Program Details
Max # Students: 
40 minutes
Space Requirements: 
Auditorium, Gym, MPR
Tech Requirements: 
minimum stage of 12' by 16', a wireless headset mic if possible or a mic with stand, music/sound system
Available Dates: 
All year round, subject to artist availability.
First performance $450, each additional performance on the same day is $275, maximum 5 performances in a day.
Special Considerations: 
Performance can be coupled with various workshop options for an additional fee. Performance can included a talk-back (max 20 mins) for no additional charge.
Contact Name: 
Ms. Shivani Thakkar Artistic Director, MKM Bollystars
310 407 9191

Students will be guided through an interactive journey learning the mythology of India through the ancient classical dance form Bharata Natyam. The most popular dance style of India, Bharata Natyam dates to 2000 years old, and has a significant component of drama and story-telling. K-5 students will: learn how to use their hands to create story-telling gestures – both symbolic and literal; learn about the 9 basic emotions and related facial expressions in Indian dance/theatre; witness how the use of dance engages the whole body to play various characters in the re-telling of ancient tales from animals to humans to royalty to gods; learn how movement can set character, space, and imaginary environment; learn about various characters in Indian history and mythology and their unique characteristics. An interactive show, students will remain engaged throughout the presentation, being challenged, delighted, and leaving inspired and imaginative.

Connections to Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools

Dance Kindergarten

1.0 Artistic Perception

1.4 Development of Dance Vocabulary – Perform simple movements in response to oral instructions

How: Students perform simple movements in response to oral instructions, call and response, that the performer guides them through in the interactive components of the show. They also, volunteer ideas of movement expression when asked “how would you show (a daily action) and what hand gestures do you use to show it?”

2.0 Creative Expression

2.1 Creation/Invention of Dance Movements – Create movements that reflect a variety of personal experiences (e.g., recall feeling happy, sad, angry, excited).

How: Students are asked to share how they would portray or convey various emotions and are asked to identify emotions that can be used in a dance. They are then introduced to the concept of 9 basic emotions and related movements in Indian dance as a tool to reflect on personal experiences.

5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications

5.1 Connections and Applications Across Disciplines – Give examples of the relationship between everyday movement in school and dance movement.

How: Students are asked to identify hand gestures they use while doing every-day tasks. They are also asked to observe, within the performance, how dance movement changes when representing different activities the characters on stage are engaged in.

Dance Grade 1

1.0 Artistic Perception

`             1.2 Comprehension and Analysis of Dance Elements – Perform short movement problems, emphasizing the element of space (e.g., shapes/lines, big/small, high/low).

How: Students observe how the alterations and manipulations of the elements of space can create characters, convey story, and express both literal and abstract emotional qualities within dance choreography and execution.

2.0 Creative Expression

2.6 Communication of Meaning in Dance – Express Basic emotional qualities (e.g. angry, sad, excited, happy) through movement.

How: The show covers the 9 basic emotions and their variations and how those are expressed in classical Indian dance through both literal movement and abstract expression.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing

4.1 Description, Analysis, and Criticism of Dance – Use basic dance vocabulary to identify and describe a dance observed or performed (e.g., shapes, levels, directions, tempo/fast-slow).

How: Students are asked to observe how the Indian dance vocabulary of gestures is applied in dance. Furthermore, students are asked to observe and share with how dance vocabulary such as shapes, tempo, levels etc creates and elicits an emotional reaction while watching a dance – are these elements used to create character or in an abstract fashion to create visual dynamics that inspire a feeling in the viewer?

4.3 Meaning and Impact of Dance – Describe how they communicate an idea or a mood in a dance (e.g., with exaggerated everyday gesture or emotional energies).

How: In the interactive segments of the show, students are asked to show how they would use a gesture to communicate ideas, actions, and emotions. They are then asked to observe how exaggerated everyday gestures, emotional energies, and body movement are used to convey ideas and moods within dances.

5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications

5.1 Connections and Applications Across Disciplines – Demonstrate curricular concepts through dance (e.g. growth cycle, animal movement).

How: One section of the show focuses on animals and how they are portrayed in Indian dance with an emphasis on movement imitation.

5.2 Connections and Applications Across Disciplines - Give examples of how dance relates to other subjects (e.g., mathematics – shape, counting; language arts – beginning, middle, and end).

How: Students witness stories being told through dance, and specifically the Krishna piece has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Students also learn that in abstract pieces, while there is no literal story, the dance in itself still has a start (beginning), progression (middle) and end.

Dance Grade 2

 1.0 Artistic Perception

1.2 Development of Motor Skills and Technical Expertise – Show a variety of combination axial movements (e.g., swing and balanced shapes, turn and stretch, bend and twist).

How: The dances of Allaripu and Thillana exemplify the use of combination axial movements with dexterity and control.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing

4.1 Description, Analysis, and Criticism of Dance – Use basic dance vocabulary to name and describe a dance observed or performed (e.g., levels, rhythm patterns, type of energy).

How: Students learn both Indian dance vocabulary and western dance vocabulary to analyze and internalize the dances they see on stage. Elements of this dance vocabulary are taught through call and response, mirroring, and imitation, and others are referenced for Students to identify while watching the performer on stage.

4.2 Description, Analysis, and Criticism of Dance – Describe how the movement in dances of peers communicates ideas or moods to the viewer (e.g., ocean environment or a sad or joyous dance).

How: The story-telling aspect of Indian dance focuses on the use of whole body movements as well as detailed hand and facial movements to create imaginary spatial environments (such as an ocean environment) and express emotional states.

4.3 Meaning and Impact of Dance – Describe the similarities and differences in performing various dances (e.g., direction changes, steps, type of energy and tempo).

