A day was spent at the Eartha Academy unravelling the experience of true dancing whilst enjoying the rich Indian heritage in “Kathak” dance. Roopa Ravindran who is the founder of Eartha, gives an excellent opportunity to dance lovers to have Kathak as a good source of exercise and creativity, strengthening the sense of positivity, harmony and confidence.
The group of 7th graders who joined the Kathak session at the academy were all excited as to what was in store for them. Ms.Roopa Ravindran, started off our session with breathing and concentration exercises for a warmup. She explained Kathak, which comes from Sanskrit, where Katha means story and the person narrating the story is called a “Kathakar”.
Ms.Roopa taught us the basics of Kathak like:
Now was the most interesting part of the session, where we had a chance to choreograph a dance by the fusion of different forms of dance, including Kathak. Ms.Roopa taught us a short Kathak dance and from there on, the girls and boys were divided into separate groups, where the girls and boys choreographed a piece of dance each. The girls choreographed a dance on the HollyWood track “River”, whereas the boys showcased their dance from the Bollywood track “Bom Diggy Diggy” adding Kathak steps into it turning it into a fusion dance.
The thrill of learning a new form of dance, had all of us on our feet. The end result was amazing where each one of us developed our knowledge about a new dance form which reveals the vast and rich world of Indian Dance. The Eartha Academy was truly a wonderful experience which gave us a fabulous journey of sanctity.
Grade 7 Learned about Gond Art
Today was CL Day 6; celebrating Indian heritage and culture. My group went to visit Sevita NGO, an organization which empowers artisans and helps preserve traditional art forms. There, we learnt a type of tribal art, known as Gond Art.
Gond Art originated from Madhya Pradesh, and spread through Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh and other places across India. Gond Art usually depicts flora or fauna. One key feature about Gond art is the detail in their work. After examining a work of Gond Art, you would notice that there are small , carefully made, dashes on the painting . This separates it from other styles of art, and is a predominant feature in Gond Art.
When we arrived at Sevita NGO, we were given a brief backstory about the NGO, and about the Gond tribe and features of their art. After that, we were given canvases that already had drawings of animals or plants on them, so all we had to do was color the drawing, and add in the dashes. Although it may sound easy, it required a lot of effort and concentration.
After being designated our drawings, we got to work. I was given a drawing of a deer, with long, complex antlers. We were told to divide our drawing into sections, and fill each section in with alternating colors. For my deer, I painted it in with a pastel blue, and a vibrant orange. I continued painting the antlers with an army green, and a pink, adding yellow details. This part wasn't too difficult as it was just painting the base of the animal.
Now came the challenging part; drawing dashes on the animal. Although this may sound quite simple, it was a tedious task, as we had to keep re-dipping the toothpick into the paint in order to get dashes. I often put too much of paint on my toothpick, resulting in blobs of uneven paint all over the painting. This task took quite a long time as well, as detail was important.
One of the most significant things I learnt today was understanding why art preservation is so important. Many cultural art forms, which have been passed down for generations, are slowly dying, as the artists aren't able to make a livelihood of selling their art. They have limited access to markets, and consumers for their products. Without consumers, these artists cannot sell their products, and are unable to earn anything for themselves and their families, resulting in them taking on new jobs, and forgetting about their art. Preserving the arts helps us embrace culture, and gives artisans a chance to continue following their passions, and making a living for themselves while doing so.
Overall, today was an eye opening experience, and I was able to understand the importance of art preservation, as well as learn new styles of art, and different techniques.
Grade 7 Learned about Bhil Art
Today was CL day 6, we went to a place called Sevita NGO. In there, our group learnt about Bhil tribal art. First, we learnt the art style of the Bhil. They drew mostly deers and peacocks, and we coloured it in with dots. The style of Gond tribal art was they drew gods such as Ganesha, and they drew animals as well, but they coloured it in with lines. We each got a sketch of animals, and we had to complete the painting. We got help by the teachers there, so we all finished on time.
I got a sketch of two peacocks, one big and one small. We did not use palettes, we just put water in the lid and mixed it with the paint. Because of that, the paint bottles were all upside down, so there would be paint on the lid. I drew the big peacock green, and the small one yellow. We only used two colours in each peacocks. After drying the paint, I outlined the peacock again, but this time, with dots. After that, I kept on doing dots with different colours. We did not paint the eye until the end. After painting, one of the teachers came and drew a white and black dot on the peacocks' head. I do not know why she did it, but I think it is a symbol of the tribe.
The drawing was fun, and the most enjoyable part was when we were doing the outline, because it looked like I was doing great. The least enjoyable part was when doing the dots, because I ruined the drawing by making the dots' size all different. Also, I smudged some of the paint in the wrong part, and I had to clean it with tissues. Another least enjoyable part of the day was when I finished the art work. I did not know what to do, and it was very confusing.
The project, which is drawing a Bhil tribal art, was fun. There was nothing to change or improve. I enjoyed doing the Bhil tribal art today.
