Re-cognising Dance (RD) was launched in August 2020 as a platform for dancers, students and enthusiasts to engage critically with the social and political histories of what comes under the umbrella term of “Indian classical dance” today. Run by Aranyani Bhargav and Mahalakshmi Prabhakar, the Scholar series is RD’s most important pillar. Since it is often difficult for dancers who do not go into academia to gain access to a critical social and political history of classical dance, the Scholar series invites academics and experts to distil their work for an interested audience.
The talks have been increasingly well attended, and the presence of both young and established dancers leads the organisers to believe that the series fills a gap that has long existed between academia and practice. Conducted over Zoom, the talks are free for anyone who signs up, and the recordings are later uploaded to YouTube for anyone interested to access them later. The speakers are encouraged to drop academic jargon for a more accessible language, and the sessions are designed to be interactive, with questions greatly encouraged.