Accepted Paper:

Creating Freedom : The Story of Healing Through Dance in Kolkata  


Nayanee Basu (Jawaharlal Nehru University )

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how healing is being carried out through the medium of dance in Kolkata.Every level of such healing endeavor is marked by creative improvisation--on the part of artist-healers,beneficiaries and by facilitating bureaucrats.

Paper long abstract:

The paper delves into how healing is carried out through artistic practice--dance being the specific medium and Kolkata, the city.Erst-while victims of trafficking, special needs children and prisoners are the beneficiaries of the process. Creative improvisation lies at the core of such endeavor.Improvising ways out of emotional blocks or towards cherished dreams have often set the ball rolling for artist healers who have subsequently 'entered the arena'. The techniques used in dance therapy are centered around the interplay between freedom and constraint--the beneficiaries are encouraged to improvise their 'way out' of imaginary constraints or to use the same productively.Sometimes the healed have turned healers whose felt-knowledge have guided their therapeutic interventions along with some amount of training in technique.At a different level of reality is a bureaucrat's story of improvising his way out of prison-rules and conventions dating back to colonial times in order to usher in an effective program of cultural therapy within prison walls.This paper is the result of wanting to know through participation how artistic creativity is being used to heal, what it means to be 'healed'and what one needs to be healed out of .It has been a witness to creative freedom begetting freedom from the doldrums, restoring health to create again.

Panel P33
The art of improvisation