The most important thing I learnt today is the difference between Bhil tribal art and the Gond tribal art. The difference is the style of their drawing. The Bhil tribal art was filled it in with dots, and the Gond tribal art was filled it in with lines. By doing the art work myself, I figured out that the Bhil tribal art is easier than the Gond tribal art. I wish that I had more time on doing the art work, or doing two art works. The part of the day which I did my best was when doing the art works. It was fascinating and fun.
Grade 6 visited Kavade
"I learned how they used to play without always being stuck on the iPad playing games.
I loved KAVADE because the place is nice and calm, I learnt lots of new games and worked with someone who I don’t usually work with."
"I learnt that video games are not the only games that are enjoyable. I think that the trip was really fun and we learnt a lot about ancient Indian games. I think that we could have gone there for a longer time and maybe to a bigger workshop if it was available. Next time maybe we could go in the morning and return in the evening so that we have more time to spend."
"I learned what ancient Indian people were playing. Also, I thought they were enjoying their lives. I enjoyed the field trip to Kavade. I also liked gardening, but it was very hot, so it was a bit hard."
"I learned how to play Indian games and that it is important to make people's souls stay alive. It was fun learning about new games and traditions."
"I learned that they had really fun games in the olden days. It was really fun and I learned new things. Cl challenges me physically and sometimes emotionally."
"I learnt about the past and how they didn’t have electronics, also I learned how to play most of the games. The project was a success because of the experience and the learning. I really enjoyed the games but it would be better if we had more time."
On this day, our group traveled to Tarsh Dance Academy. There we learnt dance moves to three Hindi songs. It took us about 4-6 hours to learn the moves, but we still have to refine the moves before we present the dance at the assembly next week. We will practice to perfect it.
While doing that we also did have a theory period as we learnt how Bollywood dance originated and how it became popular. We also learnt a bit about the teachers. Fredrick was our choreographer today. He used to perform in Cirque du Soleil. That's so cool!
Yesterday, I went to the studio and I met artists from the Shimoga. We saw their paintings of Chittara art and then, they showed us how they draw straight lines without a ruler. I thought to myself, it probably takes a long time.
They also showed us that there's a meaning behind each symbol in each painting. We wrote those symbols down in our journals and wrote their meanings in Kannada. It was interesting.
They use a very short string or piece of grass to draw with. It was very difficult to draw, but they were used to it. Jeehye also tried to use grass, but it wasn't easy.
They made paint from natural materials. They used rice to make paint for example. They dried rice and made powder. If we add some water, we can use it as a paint. We used black paint also made with rice.
"Chittara art was fun and I enjoyed painting on canvas, even though some of they patterns were complicated. I also enjoyed learning the history behind the art." - Maya, grade 6
We left from school at 9:00am and the teachers Miss Archana and Miss Veena accompanied us. We travelled to Eartha Art and Heritage Academy. We went inside and met the teacher Miss Roopa. We started the day with a 'pooja' (prayer to Lord Nataraja, the God of dance). We do it to seek His blessings and give our respect and also to give us the physical and mental strength to perform the dance.
After we finished the prayer, we introduced ourselves and told about the different dance forms we know. Then we started practicing Kathak. First we did the 'namaskar' in the dance form to worship god before the dance routine or practice. We did some basic steps and learned how to do spins.
I found that a little difficult, but for some students it was kind of easy.
The teacher then told us to prepare a solo dance. I was so nervous but some of them just did some random steps. Some students enacted a story and it looked cool. After we finished with the solos, we split into two groups practicing Kathak and Bollywood. We then put it together in a dance routine which consisted of steps and movements depicting an elephant.
After that we took a break for a little while and then the teacher talked to us about the history of Kathak, the British influences, and the revival of the dance form, post independence. Before it was time to leave she showed us some steps with the feet and some hand movements. After thanking
Ms. Roopa for teaching us so patiently, we went back to school.
Overall Kathak, an Indian classical dance form, was actually not bad or boring. It was fun and interesting as we learned the basics. I think everyone enjoyed the day. I really feel our CIS contextual learning is that unique tool which gives us students various opportunities to learn varied new things in our student life. Thank you CIS!
The first activity we did was a partnered activity in the band room. In said activity, we had to find and practice a yoga or a Bollywood dance move. We would then teach that move to our partner and then show it to the group. To do this well, we had to be willing to try whatever our partner had chosen and be willing to make a complete fool of our selves - in CIS terms, we had to be confident and be risk takers.
After that we went on a bus trip to Haute Fitness gym most known for being a floor below Druid Garden, perhaps one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. At the Haute Fitness gym, we did a Bollywood fitness routine which was absolutely exhausting. After that we had an even more tiring yoga session which was relaxing, as well as being good exercise… somehow.
The fitness sessions were great, the staff were fun and had no problems making sure we got the most out of our one and a half hour classes. But even better than the exercise was the smoothies! I ordered an immune builder which contained pineapple, banana, tandem coconut water and ginger. Needless to say it was delicious.
As with any exercise, you get out as much as you put in, and the staff at the Haute Fitness gym were brilliant at persuading you to put in as much as you could. All in all it was an incredible experience that I and quite probably the rest of the class would gladly repeat.