Some interesting news I read this past week
Bharatanatyam in Pakistan
Iftikhar Masih, 40, whose ‘disco-dancing’ led him to [Indu] Mitha’s class ten years ago, feels that there is little respect for male dancers….relates that during a classical performance, the then director general of PNCA asked the males to remove their ghungroos, which he said were “feminine”.
But [Indu] Mitha’s students share her passion. One such student, Anis-uz-Zamani, 58, whose social circle includes educated people, has received appreciation for her dance. However, being a homemaker is her prime focus. “It is fulfilling to see housewives learn dance for pleasure because it does something for their mind and character that is special,” said Mitha.
An apolitical Mitha remains optimistic. “If it could take England more than 6o years to develop theatre and dance, then there is hope for us as well.”
Well, we too hope things turn out for the better with our neighbors.
Then, there was this news about the dance festival held in Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda, 9th to 11th February, 2013. Sunil Kothari writes
The final lecture was by Ashish Khokar, who screened rare clippings of Bharatanatyam as performed by Saroja, filmed by Ram Gopal in London (I happened to be there with Ram Gopal as he was planning to make a film). It brought tears to my eyes. Saroja’s dance has been captured magically by the cameramen and it shows the purity of her dance, bereft of glamour and speed, and invariably conveys the spiritual quality.
I honestly wish such videos of senior dancers and many more were out in the open for all to see. I don’t understand what’s there to hide, when the same performance would have happened in front of a huge audience. I guess I will have to wait for a looong time to see the tide turning in Arts, specifically dance, for Open Access Publishing and honest citation of work. Sigh!
Bharatanatyam dancer Alarmel Valli’s interview was interesting to read. I guess the big picture of what she says, is something everyone who is jingoistic about Indian culture and values, tradition has to keep in mind.
Many youngsters I have met say they feel a total disconnect from the beauty, colour, power and even the entertaining aspects of classical Indian dance. There are far too many distractions now and the sensationalistic, almost gymnastic approach to dance these days only brings instant gratification, which I feel is increasingly devaluing the pure art forms of the country.
Dance is much more than simple leaps and stretches popularized by the western approach.
I feel the classical arts are steadily being marginalised though. Collectively, we have become so inclined towards technology, science and what the West has to offer that we are losing interest in traditional arts.
We urgently need to sensitise people to our ancient heritage before it’s all lost. I have nothing against what’s infiltrating our culture from the West or even Bollywood, but youngsters need to be grounded in their culture first and then they can grow like a banyan tree wherever they wish
Finally, a dance performance gets a sensational tone “Vyjayanthimala dances for 90 minutes non-stop”. I am wondering if the same reporter witnessed a night long performance of a very famous dancer, then what would the title of the report be? Hmmm…