLural arLlsLlc expresslons, offerlng
opporLunlLles for performance, movemenL sLudles, dance Lheory and arLs pedagogy. 1he
currlculum ln deparLmenLs of dance emphaslzes worklng ln and wlLh communlLles,
scholars and dancers from across Lhe globe. A few examples of sLudy programs ln Lhe
u.S. are:
ur. 8aLna 8oy, a full-Llme faculLy aL 1he Lvergreen SLaLe College ln
Clympla, WashlngLon, uSA, was lnsLrumenLal ln lnsLlLuLlng an
undergraduaLe full-Llme course ln uance LLhnology where she has uses
Cdlssl dance as her medlum.
1he World ArLs and CulLure/uance (WACu), ln unlverslLy of Callfornla,
provldes opporLunlLles Lo sLudenLs Lo sLudy and Lraln wlLh masLers of
many conLemporary movemenL pracLlces whlch currenLly lnclude Cdlssl
dance, among oLher sLyles namely, WesL Afrlcan dance, 8haraLa naLyam,
1ango, Cambodlan dance, hlp hop, posL-modern dance, balleL.
1he World uance program ln uenlson unlverslLy ln Cranvllle, Chlo
lncludes semesLer-long courses ln dances offered by dancers and scholars
from dlfferenL parLs of Lhe world. 1he maln ob[ecLlve ls Lo help sLudenLs
develop curloslLy and appreclaLlon for dlverse culLures and culLural
ur. Ananya ChaLLer[ea, an exponenL of Cdlssl, and ulrecLor of Lhe uance
rogram and rofessor ln Lhe ueparLmenL of 1heaLer ArLs and uance ln
Lhe unlverslLy of MlnnesoLa, Mlnneapolls, as an arLlsL ln resldence ln Lhe
unlverslLy of llllnols, ueparLmenL of uance offered a course ln Cdlssl

Slmllar lnlLlaLlves across Lhe globe demonsLraLe how Cdlssl ls an effecLlve medlum ln
fosLerlng culLural undersLandlng. 1o corroboraLe Lhls polnL l would llke Lo share Lhe
flndlngs of a research sLudy l conducLed whlle offerlng courses ln Cdlssl ln Lhe
deparLmenL of uance ln a unlverslLy ln Chlo. 1he focus of Lhe sLudy was Lo undersLand
Lhe lmpacL of learnlng Cdlssl as a parL of Lhelr currlculum requlremenL. 1wo courses on
Cdlssl dance were offered for undergraduaLe sLudenLs wlLh Lhe ob[ecLlve of provldlng
an opporLunlLy Lo explore, experlence and undersLand Lhe lndlan culLure Lhrough lLs
dance form. Whlle one of Lhe courses focused on Lhe Lechnlque of Lhe Cdlssl dance
form, Lhe oLher (Ponors) course was deslgned Lo help sLudenLs undersLand Lhe soclal,
culLural and pollLlcal seLLlng ln whlch Lhe dance evolved. 1here were 14 sLudenLs ln Lhe
Lechnlque class, and elghL sLudenLs ln Lhe Ponors class, a ma[orlLy of Lhe sLudenLs were
non-dance ma[ors. All 14 sLudenLs from Lhe Lechnlque class and flve sLudenLs from Lhe
Ponors course parLlclpaLed ln Lhe assessmenL. Lach sLudenL was glven a scrapbook Lo
record hls or her feellngs aL dlfferenL polnLs durlng Lhe flve monLh long semesLer. 1he
synLhesls of Lhe response recelved from Lhe sLudenLs revealed common beneflLs as a
resulL of Lhe experlence of Lhe unfamlllar arL form. SLudenLs reporLed LhaL Lhe
experlence of learnlng Cdlssl dance:

- Cpened my mlnd Lo an unfamlllar experlence/arL form
- repared me Lo be less heslLanL/fearful of new/ unfamlllar experlences ln fuLure.
- Cave me greaLer undersLandlng of Lhe lndlan culLure
- Cave me greaLer undersLandlng of my own body
- 1aughL me Lhe value of worklng wlLh oLhers

