Dance Studies in University Spaces in South Asia

Dance as practise is offered in degree or diploma courses in some undergraduate and graduate institutions in South Asian countries. In comparison, Dance Studies is not a commonly offered subject at all. Today three young faculty from different institutions in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India discuss the scope, possibilities and challenges the subject faces as funds for arts education lessen all over the world, while the interest to continue dance education beyond practice increases within the performing arts ecology in South Asia.

The session is moderated by Urmimala Sarkar Munsi and promises to present a frank discussion between the three young people who navigate the terrain as faculty/ practitioners/ researchers of performing arts.

Featuring Chamanee Darshika (Sri Lanka), Zuairiyah Mouli (Bangladesh) and Amritha Shruthi (India).

Zoom Session Time: 14:00-15:30 (2pm to 3:30pm) IST, Thursday 27 June 2024

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Register now to join the discussion, and bring us your questions about the development Dance Studies, in South Asia and in your own context!

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Participation is free. Only registered participants will receive the link to the Zoom discussion.

Moderator: Prof. Urmimala Sarkar Munsi
Facilitated by: Bilqis Hijjas.
Organiser: World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific.

Date: Thursday 27 June
Time: 12:00 IST
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Platform: Zoom
Length of session: 90 minutes max

About the Speakers

Chamanee Darshika is a theatre practitioner, critic, and academic working at the intersections of Acting and Performance Studies. In 2023, she completed her postgraduate studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU (India). She is currently reading for her MPhil degree on “Gendering Nurti and Sinhala Nationalism: The Emergence of Female Actors in the Early Modern Sinhala Theatre” at the University of the Visual and Performing Arts (Sri Lanka). She has also followed Kandyan dance, one of the local dance practices. She is a permanent faculty member in the Faculty of Dance and Drama at UVPA, and teaches Acting and Performance Studies-related courses. She is also a visiting lecturer at the Uva Wellassa University (Sri Lanka) and was a temporary assistant lecturer at the University of Kelaniya (Sri Lanka) in Drama and Theatre.

In her practice-based research, Chamanee explores the ways in which the actor’s body can be unlearned, and ways to reconnect with Indigenous practices and rituals in South Asian Cultures. Her research examines the relationship between personal and historical power relations to contextualize the historical construction of the gendered body and its performative elements. She was the curator of Movement Rhizome Atelier, and one of the panelists at the International Conference on Dance Studies, at the University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka).

Zuairiyah Mouli has been pursuing dance for the last 18 years. In 2019, as an ICCR Scholar, she has completed her Masters in Performing Arts (Bharatnatyam) with Distinction from Bangalore University and completed her Diploma with Distinction from West Bengal Dance Group Federation’s Diploma, winning the gold medal. She has performed at prestigious dance venues in India, Bangladesh, Russia, France, USA and has been bestowed with Girnar Ratna and NatyaKalamani titles in 2019 from India. Her choreographed short productions “Endless Journey” and “Ardhanarishwara” were selected for the World Dance Alliance Global Summit 2017 and 2019. She has had the privilege to work in productions under internationally acclaimed choreographers Akram Khan (UK), Donald Byrd (USA), Kathleen Weitz (USA), and Urmimala Sarker (India). Currently, she is working as an Assistant Director (Program Production, Dance) at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. She has also worked as a part time lecturer in the Department of Dance, University of Dhaka and Tagore University of Creative Arts.

Currently an Assistant Professor of Performance at the Department of Arts, Media and Performance, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence, Delhi-NCR, Amritha Shruthi is a trained dancer-performer closely mentored by dancer Geeta Chandran, and is an empanelled ICCR solo artist and a graded artist by the Doordarshan. Amritha submitted her PhD thesis at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, wherein she maps the historical effectiveness of performance festivals in India – with specific reference to dance in an attempt to locate alternate approaches to analyse dance history and performance-making. Amritha has extensively worked in K-12 schools across India as an Art Integrated Learning consultant, and closely trains teachers to develop new methodologies to teach and engage with art and concepts in the classroom.


Urmimala Sarkar Munsi is the current President of World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific. She is a Professor and Dean of at the School of Arts and Aesthetics in Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. She is a social anthropologist / performance studies scholar and a trained dancer- choreographer, with research in socio-political assertions of identity through cultural practices.

Asia-Pacific Dance Dialogues explore current issues and viewpoints in dance around the region and the world, with invited dancers, choreographers, scholars and other dance practitioners. This monthly online series is hosted by World Dance Alliance chapters from the Asia-Pacific region, and reflects on topics in education and training, research and documentation, creation and presentation, and support and development.

Join us with your questions, share your unique perspectives, and strengthen your professional networks, as together we gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for dance in our world.

In 2024, these sessions are free and open to all; registration is required.