Bengaluru: Dancing through the pandemic - auditoriums to online

Prachi Hota

Indian Classical dancer Prachi Hota


Though the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown cultural life out of gear, the digital space is throwing up new vistas

Bengaluru: Though the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown cultural life out of gear, the digital space is throwing up new vistas. Although nothing can equal the experience of a stage performance with hundreds cheering in an auditorium, it is imperative to adapt to the circumstances that surround it. Prachi Hota, a young Odissi exponent, has been giving live performances on social media platforms. The digital route to reach out to art lovers might be a hard task to take up, but Prachi Hota has seamlessly danced her way to it.

Commenting on how the pandemic has changed her dancing platform, Prachi Hota says, "The biggest implication in my life is that I can no longer perform in auditoriums I have always enjoyed. It helps me connect with people in ways that one can't otherwise. Art, within Indic philosophy, is meant to be a shared experience. It is supposed to be a collective path to transcendence for everybody who engages in the performance of the artist and the audience. In an auditorium, this manifests as palpable energy that results in a conversation between the artist and their audience, both affecting each other. No words need to be exchanged, for this back and forth to happen. This makes every performance unique. Since the pandemic, performances that are streamed live online have become the norm. On such platforms, this conversation between the artist and audience is muted".

At a young age of 23, Prachi Hota carved a niche for herself in Odissi in the country. As a trained dancer for twenty years, Prachi Hota has been a professional artist for the past eleven years. She is also trained in Hindustani music and 'sitar' and is currently pursuing her Master's in filmmaking.

"The good thing about the situation, however, is that because everything is online, performances have become accessible to people who might not otherwise have had the time to make it to the auditorium. The space for discourse has also moved online, so art historians, critics, scholars and artists themselves are now engaging with each other on dance as an academic endeavour. Such engagement among practitioners is necessary if the art form is to grow. Essentially, the space for discourse has expanded in the pandemic," Prachi Hota added.

Prachi Hota is a person with diverse interests, has performed in many festivals of national and international repute, both in India and abroad. She is also associated with Project Anjuman, which conducts workshops in government schools. She also organises seminars on dance titled Samanubhasana - Conversations on Indian Dance.

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