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India: Online Video Archive for Performing Arts

“Shabda” means “sound” or “speech” in Sanskrit, and it is the name given to a unique online archive of videos presenting lecture demonstrations on various Indian art forms.

Started by three musicians, T.M. Krishna, H.K. Venkatram and Shriram Kumar, Shabda aims to bring Indian arts and culture to a wider audience.

Inspired by the TED talk format, Shabda's creators invite experts in music, dance or theatre to give a lecture on the topic of their choice for twenty minutes.

A Shabda event has six to eight speakers, including talks for both scholars and those less knowledgeable about Indian arts. The founders hope that as well as being a source of information, the site will become a constructive, interactive community.

The lectures, which are all in English, cover a wide range of subjects. In the first Shabda talk, Lakshmi Vishwanathan demonstrated how a Bharatanatyam dancer can effectively use music to enhance and elevate a dance performance.

Professor V.V. Subramaniam presented a lecture demonstration on how the essence of music is interpreted and performed on the violin.

Brigha Bessel showed how expressive techniques are used by a Bharatanatyam dancer.

Thumbnail and featured image show Bharatanatyam dancer Rama Vaidyanathan. Image by Flickr user Dalbera (CC BY 2.0).

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