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All-round Fitness through Dance(TM) – Jignaji’s approach

As Jignaji’s tireless quest for perfect dance attains progressive levels, her vision and approach towards kathak keeps expanding. Through constant exploration and readings, Jignaji has today formed a firm belief that if kathak is explored innovatively, its functionality can be extended to other dimensions too. One such critical area is holistic wellness which is of paramount importance in today’s fast, stressful, competitive and gruelling life style. The thought was just a notion in Jignaji’s mind initially, which fructified into a plausible concept with her resilient perusal through introspection and reading. Later attempts to put the concept into practice started giving results as Jignaji’s choreographic manoeuvres incorporated such processes that stimulated not just the physique but also the cognitive/mental faculties.

Herein, Jignaji’s readings of recent research on teaching processes have had a major impact on her training methodology. For example, Joan Walton’s research on learning-teaching domains emphasises that stage performances, regardless of genre or style, can be effectively utilised for enhancing mind-body coordination (reference). This can certainly elevate the learner’s cognitive reflexes, and hence could benefit her or him tremendously in other activities; from curricular activities to classroom learning to managing personal relationships more responsibly. The four basic learning processes of dance that Walton propounds are visual, kinaesthetic, cognitive and trial and experience (reference) By incorporating these processes in her training modules, Jignaji has been able to deliver a comprehensive package of holistic wellness. When translated into tangible outcomes, this amounts to better physical, mental, cognitive and psychological wellness in her students which help them stand out in external environments like academics, social groups, competitive fields, etc.

By far the most important result of Walton’s research is that the inherently interactive nature of teaching performing arts, where the teacher and the student are constantly in a verbal or non-verbal dialogue, blurs the conventional distinction between a master and a learner and creates a togetherness whereby the learning process becomes mutualised and equalised (reference) This is what Walton has labelled as intuitive learning, and as Jignaji quotes from his research, “Intuitive learning is an example of being in that constant state of multi-level receptivity and expressivity, creating an environment in which learning can’t help but happen”.

The practical application of this theory can be observed in Jignaji’s training sessions where she is one with her students and not a bit hesitant to receive suggestions or ideas from them. The confident body language, the assertive communication and the self-assured persona of Jignaji’s students are testimony to the all-round wellness that they gain through dance at Nupur Academy.

 
  
Content strategy and content development: Rajvee Mehta rajvee_d_mehta@yahoo.co.in
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