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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

First Analysis of a Dance Performance

I recently volunteered as a flute player with my friends, for a “Kathak” dance performance on Friday night cultural show at Indian Cultural Center, South Jordan Parkway.  I volunteered there for only two cultural performances on 16th and 23th of June, 2017.  In which, Kathak was the main feature in terms of cultural dance performances.  My part in that performance was only for the introductory sound of flute, which gave me full opportunity to observe and analyze every single step of the performer, right from her head to her feet movement.  Although, I have heard a lot about this form of dance but never experienced it in real time.  It was different than I expected to be honest.  I have never seen a solo dance like what I saw.  That cultural center does many events and cultural dances on Fridays nights, to preserve and inherit their tradition to their younger generations.

The opening part of the dance was when the performer enlightened the Jyoti (Prayer candle) and touched the feet of her dance teacher as a sign of respect.  It first started with classical song mainly played on tabla (Indian drum), and then the performance moved onto become a remix of old Bollywood songs.  The performer hit a certain pose on a certain beat and it was so high in energy, where the whole audiences were into it.  Her movements were all around the stage.  She was high up in her posture doing movements high off the ground, and at the same time she would go to the floor and do a lot of dance on her knees.  She was not using any prop, but her movements were so sharp and precise along with glimmer of her bright costume.  Every part of her body was dancing, as if like it was vibrating on beats of the ‘Tabla’.  She was doing rotations on her heels like a child turning a pencil.  The performer’s personal space was expanded to the space available on the stage where she knew where the center is located.  Her dance level was mostly mid-level and her shape was mostly straight except, when she danced on her knees with curved back position.  The directions in her dance was mostly sideways and circular.  Her focal point was mainly on the audiences specially when she was rotating and the tempo was quite fast.  Her eyes were the central focus for the audiences, as she was literally rotating and dancing with her eyes.

The whole time the high in energy dance blew me away.  It left me with the impression that the dance teacher wanted the audience to be highly entertained in the rich Indian culture.  It was easier to get, understand and interpret this dance.  I loved that no music was ever involved.  It was to the ‘Tabla’ drum.  The movement was on to the beat and it involved a lot of tricks and Indian movement.  It was a high entertaining and high energy dance.  Normally I don’t like classical dance but I found this dance to be very interesting.  The performer was dressed in a gorgeous sparkling red dress named ‘Saree’.  She would hit poses and she would hit it sharp and precise.  I felt like the dance was about the ancient Indian tale of ‘Ramayana’, where the performer tells the story through her dance.  There was a combined mode of emotions, as the performer’s moves were angry at certain sections where there were wars, and then a glimmer of happiness when there was a portion of love between the characters of the tale.  The look on the face of the performer looked intense most of the time.   The lighting seemed light at some points then got dark at the end.

Overall, I was somewhat pleased on the performance I attended, and this dance really spoke to me the most.  I really loved that the performer was a professional dancer as well. I could tell because I don’t see dancers like that every day.  The program lasted about 2 hours and all the dances had very wide variety of Indian culture.  Every concert or dance performance I’ve ever attended has just been one or two styles, Ballet or Contemporary.  It was worth seeing it range from classical to a Bollywood dances. All in all, I thought it was a solid performance and even though I hate cultural dancing, the dancer brought high energy in every single piece, so it captured my attention.


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