How: Students see a range of dances from slower tempo expressional stories to fast-paced abstract pure dance pieces and are asked to observe how both are effective as emotional communicators but are different in stylistics and performance approach. They also notice how the similar hand gestures and body movements are employed differently among the various dances.

5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications

5.1 Connections and Applications Across Disciplines – Use literature to inspire dance ideas (e.g., poem, cartoon, nursery rhyme).

How: Pieces in our show use Indian mythology and story to guide the dance. The students observe how literature can inspire dance ideas and in turn how dance can convey literary stories. Additionally it is conveyed to the students that the songs in expressional dances are actually poetry and the movements coincide with and elaborate upon the poetic lines within the music lyrics.

Dance Grade 3

2.0 Creative Expression

2.5 Communication of Meaning in Dance – Perform dances to communicate personal meaning, using focus and expression.

How: The performer delineates movement in Indian dance with deliberate and precise movement vocabulary. The students observe the focus, involvement, and expression of the dancer within the execution of the pieces.

3.0 Historical and Cultural Context

3.4 History and Function of Dance – Describe how costumes and shoes influence dance movement.

How: The performer dresses in traditional classical Bharatanatyam costume that is opulent in rich silks and ornate jewelry. The performer dances with bare feet and bells around the ankle, executing deft footwork creating rhythmic musicality. Students observe how the lack of shoes and the opulent costume influence the range of movement, the emotional experience, the poise held by the dancer, and the ability to use the feet to create sound and percussion.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing

4.1 Description, Analysis, and Criticism of Dance – Name specific criteria to assess the quality of a dance performance of peers (e.g., focus, level of personal involvement, physical control).

How: Focus, level of personal involvement, and physical control are all aspects inherent to the execution of Indian dance at a professional level. Students witness that each dance is grounded on these elements and that the absence of these elements would significantly detract from and undermine the quality of the performance.

4.2 Description, Analysis, and Criticism of Dance - Explain and demonstrate what it means to be a good audience member.

How: Students are required to and find themselves being quiet, attentive, and focused on the dance being presented on stage in order to fully observe the actions of the dancer. They are asked to watch for and identify specific elements, encouraging them to engage in the performance with quiet concentration and detailed observation.

4.3 Meaning and Impact of Dance – Explain how a performer’s dance skills contribute to communication of ideas and moods when performing a dance (e.g., focus, strength, coordination).

How: The performance showcases the range of dance prowess required to deftly communicate ideas and moods from literal stories with multiple characters to abstract dance movement pieces used to elicit emotional reactions within the performer and audience. This range of control, focus, purpose, intent, and precision are qualities students are asked to recognize consciously and imbibe subconsciously.

Dance Grade 4

1.0 Artistic Perception

1.1 Development of Motor Skills and Technical Expertise – Demonstrate mental concentration and physical control in performing dance skills.

How: Students observe the connection between mental concentration and physical control required to perform dance skills, as this dance style is grounded in the mind/body connection and unity of expression.

2.0 Creative Expression

2.7 Development of Partner and Group Skills – Demonstrate additional partner and group skills (e.g., imitating, leading/following, mirroring, calling/responding, echoing).

How: Students are engaged in imitating, leading/following, mirroring, calling/responding, and echoing activities throughout the performance.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing

4.3 Meaning and Impact of Dance – Describe ways in which a dancer effectively communicates ideas and moods (strong technique, projection, and expression).

How: Students are asked to identify the variety in ways the dancer effectively communicates ideas and moods, including but not limited to the use of the body, hands, and facial expressions, the spatial patterns on stage, the technical agility to alter movement phrases and patterns to create dynamics, and expression of energy to communicate mood and ideas to a large room and entire audience.

5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications

5.1 Connections and Applications Across Disciplines – Explain how dance practice relates to and uses the vocabulary of other art subjects (e.g., positive and negative space, shape, line, rhythm, character).

How: Through the use of creating imaginary space, playing with geometrical lines, shapes on stage (formations/directional changes) and within the movement itself (levels/direction of movement/direction of face), employment of rhythm, and embodiment of character, Students witness how dance practice relates to and uses vocabulary of other art subjects.

Dance Grade 5

2.0 Creative Expression

2.5 Communication of Meaning in Dance – Convey a wide range of feeling and expression through gestures, posture, and movement.

How: The backbone of this performance is the use of gesture, posture, and movement as tools for expression and communication of a wide range of feeling.

3.0 Historical and Cultural Context

3.1 Development of Dance – Describe how and why a traditional dance may be changed when performed on a stage for an audience.

How: The show touches upon the roots of Indian dance being in the temples and its historical progression from Temple to the Royal Courts to Stage. Developments and changes to the performance style, due to this movement are explained and showcased.

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing

4.4 Meaning and Impact of Dance – Explain how outstanding dancers affect audience members emotionally or intellectually.

How: Students witness literal story pieces where they feel emphathy for or intellectually understand the emotions felt by the characters within the story the dance is telling. They then also experience how an abstract dance piece creates and inspires an emotional reaction within them. They understand the difference between an intellectual response and emotional response and how the dancer presents the art differently to affect the viewer accordingly.

5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications

5.4 Development of Life Skills and Career Competencies – Demonstrate social skills that enable students to become leaders/teachers and followers/learners.

How: The students are asked to participate in this show as both Leaders and Followers. In certain sections they are asked to volunteer ideas and observations and share “how they would do” something – examples are “what hand gesture would you use to show (a daily activity, environment, or emotion)?” – the student then takes the role of leader and shows how they would interpret that concept in movement – the performer then follows the student and asks all the other students to try the movement or gesture their peer suggested (follower). The students are also asked to also echo and mirror the movements and gestures that the performer leads them through – thereby asking them to pay attention as followers.