Pro Dance Series

Towards Grace with Vena Ramphal

Exploring Breath, Presence and the Karanas

"Do you love your Indian dance form but long to express more creativity within it? Do you feel stuck in a repetitive practice? Do you sense the spirituality in your form but feel unsure how to connect to it?

I am passionate about helping Indian classical dancers unlock their creativity without compromising their classical forms. I know many who look at contemporary dancers and think, ‘I wish I had that freedom.’ Well, you do have that freedom!

Creativity is built in to our Indian Dance traditions and Pranayama, the Karanas and introspective work are powerful ways to unlock individual creativity in dancers.

-Vena Ramphal
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5 Weeks
12th April - 10th May 2021

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Sitar - Sanjay Guha

How to deepen your Dance practice?

We will work with the breath, flow and stillness to increase your presence on stage.  

Emotions are energy in motion and are given life in the body through the breath.  The ancient practices of pranayama help us make contact with the spiritual aspect of our activity and leads toward more authentic and embodied presence both on stage and in life. 

This  course will revitalise your connection with your dance on a physical and spiritual level. As we deepen this connection our dance becomes more engaging, bringing greater fulfilment to the dancer and greater nourishment to the audience. 

Extend your Dance Vocabulary

The karanas are the units of dance described in the Natya Shastra. Known for their extraordinary grace they offer a wellspring of creativity for all Indian dance forms.

We will work with unique karana exercises to help you unlock movement and expressive freedom within the classical Indian Dance forms. 
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Body Work

Exploring movements from the 108 karanas will extend movement vocabulary, enhance your choreographic skills and bring more grace to your movements.

Breath Work

We'll focus on pranayama & meditation techniques to enhance your stage presence, become a more engaging performer on stage and online and experience greater joy in dance and in life.

Inner Work

Personal investigation and writing practice will help unlock your natural creativity and a choreographic language unique to you. Dance will become a pathway for your own personal development. 
Lesson series

BONUS: Performance Practice

As your personal reflections begin to inform and inspire new creative work, we will work together within the group to explore how this new inner material and personal dance vocabulary can be developed into short choreographies.

You will have the opportunity to explore your expanding stage presence within a safe and supportive environment and also support others in their creative journey.
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Course Details

Other students who have studied with Vena

I always looked at Contemporary dancers and wished I had their freedom. Delving into the Karanas made me realise I had everything I already needed within my own form. Thank you!
I was stuck in my practice, dancing the same Jathis as I have for years. Vena really helped me find the essence of what I have been trying to express.
I sensed spirituality with dance, but couldn't quite connect to it. Working with the breath has really centered my practice in the here and now.

Is this course for me?

  • This course is ideal for dancers of ANY Indian classical dance form with at least three years of rigorous training. 
  • Ideally you will have learnt some performance pieces and have a strong technical grounding in your own dance style.
  • You do not need to be a professional dancer to benefit from this course. 
  • You are seeking to explore your inner practice and are happy to share what you discover in an informal setting.

Times and Dates

This course will take place via ZOOM on Monday evenings:

1. 12th April 2021 - 18:00 - 19:00 (UK Time)
2. 19th April 2021 - 18:00 - 19:00 (UK Time)
3. 26th April 2021 - 18:00 - 19:00 (UK Time)
4. 3rd May 2021 - 18:00 - 19:00 (UK Time)
5. 10th May 2021 - 18:00 - 19:00 (UK Time)

Sign up Now

Places are limited to 12 participants, so please sign up now to secure your place
Meet the instructor

Vena Ramphal PhD.

Vena Ramphal trained in Bharatanatyam at The Bhavan UK under the stellar guidance of Guru Prakash Yadagudde. She went on to study the karana technique, theory and history under Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam who is renowned for reconstructing the karanas from temple sculptures and the Natya Shastra.

Vena has performed internationally and at leading venues including The Linbury at the Royal Opera House, The Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadlers Wells. She has created dance for screen, including a commission from Channel 4, and choreographed for opera and theatre. Her dance performances are known for their spiritual quality.

Vena continued her exploration of the karanas through her PhD in Philosophy and Dance. She has developed an understanding of the karanas as psycho-somatic flows. She continues to explore the spiritual dimensions of these movements. Her approach is informed by a practice of yoga and meditation which she started aged 10.
Patrick Jones - Course author
Photo Credit: Ben Turner