Bharatanatyam: “maintaining a competitive edge”! Bharata natyam dancer Harinie Jeevitha and the Natya Shastra’s karana’s. Is Bharatnatyam a classical Indian dance or folk? Bharathanatyam in Chennai

Bharatanatyam styles: winning the war for the spectators’ attention? The competition in the Bharata natyam field reaching its heights.

Bharatanatyam
bharatanatyam
Bharatanatyam

In the past 10 months as many as 85 (!) visitors to my blog bombarded me with their messages, writings, links and requests to post articles on various upcoming Bharata natyam dancers of the younger generation. As most of these visitors asked about Harinie Jeevitha , we decided to dedicate some space to this famous teenage virtuoso who not only reached the heights of popularity among Chennai rasikas and Bharatnatyam dancers but became ubiquitous on the Internet – even more than Medha Hari. Apart from various blogs mentioning Harinie, such as this one, Narthaki.com recently published another review of her recital (there was one last year) which we will quote and comment upon first. Following Sangeetha’s example who prefers simply to re-post what she finds elsewhere…
Well, tomorrow, we will add more comments and try to find out what makes her so successful.

Review from Narthaki.com:

Why do most dancers performing in early January see nearly empty auditoriums? The 7th of January offered 11 dance programs (apart from quite a few music concerts) taking place at the same time. There were solo Bharatanatyam recitals by Malini Srinivasan, Priya Venkatraman, Suma Mani, Shradha Balu, a ballet by students of Ranganayaki Jayaraman, a group performance by students of Parvathy Mohan, another by the students of Swaralaya, yet another by dancers of Bharata Kalanjali, a Kuchipudi recital by Deepika Reddy and
an Odissi performance by Sujata Mohapatra. The 11th dance program was a Bharatanatyam solo that, surprisingly, attracted over 150 rasikas to Rama Rao Kala Mandapam who came to watch a recital by Harinie Jeevitha, a student of S.U..

Whenever any big Bharatanatyam school’s best dancer is performing, the hall is never half empty. What is surprising about it? Some rasikas who went there told us that there were just a dozen of foreigners.

Bharatanatyam

Harinie’s opening item, Ganesha Kautuvam in ragam natai and adi talam, was full of refined sculpturesque poses, intricate movements and high jumps that her supple body performed with ease, delineating each curve and bend with precision. While many dancers hardly lift their heels or hardly lift their feet while doing fast steps, Harinie’s feet moved fully and sharply, making her salangai produce a variety of sounds.

The next item was Annamacharya’s kirtanam “Vande Vasudevan” in sri ragam and kanda chapu talam, where Harinie’s expressions brought out the depth of bhakti and the devotee’s perceptions of the Lord. Varnam “Aadal Nayagam” composed by Madurai R. Muralidharan in kalyani ragam and adi talam, was full of difficult adavus where Harinie accentuated each beat with sharp movements of her chin and her eyes. Each jathi was choreographed in a distinct manner.

Srinidhi sent in her comments:
If many say that Madurai R. Muralidharan has reached the bottom of his career, it is because of the primitive music and very poor lyrics of pieces like Aadal Nayagam. Incessant repetitions and paucity of substance make it even worse! Why should good musicians and dancers try to salvage his poor compositions?

Bharatanatyam

The varnam had a lot of surprises for the spectators in its complex and
fast nritta passages that contained a large number of the most difficult karanas. “The karanas are here not merely for a spectacular aesthetic effect,” commented S.U., “they are here to evoke the spirit of Nataraja.”

As you could read in our previous posts on the karanas, they also mark the difference between the folkish Bharatanatyam and the classical (Natya Shastra-based) Bharatanatyam. The biggest challenge a choreographer may face is the use of the karanas in a Bharatanatyam piece, therefore most gurus just don’t bother.


vrscikarecitam

vrscikarecitam

vrscikarecitam

After all, even Padma Subrahmaniam made many mistakes, one of which was promoting herself instead of promoting her best students who could perform the karanas far better than Padma. Janaki Rangarajan did appear a few times in Padma’s Karana Prakaranam DVD – to illustrate a few most difficult karanas.

Another, Karana Viniyoga Mallika DVD failed miserably in this regard too, as the late Sundari Santhanam could not perform any karanas fully and gracefully, and did not let her best students do more than 40% of the demonstrations. Shouldn’t the art be treated as something greater than some “senior” dancer’s personal vanity?

karana

99% of the Bharatanatyam students are totally incapable of performing the more demanding karanas, so why torture the poor students?