Whlle descrlblng Lhe experlence of learnlng an unfamlllar dance form llke Cdlssl,
one of Lhe sLudenLs sald, 1hls experlence wlll encourage me Lo noL be afrald of new or
unfamlllar ln my fuLure. lnsLead of dlsregardlng Lhlngs LhaL are dlfferenL from my usual
llfe l wlll be curlous abouL Lhem and lnLeresLed Lo learn abouL Lhem"(2001, LllzabeLh
!ohnson). 8esponses recelved from Lhe sLudenLs reflecLed Lhe overall value sLudenLs
derlved from Lhls unfamlllar experlence and how Lhey developed Lhe ablllLy Lo
undersLand and accepL Lhe unfamlllar. MosL sLudenLs reporLed LhaL Lhey would be less
heslLanL ln seeklng unfamlllar experlences from oLher culLures ln Lhe fuLure. 1he lmpacL
of exposure Lo an unfamlllar dance form on Lhe sLudenLs was Lwo fold: lnLernal
LransformaLlve lmpacL LhaL prepared Lhem Lo beLLer undersLand and en[oy an unfamlllar
experlence and secondly, lL enhanced Lhelr soclal skllls ln deallng wlLh dlverslLy.

ln concluslon, lL ls clear LhaL Lhe presence of Cdlssl dance ln Lhe global sphere ls on Lhe
lncrease. 1hls growlng appeal for Lhe dance form ls faclllLaLlng cross-culLural
undersLandlng and long-Lerm lnLerculLural bonds. Cdlssl dance has become a passlon
for many lnLernaLlonal dancers, whlch ls leadlng Lhem Lo learn, undersLand, and
appreclaLe lndlan culLural values.

1he nexL opporLunlLy for Cdlssl dancers ad scholars would be Lo Lake advanLage of Lhls
emlnenL sLaLus of Cdlssl dance and help enhance lnsLlLuLlonal recognlLlon Lo Lhe arL
form by esLabllshlng sLrucLured academlc programs and research ln Cdlssl dance ln
unlverslLles around Lhe world.


Cornwell, CranL P. & SLoddard Walsh, Lve. (2001) Clobal MulLlculLurallsm, 8owman and
LlLLlefleld ubllshers, lnc., Maryland.

Cowen, 1yler (2002). CreaLlve uesLrucLlon- Pow CloballzaLlon ls Changlng Lhe World's
CulLures, rlnceLon unlverslLy ress, new !ersey

P'uoubler, MargareL n. (1889). uance - A CreaLlve ArL Lxperlence, 1he unlverslLy of
Wlsconsln ress, Wlsconsln.

Wllllams, !ennlfer. (1996). Across Lhe SLreeL Around Lhe World- A handbook for CulLural
Lxchange, 8rlLlsh Amerlcan ArLs AssoclaLlon LLd., London, u.k.




8ohlnl uoshl-uandavaLe holds a docLoral degree ln CulLural ollcy and
ArLs AdmlnlsLraLlon from Lhe Chlo SLaLe unlverslLy and presenLly resldes ln San
lranclsco, CA. She earned her graduaLe degree ln Cdlssl dance from kala vlkas kendra,
College of lndlan uance and Muslc, CuLLack, lndla. Per gurus are Curu kelucharan
MohapaLra, Curu 8aghunaLh uuLLa, Curu 8amanl 8an[an !ena, and ur Menaka 1hakkar.
As an arLlsL ln Lhe ArLs ln LducaLlon rogram of Lhe Chlo ArLs Councll, she has conducLed
workshops and lecLure demonsLraLlons ln Cdlssl dance for sLudenLs ln schools and
colleges ln Chlo slnce 1994. She offers courses ln Cdlssl dance ln educaLlonal lnsLlLuLlons
and communlLy organlzaLlons. 8ohlnl's research papers/arLlcles are posLed can be read
aL hLLp://