Tailored for various audiences and age groups

Suitable for:

Schools: High and Elementary

Museums, Art Galleries, Libraries

Universities: departments -

Theatre and Dance : Indian dance-theatre includes many unique theatrical elements

Music: tala and raga

Fine Arts: Hindu temple sculpture and miniature paintings represent the various myths and postures used in Indian dance.

Religion: the important link between dance and religion

Anthropology/Sociology: Some styles were originally a part of Hindu worship. Their history and social context is discussed


Lecture Demonstration: includes the cultural context of the dance, the stories, the rhythms, the music, audience participation.

Recital: A more formal presentation than the lecture demonstration. Explanation proceeds each dance, includes some audience participation.

Where facilities permit, both options include images of Indian art, which relate the same story shown in the dance and video of traditional artists.

Practical Classes:

Rhythmic structures: how to beat different rhythms with sticks, with their feet, and how to move their bodies, how to speak the rhythmic syllables

Theatrical Component. introduction to the codified language of symbolic hand gestures, facial

expression, eye and neck movements


"Her performance was educational as well as entertainment value. She combines analysis with interpretation without compromising the INTEGRITY and PURITY of the traditional performance. Multi-culturalism at its most profound."
David Radcliffe Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, London Canada

"I am delighted to be able to recommend Anjali's dance and lecture programmes... she is an EXCEPTIONALLY GIFTED TEACHER and PERFORMER with the capacity to hold even young children spellbound. I have seen her dance many times and have on every occasion been impressed at her capacity to interpret the myths and legends of India to western audiences. Her dance provides an excellent cultural bridge to Indian religion, tradition and art."
Peggy Morgan Lecturer in the Study of Religion, Mansfield College, Oxford University UK


The Dancing Shiva: Nataraja as a focus for cross-cultural education

DVD and Booklet

Given increasing cultural diversity worldwide, the need to improve inter-cultural understanding is acuteThis cross-cultural education project carried out in association with University of Ottawa resulted in the production of teaching materials for universities and schools (booklet, DVD). The material focuses on the many layers of meaning in 'The Dancing Shiva', an important symbol of Indian culture, using art as a key to understanding culture. It is not difficult to describe the physical attributes of a culture, but it is far harder to convey to people its flavour. Art can be a powerful means to achieve this. The talk will be illustrated with live dance, professional quality slides, and a DVD shot in India which includes rituals and temple activities.

"The Dancing Shiva Booklet and DVD includes very important cross cultural teaching materials. They provide a link to further understanding the rich potential for multicultural artistic education. This was a celebration of diversity. There is a need for more resources of this calibre. I highly recommend it for Arts Education in Ontario Schools"
DALE TAYLOR (Arts Co-ordinator, Ottawa-Carleton School Board)

".. an excellent resource for my students at Carleton University. My students responded with great enthusiasm to the program. There is a great need for such materials that allow a lay audience to appreciate the art and culture of other traditions, as well as bring the world's wisdom to bear on our contemporary lives."
ANGELA SUMEGI , Professor Religious Studies Carleton University, Ottawa Canada

Some of the Repertoire used in the Educational presentations

Nine Moods (Nava Rasa)
Indian dance is theatre and the nine moods are unique and important elements

Krishna Raises The Mountain
When the angry storm god threatens to destroy a village, Krishna lifts up a mountain to shelter his friends

The Story of Rama and Sita:
A brief introduction to the important epic the Ramayana, which is told all over south Asia. It relates the story of Prince Rama, his banishment to the forest, the abduction of Rama's wife Sita by Ravana. Sita is rescued with help from the monkey, Hanuman and his friends.

The Frog who Became a Queen:
A maiden cursed to live as a frog is surrounded by fish, turtles and birds. When a demon king arrives, the spell is broken and she becomes his Queen.

Bhima Goes to the Mountains
An important story from another great Epic the Mahabharata. The powerful Bhima, son of the wind god goes into the Himalayas in search of the beautiful Sougantikam flower. He surveys the peaks: massive, with avalanches tumbling, their peaks encircled by black clouds. As he begins his climb he passes though the jungle and sees deer, peacocks, a lion and an elephant. Before his astonished gaze a deadly combat between an elephant, lion and snake takes place.

Where facilities permit, images of Indian art, which relate the same story shown in the dance and video of traditional artists are included.

About Anjali

Dr Anne-Marie Gaston (Anjali) combines an internationally recognized career as a dancer of several classical styles of Indian dance with lecturing on cross disciplinary themes. She has been investigating the interface between Indian arts and mythology and interpreting them for Western audiences for the past four decades. She holds a D. Phil in the Sociology of the performing Arts of India and a M. Litt. in the Art of India both from Oxford University and has published three books: "Siva in Dance, Myth and Iconography", "Bharata Natyam: From Temple to Theatre", and "Krishna's Musicians: Music and Music-making in the Temples of Nathdvara, Rajasthan", as well as the chapter on 'Dance in Religion/Spirituality' for the Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts.