The Association of American Colleges and Universities has drawn initiatives toensure that every undergraduate student experiences a relevant and challenginggeneral education curriculum. The General Education Curriculum (GEC) is a setof requirements for all students pursuing undergraduate studies. It is an integralpart of the undergraduate curriculum that both complements and supports thestudents’ preparation in their field of specialization and helps students maximizetheir individual potential. Students develop understanding, appreciation, andacceptance of multiple “ways of knowing” (i.e., artistic, literary, philosophical,historical, scientific) through the acquisition, organization, and analysis of specificbodies of knowledge. They are encouraged to acquire aesthetic and appreciativefaculties, to explore and test their own values and ethical frameworks, and todemonstrate sensitivity to diverse perspectives and cultures.Under the purview of the GEC initiative, a college in Ohio offered two courses inOdissi dance to undergraduate students as a part of the World Dance Program,in the Department of Dance for a period of 15 weeks. The parameter of the WorldDance Program is “
to expose students forms beyond American Modern danceand Ballet Students. Because knowledge is culturally contextualized, we believethe body and its physical practices serve as indicators of cultural identity. To thisend it is vital to study not only the physical practice (which is described astechnique class), but also to study the analytical practice which is represented inacademic lectures, discussions and adherence to mainstream theories and methodologies”.
In sync with this objective, one of the courses offered studentsthe experience of the Odissi technique. The second course led students toinvestigate the historical, aesthetic, religious, social, political, economic andecological foundations and accomplishments of Indian culture through its danceforms, both classical and folk. The investigation occurred alongside the study andexperience of the Odissi dance technique.