"Tara is a born teacher as well as an amazingly skilled performer. She captivated 300+ with the beauty of her dance, the seamless way she asked questions to push thinking, and the way she made the performance interactive."
Adam Blumer, Social Studies Department Head, Wellesley Middle School, Wellesley
After many wonderful years performing for hundreds of organizations throughout New England, Tara has stopped performing as of this summer. Thank you to all the great children and adults who have welcomed Tara into their communities and made for such a rewarding dance life! Tara is offering some new programs -- please check out the "New Classes" and "Workshops" tabs.
Lecture/Demonstrations are Tara's most popular program, performed primarily at schools, libraries and retirement communities.
Taal* Tales is a 45-60 minute lecture/demonstration that presents the history of classical South Indian dance and performances of dance pieces celebrating various deities. Tara's specialty among the various forms of Indian dance is called Kuchipudi. With elements of storytelling, rhythmic footwork, and athletic grace, Kuchipudi relays vivid stories from Hindu mythology.
In this highly interactive program, participants are engaged in experiential learning by watching and participating in dance sequences, identifying rhythms and stories, and asking and answering questions. Participants see analogies between art from India and from America, understanding parallels between art forms and cultures.
They view a PowerPoint presentation of dance-related art, hear about the history and cultural context of dance, learn basic rhythms and hand gestures, and are asked to identify percussive patterns and stories in the dance pieces. A small group is invited to get up to learn some movement, and there is a Question & Answer period at the end of the program.
*Taal: the rhythmic cycle in Indian music
Age group recommendations:
Preschool - Ages 3 to 5
Lower elementary - Grades K to 2
Upper elementary - Grades 3-5
Middle School - Grades 6-8
Tara has given lecture/demonstrations and workshops at schools and cultural institutions including:
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Bay Farm Montessori School, Duxbury
Carleton-Willard Village, Bedford
Berkowitz Elementary School, Chelsea
Sharon Public Library
John Winthrop Preschool, Boston
The Glenhome School, Washington, CT
Programs are modified according to age level and contain different content for each age group. Younger children receive a basic introduction to dance and storytelling, while older children and adults learn more sophisticated material involving the history and context of classical dance. Taal Tales brings together the disciplines of Asian Studies, Social Studies, History, Foreign Languages, Dance, Music, and Theater.
Taal Tales places equal emphasis on dance as an intrinsically beautiful art form and as a kinetic way to communicate history. In schools, teachers find that boys are intrigued by the athleticism and powerful imagery in Kuchipudi, often exhibiting interest in dance for the first time. Adults often find that they connect with art in a new way and are inspired to learn more about India. Dance cultivates an interest in exploring different cultures and diversity, and in examining one's own culture with a new perspective.
Taal Tales is recommended for groups of up to 150 allowing for robust audience participation but can easily be performed for larger groups.
Photos by Channing Johnson