Symposium and dance practice by Dr. Svetlana Ryzhakova
Chamonix - Valle d'Aosta
21-22 June 2018
Possession, devotion, performance: borders and interconnections
The co-existence of various ecstatic performative practices (dance, music, drama, various rituals, rites, public presentations), which functions lie between religious activity, healing and entertainment, is one of the most significant features of some societies even today, in the global world. Performances have many local variations and stratifications — from tiny village customs to today’s mass-media huge events, TV shows, national festivals with strong political agenda, and the like. Enactments of myths and legends must be performed during agricultural and domestic festivals, and are tightly connected to various rituals. Invocation and narration of the divine stories from epic texts is very well known practice in particular regions.
Apart from enacting stories, some artistic traditions appeared as a peculiar social practice of joint efforts, an institution for inter-caste, inter-class communication etc. Dance, music and drama play the role of an instrument of socialization, as a form of conservation and enactment of local historical memory and a way to overcome cognitive problems. They should be observed from different angles and perspectives, as cultural tools with multiple purposes.
The ultimate goal of the seminar is the creation of the discussion about the concept of possession. What kind of ethnographic reality could stay behind? How the symptoms, which are supposed to be the markers of “possession”, are socially and culturally shaped? How they can be related to devotion and performances in their various manifestations?
Shristi-tandava: Creation and Destruction in Indian dance
Both creation and destruction of the Universe are strongly related to Gods and Goddesses in Indian philosophy and religious culture. Various traditions use to formulate it in different ways. Siva as Omnipotent God and Sakti as a manifestation of Energy itself, play curtail role in the enactment of this cosmic story.
Indian classical dances have large material for the reflection and visualization of the idea of creation and destruction of the World.
Solo dance program by Dr. Svetlana Ryzhakova offers a vision of both interrelation and difference between the two main divine forces and heroes of Cosmic drama, Siva and Sakti. What is the origin of active and passive states of being? How masculine and feminine entities join their efforts for creation? How life itself turns into death, what is the sense and purpose of destruction, and how it rejuvenates? What does it mean - non-existance? Dancer invites the audience to explore these questions. Let us enjoy the beauty of traditional Indian dance, as well.
The Dance of Shiva in Myth, Philosophy, Art
Siva Nataraja, dancing God, is one of the most popular visual images of Indian religion, philosophy and art itself. Canonical bronze statue of Nataraja of the tenth century AD (epoch of Cola dynasty) continued to be reproduced and admired up to today. This dance is called Anandatandava – Dance of Bliss.
What is the symbolism of all elements of the whole image – arch of flames, hand gestures, hairs, raised left foot, small drum, cobra, and many others? How philosophers, scientists, poets, worshipers ascribed different meanings to this figure of God, who express endless joy, flow of energy, granting all wishes, but at the same time bringing the Universe to it’s end?
Dr. Svetlana Ryzhakova will examine in details mythological, philosophical and artistic issues of the conception of Dancing Siva in Indian culture. Besides, she will put the question, how Indian symbolism resembles contemporary physic theories, why and how Indian cosmogony, aesthetic and kinesthetic tradition can be taken into consideration by Western scholars.
NB. The event will be based in "Eden" 3* hotel and restraint, Chamonix, which offers a special price for all participants: 30 euro (1 person / 1 night) accommodation, 23 euro for dinner. Booking is available by e-mail: Relax@hoteleden-Chamonix.com with key-word: "AlpAge" in the subject.