Activities Archive - 2018

Friday 2nd February 2018

Padma Menon:

"Embodying Archetype:
Indian Dance Theatre Traditions and Philosophy
and their Modern Relevance"

In the west, Carl Jung highlighted the role of archetypes as a framework for analysing our relationship with our life narratives and for self reflection. However, theatre traditions in both eastern and western cultures have. for many centuries,  used archetypal portrayals in deliberate ways to construct relationships between the 'performance' and audience that would lead to specific outcomes on both sides. In the Red Book, Jung's experiments with symbolic and archetypal narratives resonates with some of the traditional ritual theatre traditions from India, especially in the role of symbolic art to express spaces of mystery. The Indian text on theatre, Natya Sastra (1st century BCE to 3rd century CE), has elaborated the Rasa theory which sets out in artistic, psychological and metaphysical terms the ways in which emotional states are embodied in ritual theatre.

The talk will look at the philosophy and dance theatre theory in Indian theatre traditions and how they were sophisticated and rigorous frameworks of contemplative spaces. It will examine the impact of 'aesthetisation' and commercialisation of such practices and some thoughts on how to reclaim these spaces of contemplation in relevant ways in our times. It will also link it to archetypal frameworks espoused by Carl Jung and others such as James Hillman and how these can be complementary to the eastern traditions, especially in recreating these practices in contemporary cultures. 

Padma will demonstrate examples from her project, Moving Archetypes, which uses Indian dance theatre and western dance to create spaces of contemplation using archetypes from all over the world.

Padma Menon has an international career as a choreographer, facilitator, teacher and dance activist. She was one of India’s top classical dancers having trained under legendary Indian choreographers. When she moved to Australia, she led one of Australia’s first contemporary professional multicultural dance companies in the nineties. In 1994 she was awarded Canberra Times Artist of the Year. She then worked in renowned production houses in Europe and also set up a dance centre in India which partnered with human rights organisations to use dance as a tool for activism.

Padma has a post graduate degree in English Literature and post graduate qualifications in Choreography from the Netherlands. Besides classical Indian dance theatre, she has also studied and taught contemporary western dance, Indian martial arts practice of kalaripayattu, yoga and Indian Vedanta philosophy. Currently she is the founder of Moving Archetypes which runs courses in dance as a way of connecting with archetypes from all over the world for contemplation and self reflection.

Canberra Jung Society
is a non-profit organisation,
which aims to provide a contact for people interested in the psychological insights of Carl Gustav Jung.
Through monthly meetings, workshops, other activities and our library,
we seek to help people to understand their own inner journey and the world today –
from a Jungian perspective.

PO Box 554,
Dickson, ACT 2602.

Updated by RJ 2nd February 2018