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Folk Dances as a profession -- How to go about Treading

India s cultural arena is very rich. Not only does it have 8 classical dances, but nearly 90 different types of folk and tribal dances. Each state has a unique folk style. These arts do not have any written history of their origin, but have been passed down through word of mouth and by learning through mass performances. It could be said that the folk dance was for the common people, while the classical dance were for the elite, namely, the temple dancers. Every occasion, was and still is a reason for a session of dancing. Typically, these dances are often social and very rarely solo. The main purpose was to celebrate an occasion in unison. Some dance use elaborate makeup and costumes, while some use props. Recent trends with folk art With advent of modern trends creeping into the society, these art forms are staring at the end of the road. As an attempt to revive these dances, these dances are being offered as academic courses alongside other art subjects and are part of the curriculum in few schools. Students are encouraged to dance to the peppy tunes in cultural events, alongside western dances. Even today, the only place where these arts are thriving is the villages. Every village typical has a mela or a funfair where local artistes get opportunity to display their talents. This trend is obviously not prevalent in cities. Folk dance as a profession Folk dances are offered as BA and MA courses in Art universities. These courses not only aim at the dance part of the folk, but also the music, which again is very unique to this. To be a folk dancer, one needs to have the indigenous knowledge of the people and their culture. Every dance has a reason and understanding that is of at most importance in learning and teaching. Many dancers learn a mainstream dance before entering into this art. This gives them a thorough knowledge and a sort of authority to take the art forward. Becoming a folk dancer is one side of the story, while gaining popularity and sustaining in the field is another. Innovating and fusing with new arts is one way to blend this folk art into the new generation. If you want to preserve the purity of the art, then making it interesting should be your major focus. One of the avenues to explore is to promote the dance in foreign countries in international cultural fests. You can join as an expert dancer in a troupe or start your own school. Another option is to join as a teacher in school or lecturer in college. Going into academia, you can also pursue research to unearth more information on this dying form of art. If you wish to pursue this as a career, ask yourself three questions. One, do you like the country lifestyle and its people? Second, does dancing the folk dance make you happy? Third, do you wish to live a life dancing this art? If yes, welcome aboard!

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