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Swinging Syllables: Aesthetics of Kathak Dance

Sushil Kumar Saxena (Author)
Synopsis This is a pioneering study of classical Indian dance in the way of contemporary philosophical aesthetics. Concentrating on Kathak, it seeks, on the one hand, to determine the nature of such set numbers as thata, amad, tatkar; and, on the other hand, to illumine our experience of watching a good Kathak recital. Care has also been taken to bring out the meaning of aesthetic predicates, and of many other terms, such as mukhvilas, layakari, bol, bol ka dharma or mijaz, and bamani collocations of rhythmic syllables, which freely occur in our talk about Kathak. The more serious students of this dance form should find valuable suggestions in what this book has to say on the laws of syllabic integration and on creative devices, such as regulating changes of music between adjacent numbers by availing of laya which inheres in bols, as distinguished from the basic pace which only underruns them, and fuller utilization of the dhruvapada-dhamar forms of vocal music for evocation of deeper effects in Kathak. The two appendices-‘Art as Expression’ and ‘The Rasa Theory’-should be of help to all those who may like to study our dances and music from an expressly aesthetical angle. The book may be said to meet our long-standing need for a full-length analytical study of Kathak as art, and to indicate the lines on which similar works could be attempted on our other forms of classical dance.
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About the author

Sushil Kumar Saxena

A former Professor of Philosophy at the University of Delhi, where he started the teaching of philosophical aesthetics in 1964, Dr. Sushil Kumar Saxena has actively related this contemporary way of looking at the arts to Hindustani music and Kathak dance in the form of published essays and books spanning a period of more than 35 years. His first book, however, was on metaphysics. Entitled studies in the distinction of being the second Indian (after Dr. S. Radhakrishnan) to appear as an author in (George Allen and Unwin's) Muirhead Library series of philosophical works. Thereafter, turning to philosophies of art and religion, Dr. Saxena produced three more books: The Winged Form: Aesthetical Essays on Hindustani Rhythm (Sangeet Natak Akademi). Aesthetical Essays, and Ever Unto God: Essays on Gandhi and Religion (Indian Council of Philosophical Research). His essays and review articles, again on aesthetical and religious subjects, have appeared in The British Journal of Aesthetics, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (U.S.A.), Religious Studies (U.K.)Diogene (France), Kant Studien (Germany). II Vetro (Italy), Philosophy East and West (U.A.A.)Sangeet Natak, Marg, Indian Philosophiy Quarterly, and Journal of the ICPR (India). Currently, as a Fellow of the Indian Council of philosophical Research, Dr. Saxena is working on two book. Art and Aesthetics and the Arts of India.

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Bibliographic information

Title Swinging Syllables: Aesthetics of Kathak Dance
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition Reprint
Language: English
isbn 8178710889
length 195p., Notes; 25cm.