Padma Subrahmaniam writes, “The Nritta Karanas can be broadly classified as those pertaining to graceful dance, those meant for acrobatic display, and others for buffoons”. Can acrobatic karanas can be performed gracefully? Of course: only if you are in top shape!

Padma Subrahmaniam‘s disgraceful  “demonstration” (which looks more like madcap buffoonery) of Vrscikakuttitam in the 3rd volume of her book is of course the proof of her poor judgement and the miserable state of her body. It is the explanation of why she is not particularly popular among the Bharatanatyam dancers – and the DMK politicians who recently took back from her the land Ms.Jayalalitha (K.J.Sarasa’s student) gave her.

Perhaps Lord Nataraja himself through Mr.Karunanidhi’s action was laughing at Padma Subrahmaniam, showing that dancers do not need to waste their time on useless political and social activities.

Bharatanatyam

These fast changing difficult poses and acrobatic karanas require extraordinary balance and raised a storm of applause every time they were seen. However Harinie should polish some passages before presenting them on the stage, as freezing in a difficult static pose right in the middle of a very fast paced passage is a tremendous challenge to any dancer.

Speaking of karanas, surprisingly, the YouTube video gives the impression that S.U. has succeeded in choreographing and Harinie Jeevitha in handling the karanas in a harmonious and organic fashion indeed. S.U. did not repeat Sundari Santhanam’s mistake: instead of dancing herself, she let Harinie Jeevitha do it!🙂

The theermanams themselves contained only 3 steps, much fewer than the average, much to the delight of those rasikas who cannot digest the ornamentalism of Shobana’s overstretched 20-step-long theermanams. Actually, Aadal Nayagam’s theermanams themselves did not end in the customary manner but with a brief scuplturesque sequence of nritta.

bharatanatyam
Bharatanatyam

Papanasam Sivan’s “Ka Va Va” in varali ragam and adi talam was the fourth item. It began – and ended too – with portraying a devotee eagerly waiting for the Lord to appear. It was a pleasant surprise to see such a young dancer convey the spiritual significance of such spiritually significant passages faithfully. Harinie’s abhinaya, with a rich palette of bhavas, was candid and touching. She was the very embodiment of Shiva’s nature in the scene of Shiva burning Manmadan. Her long fingers lent an exquisite artistic touch to each “plain” action.

While Harinie was portraying a devotee pleading with the Lord, each repetition of the same line brought about a visibly different variation in her abhinaya. Some passages were performed with a childlike abandon and innocence, which was particularly handy while portraying delicate coyness. Such uninhibited abhinaya has the power to convince and move the spectators’ hearts and minds. She was masterful at drishya bhedas, her eyelids impeccably following the tune and the rhythm. She moved smoothly and effortlessly between the semi-standing to sitting positions, without any unnecessary moves.

Bharatanatyam
Bharatanatyam

The concluding item was Dr. M Balamuralikrishna’s thillana in Kathanakuthukalam ragam. It was full of complex nritta and sculpturesque poses. Harinie’s long and
flexible fingers assumed the impeccable nritta hasthas at the right moments. Her mukha abhinaya was in harmony with the movements of her limbs, her face sparkling with myriad harmonious and spontaneous expressions. The thillana ended with a “trademark” pose characteristic of the dancers of SN. One of the rasikas, Bharatanatyam dancer Anita Sivaraman (granddaughter of Papanasam Sivan), concluded, “Harinie is obviously an extremely talented dancer.”

Quoting another, earlier review (seen in a few places already):

A recent Bharatanatyam recital by Harinie Jeevitha was attended by the rasikas filling a third of the Narada Gana Sabha’s Mini Hall in Chennai. The recital, organized by Kartik Fine Arts, who are noted for their efforts in picking up the young Bharatanatyam talents.

The items in this Bharata natyam recital

The invocatory item was in ragam Amrita Varshini and Adi talam. Harinie’s long and flexible fingers assumed the impeccable nritta hasthas at the right moments, lending the jathis the additional charm. Harinie’s mukha abhinaya was attuned to the movements of her limbs, her beautiful face sparkling with a myriad of harmonious and spontaneous expressions of the exuberant danseuse. Harinie’s nritta and nritya were full of refined sculpturesque poses and movements that her supple body assumed with ease, delineating each curve and bend with a high precision.

Bharatanatyam
Bharatanatyam

One peculiar movement, resembling a chari in Padma Subrahmaniam’s interpretation but with a higher amplitude, was the sideway swing of the outstretched leg in a graceful manner. This peculiar move left some viewers wondering how many dancers would be able to perform it as gracefully, highlighting the visual beauty of Bharatanatyam.
Harinie was fast and neat in executing the pirouettes, lifting high her knee sideways. Sitting in araimandi in a Vinayaka pose, she was able to jump forward and backward effortlessly and keeping good balance, something that few dancers are capable of doing nowadays.

