Experiences of precarity: Oral histories of K12 dance teachers in Delhi

August 2023
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The experiences of dance teachers in K12 schools in Delhi of negotiating the contemporary education space; navigating the tension between artistic aspirations and making a livelihood through dance; of dealing with questions of class, caste, language, religion, ageing, and gender are vital to generating a multidimensional narrative of dance in India. K12 dance teachers are the fulcrum on which dance and educational discourse in India engage with each other. Yet the K12 dance teacher, who they are and what they do, is all but missing from the literature in both dance and education. This dissertation project takes an oral history approach to collect and analyze the oral histories of ten full time K12 dance teachers working in CBSE-affiliated schools in Delhi. The aim is to create a nuanced understanding of dance in India with an intentional focus on the intersectional identities of the participants, made visible through the lived experiences of making a living through dance in contemporary times. Discussing experiences of economic, pedagogical, social, and personal precarity emerging from these narratives, this dissertation argues that these experiences illuminate aspects of the socio-political history of dance from the perspective of an invisibilized community within the dance ecosystem. Inspite of its invisibilization, this dissertation positions the pedagogical labor of the K12 dance teacher as the site from which an emancipatory model for dance education in India can emerge.

K12 Dance Teachers in Delhi