January 2016 VSA Webinar: “Dance Across Cultural Paradigms with Bhangra—a Folk Dance from India”

Dance Across Cultural Paradigms with Bhangra—a Folk Dance from India, presented January 26, 2016, taught educators how to incorporate aspects of culture through music, language, storytelling, and attire into a dance residency for students with a variety of physical, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities. Participants learned ways to expand their toolbox of sensory and kinesthetic methods with strategies that can be applied to explore various areas of expertise. This webinar targeted all professors, teachers, artists, administrators, and paradigm shifters. The presenter, Mala Desai, offered a special invitation to experienced artists immersed in practicing traditional and folk arts from diverse cultures to expand arts learning for students with disabilities.

Click on the play button below to watch a free recording of the Webinar. (You will be prompted to enter your email address and contact information prior to viewing the Webinar.)

January 2016


Mala_Desai-Mala2VSABorn in New Delhi, India, Mala Desai is a teacher of Odissi and Folk Dances from India since 1995. She is currently a Teaching Artist with Marquis Studios, on the dance faculty of Young Indian Culture Group, and Artistic Director of Mala’s School of Odissi Dance. She is also a professional NYS Licensed Social Worker and an ABA Therapist for Early Intervention services.

Summary of Discussion Topics:

  • What is “Bhangra”
  • Simplification of step
    • Side toe step with arm rolls
    • Heel dig with arm movements
    • Hop with arm movements
    • Hamstrung curl with arms swaying low and high
    • Squats and jumps with arm movements
    • Side bends with lateral stretch
  • Marquis Studios Residency
    • 10 sessions
    • 4-6 classes per day
    • Max 35 students per class
    • Co-teaching strategy when possible
    • Performance as final session
  • NYC District 75
  • Various student disabilities
  • What happens each session:
    • Greeting
    • Brief overview
    • Warm-up
    • Dance steps
    • Dancing to rhythm/music
    • Something NEW today
    • Cool-down
  • Goals: Physical movement, engage all students, participation by all students
  • Anatomical movement planes:
    • Sagittal
    • Frontal
    • Transverse
  • Count of 4
  • Stick-figures as cues and connections
  • Learning the “L”
  • Different warm-up music
    • Beats
    • Ho Jayegi Balle Balle
    • JaiHo-Treasure
  • To engage:
    • Name
    • Collaboration
    • Sensory stimulation:
      • Music
      • Tools
      • Visuals
      • Words
      • Costumes (very important for participation!)
      • Toys: scarves, o-ball, stretchy band, bells, and tambourines

Links and Resources:

We want to know-what did you learn from this webinar?


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