5 Books Every Performing Arts Student Must Read

Every Performing Arts student and enthusiasts must get their hands on these books.

Students specialising in this particular genre of studies can benefit rather significantly from reading books that provide a proper insight into their craft’s history, theory, and practice.

Performing Arts has always been a niche genre that very few dare to explore and while most people might lead themselves into believing that it is only practical portions of the study that matters, theoretical knowledge is extremely important too. Books that are specifically focused on different areas of ‘Performing Arts’ can give a student insights and render a great deal of knowledge.

These books can not only help someone explore the principles of method acting and character development but at the same time provide an overview of various dance forms and their cultural significance. Some of these books can help inspire musicians to approach their art with a sense of openness and possibility, which focuses on the psychological aspects of performance, encourages musicians to embrace a holistic approach to music-making.

If you are a Performing Arts student, here are some of the must-have books that you must get your hands on:

  1. A Modern Introduction to Indian Aesthetic Theory
    “A Modern Introduction to Indian Aesthetic Theory” by Prof. Barlingay is an essential resource for performing arts students interested in Indian art and aesthetics. The book provides a detailed study of the development of the Rasa theory, which is the foundation of Indian aesthetic theory.
    It explores the principles of classifying abilities, aesthetics, and the perception of time and place in art. The critical analysis of the Rasa theory provides a deep understanding of the Indian aesthetic tradition and the principles that inform it. The book also provides an initiation for the reader’s personal experience, making it a must-read for students and scholars keen to study the fundamentals of Indian art, particularly drama and poetics. The book is invaluable for performing arts students seeking to expand their knowledge and understanding of Indian art and aesthetics.
  2. Millennium Glimpses of Indian Performing Arts
    This book on the changing milieu of the arts and culture scene in India is an insightful resource for performing arts students interested in learning about the progress and transformation of the performing arts in India since Independence. The book covers various art forms such as dance, music, theatre, cinema, and puppetry and provides a chronicle of the variegated background of the arts and artists.
    Additionally, the book delves into the minds of dancer-choreographers, singer-composers, and directors, obtaining their viewpoints about their creative outputs. This approach helps provide a nuanced understanding of the creative process and allows students to learn from artists’ experiences. Overall, this book is a valuable resource for performing arts students seeking to gain insight into the evolution of Indian performing arts and the creative processes of artists in India.
  3. F Rated: Being A Woman Filmmaker in India
    “F-Rated: Being a Woman Filmmaker in India” by Nandita Das offers an illuminating account of the experiences of women filmmakers in India and how they navigate a male-dominated industry. This book is beneficial to students of performing arts, as it provides an in-depth analysis of the gender inequalities that exist within the film industry. By reading the personal and professional journeys of Aparna Sen, Farah Khan, Meghna Gulzar, Mira Nair, and others, students can gain valuable insights into the challenges faced by women in filmmaking. The book also highlights the creativity and resilience required to succeed as a woman filmmaker and inspires those striving to make their mark in the performing arts. The book offers a unique perspective on the role of gender in shaping the experiences of women in the film industry.
  4. Silent Cinema and The Politics of Space
    The book, ‘Silent Cinema and The Politics of Space’ by Anupama Kapse provides students with a cross-cultural history of narrative cinema and media during the silent film era. The essays in the book explore the transnational crossings and exchanges that occurred in early cinema between the 1910s and 1930s, highlighting the ways in which silent cinema freely crossed national borders and linguistic thresholds. The volume’s emphasis on the “messiness” of film history and its non-linear approach to the subject allows for unexpected political, social, and aesthetic crossings to be examined. This book helps students to understand the global context in which early cinema was produced and how it continues to influence contemporary filmmaking.
  5. A Journey from Script to Screen
    This book by Dr Eeshani Sarswat provides an in-depth analysis of the adaptations of literary classics from script to screen. By examining and comparing the films made from these classics, the book aims to draw individual conclusions about their role in society.
    Each chapter is based on a novel and the corresponding movie, providing a comprehensive overview of the adaptation process. Additionally, the book uses various approaches from English literature, including feminist, formalistic, structural, cultural, moral, historical, post-colonial, and interview methods, to provide a well-rounded understanding of the adaptation process. The book is an essential resource for students looking to understand the relationship between literature and film.

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