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The Experience of Flow among Kathak Dancers

Mary George , Reva (2014) The Experience of Flow among Kathak Dancers. Other thesis, Christ University.

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Abstract

Flow is a state of optimal experience proposed by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi (1975). Flow is the holistic experience that people feel when they act with total involvement and is characterized by intense engagement and enjoyment. The flow state has been explored diverse contexts such as art, music, theater, education and sports. The main contribution of flow studies to positive psychology involves adding value, purpose and enjoyment to subjective experience, thereby leading to a richer and intentional life existence. Dance is one such activity that increases enjoyment by integrating one’s awareness with oneself and the surroundings. Kathak is a form of North Indian Classical dancing that lays emphasis on speed and rhythm. The present study aims to analyze the experience of flow in the context of Kathak performance. It also seeks to describe the experience of flow by linking challenge in the performance and skill of the dancer, the importance of feedback in performance and the unique competencies that enable a person to enter and maintain the state of flow. Seven Kathak dancers from Bangalore were interviewed in order to analyze how they experience flow. The research paradigm employed was phenomenology and in-depth interviews were used to gather data. Thematic analysis was the technique used in the study to generate themes. The findings of the study state that the dancers perceive Kathak as a challenging dance. The dancers’ perception of their skills influences their flow experience during performance. The Guru was seen to be an influential person whose feedback was considered valuable. The response from the audience and the dancers’ own self reflection were also important sources of feedback. The dancers’ had identified different purposes for performing Kathak. They were all motivated by their inner drives. The dancers also experienced a transformation from their personal selves when they were immersed in the dance. Self-confidence was seen to be an important facilitator of flow whereas anxiety was seen to be a major inhibitor. The results will be able to help dancers understand the importance of optimal experiences during dancing. An awareness of the what facilitates and inhibits flow can lead dancers to intentionally work on having clearer goals, better concentration, less self consciousness and raising the challenge level for themselves. The findings can be applied to dance therapy and also contributes to both research of dance and the relationship between dance and psychology in India. Keywords: Flow, experience, Kathak, challenge, feedback.

Item Type:Thesis (Other)
Subjects:Thesis > MPhil > Psychology
ID Code:6355
Deposited By:Knowledge Center Christ University
Deposited On:26 Jul 2014 19:02
Last Modified:26 Jul 2014 19:02

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