Attakkalari Public Charitable Trust of Contemporary Performing Arts

Arts Research and Documentation

Grant Period: Two years

Attakkalari is a public charitable trust formed by artistes from different disciplines to help create contexts for contemporary physical expressions in India. The Centre’s movements are oriented towards contemporary dance, kalaripayattu (martial art of Kerala), yoga, ballet and other international dances.

This grant enabled Attakkalari to conduct extensive research into the educational practices of the traditional performing arts of Kerala that supported the development of a new teaching methodology for the school and also served as a handy tool for teachers of the traditional performing arts. Research focussed on documenting the modes of transmission, the aesthetic vision and value systems embedded in those arts, along with practices of body preparation, conditioning and care.

In developing a new teaching methodology, attention was given to creative ways of drawing on traditional educational practices for training performing artists today, and also to questions relating to the institutionalisation of arts education, and the relationship between methods of instruction and the changing context of performance and other life practices in the contemporary world.

The project resulted in a collection of audio and video recordings of interviews, selected training sessions and performances, and a database of information on educational practices in the performing arts of Kerala. One document was produced, which consolidated information on the salient features of institutional practices in the traditional performing arts. Attakkalari has published the document, and has made the information available to researchers, educationists and performing artists.