Routes Beyond Roots

Indian Performing Arts and Virtual Culture(s)

Dear all,
We are organising a symposium on Indian performing arts at the School of Music, University College Dublin, in the coming year. Please consider submitting a paper.

Routes Beyond Roots: Indian Performing Arts and Virtual Culture(s)

Over the last number of years, Indian classical dance traditions have seen major shifts in terms of practice, pedagogy, and performance, both ‘at home’ in India and in diaspora contexts. These changes have been intensified most recently by two primary and co-related phenomena; the global adoption of specific algorithmic social media and streaming platforms, and lockdown restrictions imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. What happens to the embodied physical presence on virtual platforms? What are the ethical and artistic issues with AI interventions in classical dance? How has the format of the art form been modified to fit in digital spaces? What do these transformations mean for the future of the dance forms? How are socio-political issues embedded and addressed in such spaces? 

Recognising these mediations on digital dancing bodies and the scope of such largely unexplored digital interventions in Indian classical dance, we call for a symposium to contribute to a growing body of dance research. This two-day symposium to be held on the 13th and 14th of June 2024 and hosted by University College Dublin, aims to bring scholar-practitioners, artists, and researchers working with Indian dance together in order to explore these recent transformations. Dr Prarthana Purkayastha (Royal Holloway University, London), whose crucial work revolves around the intersections of Indian dance studies and transnationalism, identity, diaspora, and decoloniality, will deliver the keynote address.

We invite presentations, performances, and discussions that will help us to (re)imagine and (re)interpret Indian dance as it exists in digital cultures, both in India and in the diaspora. While we are particularly interested in the critical evaluation of Indian dance traditions transformed by or with social media platforms, our definition of digital culture is intentionally broad and we call for scholars working across disciplines to explore movement from various methodological perspectives. By facilitating multiple modes of thinking and learning together, we hope to encourage new pathways of engagement with an ever-growing and transnational Indian culturalscape. We invite proposals for one hour panels or roundtables (3-4 people), or single 30-minute presentations, film screenings, lecture-demonstration and/or workshops from scholar-practitioners, artists, and researchers. Topics include (and need not be limited to):

Digital Dance Histories, Archives, and Documentation
Post-Pandemic Dance Discourse
Online Embodiment and New Ethnographic Approaches
Practice-Research and Collaborative Research
Technology and Digital Platforms in Dance-making Processes
Social Media, Trends, and Challenges
Virtual Dance Festivals
Digital Placemaking and Dance Communities
Dance and AI
Gender, Caste, Ethnicity, Nationality, and Race (Online and Offline)
Dance and the Diaspora
Pedagogical Transformations and Challenges
The deadline for proposals is 10 January 2024. Please send in your proposals with the following information to

Institutional Affiliation (if any)
Type of Presentation
Abstract (Max. 300 Words)
Biography (Max. 100 Words)

Please note that this is an in-person event at University College Dublin, Ireland. Details on accommodation will be provided after proposals are accepted.