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Performing Arts at Ashoka



The performing arts programme offers a range of courses centred on the twin ideas of performance as a phenomenon and what it is to be a performer.  We propose the exploration of a wide gamut of performance modes in theatre, music and dance. The classes are both participative and performative. Critical thinking is applied directly to the act of performing with all its attendant constituents. 


The performing arts department functions as a central hub for interacting with the arts.  Apart from the academic courses, there are the co-curricular courses, many of which are directly related to the performing arts. There are also non-evaluative activities such as student performances, non-credit music workshops, participation in organizing guest performances, etc.



Credit requirements

Students require 24 credits for a minor in Performing Arts and 16 credits for a concentration in Performing Arts.


Mandatory courses for a minor:

PA-1003 Developing Performance Skills

PA-1009 Performing Arts Practices

These two courses are usually offered during the Spring semester.


There are no mandatory courses for a concentration.


Note: 1. Credits from the two compulsory Co-curricular courses (4 credits in total) can also count towards Performing Arts minor and concentration credits.

2. For courses cross-listed with other departments, credits from a maximum of two courses can be counted towards a minor or a concentration in Performing Arts.



To ensure accessibility and to inculcate confidence in students and their approach towards engagement with the performing arts, a variety of courses offered by the department do not have any prerequisites.


Some of the courses with prerequisites are:


- PA-3007 Bharatanatyam: Expression and Technique (Monsoon 2020)

Student must have at least an intermediate proficiency in bharatanatyam.


- PA-2008 Bharatanatyam: Stage Repertoire (Spring 2021)

Student must have basic proficiency in bharatanatyam.


- PA-3010  Understanding Hindustani Music (Spring 2021)

Student must have basic proficiency in any form of music.



ASP with Performing Arts


ASP students can avail of a number of ways to explore Performing Arts. They may

  • complete a Concentration (16 credits),
  • complete a Minor (24 credits), or
  • simply take any number of Performing Arts courses on offer.

 ASP students may also apply for a Capstone Project, which extends over 2 semesters and is worth a total of 8 credits, 4 credits per semester. The first semester must result in a thesis-type paper, the second in a performance that is directly related to the paper. The Capstone Project is open to  

  • students who wish to complete a Concentration or a Minor in Performing Arts – the 8 credits from the Capstone Project then count toward the relevant requirements,
  • students who have already completed either a Concentration or a Minor in Performing Arts,
  • students who are not already completing a Capstone Project in a different discipline.

It is strongly recommended that students pursuing the Capstone Project take at least one additional course from the Performing Arts offerings both in the Monsoon and in the Spring semester of their year as this will help them engage with tangible academic material and with developing their skills to further develop their project.


To apply for a Capstone Project, students must find an advisor to be approved by the department and then complete the Capstone registration form during the registration for the Monsoon semester of their ASP year.




List of courses for Monsoon 2020 (available to 2nd year, 3rd year and ASP students)



Asian Traditional Theatre


Global Music


Taming the Sensory Body: Memory, Text, Idea


Performing Arts Aesthetics


Bharatanatyam: Expression and Technique 



List of courses for Spring 2021 (available to all UGs)



Performing Arts Practices


Developing Performance Skills


Bharatanatyam: Stage Repertoire


Understanding Hindustani Music


Poetics in Indian Dance



The list of courses does not remain completely the same every year. Except for the mandatory and some of the practice based courses, we offer different courses every semester. Some of the courses mentioned for this year have not been offered before.


Some of the other courses offered in the past:

The Performing Body

Performing Arts Repertoire

Performing Arts History

History of South India

Bharatanatyam Practice and Theory

Bharatanatyam Practice and Theory II

Performance Theory

Kattaikuttu: Musical Theatre of Tamil Nadu

Performance Theory and Practise (Sub-continental)

Theatre Anthropology