Kali: The Archetype of our Times

Contemplating the Dynamic Feminine Through Dance

The Contemplary is delighted to be presenting this unique and fascinating contemplative event.  In this workshop, Padma Menon draws from her lineage in Indian temple dance theatre traditions to recreate spaces of dance contemplation through the archetype of Kali, one of the most powerful deities in Indian philosophy. Through dance vocabulary associated with Kali, she will facilitate contemplative dance practices for participants to ‘feel’ the Kali world.

The Kali space invites us to examine our assumptions of the known and to taste what we consider forbidden. Kali suggests that no experience is to be rejected and dissolves those structures of reality that limit our vision of the creative and fertile unknown.

Many traditional Indian dance theatre traditions were performed originally in temples as part of the ritual and contemplative practices associated with the deities. At the heart of Indian dance theatre is the Rasa theory which is a sophisticated elaboration of the practice of feeling constellations (or Rasas) as spaces of transformation and transcendence. The power of dance contemplation is that we go beyond the mind to experience an expansion of the feeling worlds through the Rasa practice. This creates the possibility for us to connect our individual experiences to larger, archetypal spaces thereby offering us an experiential insight into the Indian philosophical ideal of Brahman or the expanded consciousness space.

The workshop will introduce participants to the physical vocabulary of Kali and also facilitate entering the associated Rasa or feeling constellations inherent in the dance practices.

No previous experience of dance is required and (male and female) participants are invited to engage with the workshop at their own level.

More information about Padma’s approach is at

Indicative Schedule
9.30- 11.00 am Who is Kali? A dance intro.
11.00 am break for morning tea
11.15 am-12.30 pm Selected Yoginis and their dance worlds
12.30- 1.30 pm Lunch
1.30 -3 pm Tasting the Forbidden- dancing the unknown
10.15-11.30 am Kali as a Tantric archetype- the dance of Kamala, Dhumavathi and Bhairavi
11.30 am Morning tea
11.45 am – 1 pm Consolidation session
1- 2 pm Lunch
2- 3 pm Performance of Kali choreography by Padma Menon; Questions and reflections