CreativeSaathi parentsaathi

Imitate, Repeat, Memorize

A Journey to Bharat through Natya – 1

View the video below. It is in Tamil but anyone can watch the movement! It is the Tamil version of If you are happy and you know it… It is created by RASA. How do children learn these movements? While the video shows the end-product and the learning process, I see three key components in learning movement and dance:

  • Imitation is important for learning purposeful movement. Imitation is the first step to learning. Read the article by Simmi Vasu here.
  • Repetition is another important step in learning. While we don’t pay much attention to the role of repetition, Ananth’s Bharatanatyam experience made me tune into the importance of repetition as an important tool for learning.
  • Memorization is yet another tool for learning that does not receive enough attention in these days. The focus is on innovation and creativity. However, we cannot be very creative if have not mastered the basics! Fluency is needed for creativity.

As a professor for over 30 years, I have seldom had conversations on imitation, repetition, or memorization! In today’s classroom. A lot must be learned quickly. Imitation, repetition, and memorization are slow processes. A journey to Bharat through natya is not just Ananth’s journey. It is my journey too. I have reconnected with many processes that may not be in fashion today but seem as important for learning today as when we were growing up.

Join us for a conversation on the role of imitation, repetition, and memorization in the Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) approach in our 100-Day Theater Lab on Facebook here.

While I didn’t the imitate, repeat, and memorize process in action for the above video, I got a chance to observe it closely during RASA Day 2022 practice.

Simmi Vasu identifies the following types of imitation:
Gross motor
Fine motor
Doing actions with objects

Which of these types of imitation is needed for doing the activities in the two videos shared today?


Thanks to Dr. Ambika Kameshwar and Dr. Vaishnavi Poorna for sharing resources for this blog post. I was mentioning how I played If you are happy and you know it with our one year old grandson. I also mentioned that I see If you are happy and you know it as TAHD. They said that they had created a video to make this point and the idea for this blog post took shape!

Creative artwork by Vinayak Raj

The artwork for this blogpost is done by a talented little CreativeSaathi associate Vinayak Raj of 12 years from Greater Noida.

Author– Dr.Dasaratha Rama