Performing arts in India in 2021

By Siddhi Jain

The trials and tribulations of 2020 propelled many to seek refuge in the comfort of a favourite song, the upbeat rhythm that came from a dance sequence, or the much-needed break that came to our screens in the form of digital theatre. While the past year saw increased, especially online, activity for these performing arts, what does 2021 have in store?
Dance
Priya Venkataraman, Bharatanatyam Dancer and choreographer, says, “2020 saw a surge in online performances and classes. This allowed me as a dancer to connect to students worldwide. I see this trend continuing through to the majority of next year while the established and senior artists will return to the stage with limited audiences. Online platforms & festivals are here to stay as they offer much needed visibility without the need for sponsors.”
Indian-Australian choreographer and dance mentor Ashley Lobo says: “Going forward into 2021, I see a trend of a blend of digital and offline engagement in performing arts. I see collaborations and dance education using the digital medium much more. Choreographers experimenting with film and multimedia will expand and that should make for some interesting and engaging viewing. Live performance will definitely be back because as human beings the human interaction can never be replaced. As far as art goes I am hopeful that the digital medium will expand the awareness and the younger generation will find interest in it considering it is coming to them in a medium that they have strong ties to.
Theatre
Shailja Kejriwal, Chief Creative Officer, Special Projects at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd said that when they first started digitising plays, it was not with the possibility of a pandemic in mind but over the last few months, the format has developed a new relevance. “In the coming year, digitising of storytelling will become more expansive, diverse and all-encompassing. With people now searching for a variety of content to watch combined with existing theatre lovers who still wish for access to plays, digital theatre is a medium which will be further explored in 2021.”
“From the perspective of theatre, digitisation will play a large role. It will help theater broaden and deepen its reach. New products will get developed which will leverage the unique strengths of theater such as the live broadcast of performances. Theater in its traditional form will continue to serve niche audience that relish the old world charm. However, the theater performances will be enhanced with the use of new technology,” Hemant Bharat Ram, Executive Vice President, Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts (SRCPA) told IANSlife.
Music
“The Internet has been reshaping the music landscape, which has been further accelerated by the recent pandemic. Technology, Innovation, and Collaboration will lead the way in the coming years. New platforms and mediums will gain prominence, reinventing the ways audiences connect with music creators. The pandemic has forced artists & creators across the globe to postpone their live on-ground concerts indefinitely. As an alternate, many turned to virtual performances. While virtual shows propose new possibilities for the music industry, technology will play a critical role in making it a success,” asserted Rakesh Nigam, CEO, IPRS.
He concluded, “The experience created online will define the popularity and value-for-money, and whether it can attract/hold on to its audience in the long run. The permission and licenses also have to be looked into to create a win-win situation for all the stakeholders. At IPRS, we are mindful of the changing times and have taken measures to ensure that the authors, composers and publishers of music reap all benefits possible of their hard work and creative ability.” (IANSlife)

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