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Indian Kathak Dance

May 9, 2017

Pallabi Chakravorty, an Associate Professor in the Dance Program at Swarthmore College, will visit Westphal on May 18 and 19 for a guest lecture and Kathak Master Class as a 2017 Rankin Scholar. Dr. Miriam Giguere, Department Head of Performing Arts, and Pia Brancaccio, Program Director of Art & Art History, worked together to bring Pallabi to campus. "Pallabi’s wonderful work brings to life the richness of the visual vocabulary shared by dance, sculpture and painting in the Indian tradition. We are thrilled to host her in a cross disciplinary workshop bringing together the disciplines of Art History and Dance," stated Brancaccio.

Pallabi Chakravorty’s extensive research focuses on the theory, practice and social dimension of Indian dance, and her interdisciplinary, groundbreaking work brings together visual and performing arts, art history, and anthropology. Pallabi’s practice is rooted in a form of classical Indian dance known as Kathak, one of the ten major forms of Indian classical dance traditionally attributed to the traveling groups of ancient northern India, known as Kathakars, or storytellers. Pallabi is also a renowned scholar; her outstanding book, Bells of Change, discusses the origin and relevance of Kathak from its beginnings to contemporary times, exploring the social and visual developments of this dance form. Her works bring to life the historical connections existing in India between visual arts and dance, and highlights how art, worship and the world of women are closely interconnected. In addition, Pallabi created and directs a renowned contemporary Indian dance ensemble, The Courtyard Dancers.  

Her lectures and performances will unpack the complexity of the world of Hindu devotion, where art and dance share a rich visual vocabulary as they are expressions of the same unconditional surrendering to the divine. Students from the Dance and Art History programs will benefit from an extended interaction with Pallabi and a direct inā€depth exposure to a living Indian artistic tradition. "It is a privilege to be able to bring a scholar like Dr. Chakravorty to campus," wrote Dr. Giguere. "Her multi-disciplinary works sets a great example for our students who are interested in the intersection of all of their areas of study at Drexel."

Rankin Residencies are supported by donations from alumni and colleagues of Dean Rankin to inspire students and to add to deepen our understanding of developments and thinking within our diverse design, media and art fields. If you’d like to support the Rankin program, you can make an online donation here or by mailing a donation payable to Drexel University to: Dean Sabinson /URBN Center, 3501 Market Street 1A20A / Philadelphia PA, 19104. For more information, please contact Nikolas Kozel at


May 18

Guest Lecture, Art & Art History Class // 11-12:30PM // URBN 349// Free & open to the public, contact Professor Brancaccio at

Lecture Demonstration: Art, Devotion and Dance (Syncretic Art-Dance from Indian Courts to Contemporary Courtyards) // 7PM, reception to follow // Mandell Theater// Free & open to the Public


May 19 

Kathak Master Class // 12-1PM // Forman Studio // Free & open to the public*

Kathak Master Class // 1-2PM // Forman Studio // Free & open to the public*

*Contact Dr. Miriam Giguere at