Published: 05th February 2020
This Telangana dancer did a PhD at UoH on fitness using folk dance. Guess what he found?
Mallesh Edugani has been teaching, researching and performing for more than nine years. He is currently based out of Hyderabad and teaches at a school
There are two focus areas in the life of Mallesh Edugani — dance in fitness and folk dance, in that order. While Telangana folk dances like Lambadi and Koya happened in his own backyard when he was growing up in Errabelli Gudem in Warangal district, he went on to complete his PhD in 'Dance in Fitness Culture — An Experimental Investigation' from Hyderabad Central University. An interest in becoming an actor first drew him to pursue a Master's in Performing Arts, but working in three Bhojpuri movies was enough to change his mind and that’s when his interest towards one particular performing art, dance, grew.
While he learnt the traditional Telangana folk dances himself — primarily by observing its original practitioners out of his own interest — there is no doubt that there aren't too many others who are interested in these classical dance forms. "Participating in village rituals really gave me a great understanding of folk dance forms," he shares.
He has even conducted workshops and taught at summer camps and he jumps at every opportunity he gets to teach folk dance. "Children are interested but only if there is a high-energy or peppy beat involved, which is not always the case," admits Mallesh. So, is there hope for these dance forms, we ask. While the need to concentrate on them is undeniable, he says that certain innovations can help keep it alive. Not just dance forms, even storytelling forms can do with this change, he reasons, "It's better to accept changes than having to accept, one day, the fact that these folk dances are dead."
Mallesh Edugani | (Pic: Mallesh Edugani)
Beyond folk dance, Mallesh's inclination towards understanding the relationship between dance and fitness is what interests him today. "There has been a misconception that dance fitness only means cardio but while dancing, many areas can be improved. When one adds dance to exercise, the output only increases," says the 35-year-old who has also participated in dance shows like Dance Baby Dance on Gemini TV. He has presented a paper on 'Effect of Bharatanatyam and Zumba Dance Fitness as Supplementary to Regular Fitness Activity on the Emotional Wellness of Individuals' at Pondicherry University and one on 'Comparative Effect of Kuchipudi Dance, Zumba Fitness and General Exercise Fitness on Self-awareness' at Kakatiya Medical College in the past. And he hopes that in the future, he can contribute more to this field.
The results emerging from his PhD:
- Creation of a positive environment for the favourable inclusion of dance kinesiology as a curricular subject matter for dance training and dance study programmes
- The results would bring out the importance of scientific physical training for dancers for injury-free and elite performances
- The results would bring out the significant importance of different physical fitness components on the performance of dance and dance training
- The results and opinions of the study would create an amenable atmosphere for exploring the importance of taking the interdisciplinary approach for dance performances and dance training