Bharatanatyam

Professional dance photographers, who complain they usually have to discard most of the photos they take as “not quite beautiful”, would quickly notice one unique point about Harinie: it would be very hard to find a bad photo of hers.

Photos are always a problem for 99% of Bharatanatyam dancers!
Dominique Mong-Hune, while explaining why Priyadarsini Govind’s posters wisely use the spectacular photos of other schools’ dancers (actually, not just Priya but many Bharatanatyam schools worldwide),
wrote here:

“No need for her to compare to a young “prodigy” of SN who has still years to mature her already perfect technique”

Perhaps he used “to mature” as a euphonism to “grow old”! If the technique is “perfect” (well, who is perfect?), it’s fine. As for “maturity”, if it means “adequacy” or “accuracy” in the presentation, some children understand the deeper, spiritual things and express them in a far more genuine, spontaneous, pure and natural way than all the thousands of “mature” dancers who can express adequately only the ordinary human experiences and who appear vulgar parodist when they attempt to express the spiritual things.

Bharatanatyam
Bharatanatyam

The varnam Sakiye by Tanjor Quarted in Ananda Bhairavi ragam followed. It was in Adi talam too, just as the rest of the items. Harinie commenced it with a series of difficult adavus, accentuating each beat with sharp movements of her chin and her eyes. The circular torso movements immediately preceeding the theermanams were performed with a larger amplitude than usual, which underlined the agile danseuse’s skill. However, the theermanams themselves contained only 3 steps, much fewer than the average, much to the delight of those rasikas who cannot digest the ornamentalism of Shobana’s overstretched 20-step-long theermanams.

After the first jathi was over, one regular rasikas noted that, although the vocalist sang a “pidi”, a more complex pattern not normally used for a Bharatanatyam accompaniment, Harinie was nevertheless able to follow the undulating tune effortlessly and faithfully, which also highlighted the responsiveness of her mobile and agile limbs to the music. When asked what helps her in perfecting laya, Harinie said that it was to her vocal classes.

That’s an interesting point about “pidi”. If I understand it right, it denotes a sliding manner of vocal music when the vocalist dwells in the microtones area, the “notes between the notes”, much longer than normal. If it is already a great feat to make one’s body responsive to each note, how much harder is it to make it react to the microtones!

While Harinie was portraying a devotee pleading with the Lord, each repetition of the same line brought about a visibly different variation in her abhinaya. The passages like “please bring it to me immediately” were done with a childlike abandon and innocence, which was particularly handy while portraying delicate coyness. Such uninhibited abhinaya has the power to convince and move the spectators’ hearts and minds.

Bharatanatyam

Harinie was masterful at drishya bhedas, her eyelids impeccably following the tune and the rhythm. She moved smoothly and effortlessly between the semi-standing to sitting positions, without any unnecessary moves.

The second jathis in her Bharatanatyam recital made a friend of mine wonder if it was borrowed – almost in its entirety – from another varnam of S.U.. As it turned out to be, it was indeed taken from varnam Senthil Mevum, which raises the question whether a choreographer can simply recycle entire sets of jathis and re-use them again and again, even if they have proved to be a big hit.

One could not help observing that Harinie’s jathis perhaps needed a larger space than the 10-feet-wide stage of the mini hall. Harinie was elegant and refined in every move, whether she was taking rose water or grinding the sandal paste, her fingers lending an exquisite artistic touch to each “plain” action, although her renderings here were certainly not as elaborately perfect in this regard as Alarmel Valli’s. However, Harinie’s depiction of the mischievous Krishna, for instance, or the mood fluctuations from grief and back to joy were rendered smoothly and masterfully.

Bharatanatyam

The third item was a padam by Uttukadu Venkata Kavi in ragamalika. Here, the danseuse masterfully, and somewhat playfully, portrayed the contrast between Murugan’s 12 hand versus the devotee’s 2. Harinie’s long and mobile neck moved very gracefully, along with the opening and the closing of her eyelids, in the depiction of the peacock. She was elegant in her detached portrayal of the evil powers in the episode that says, “As long as Muguran is with me, no evil can harm me”. Harinie’s abhinaya in “I have only 2 hands to receive your blessings, while you have 12” was very overwhelmingly candid and touching, almost materialising the images of the scene. In this scene Harinie’s childlike disappointent with the received gifts was charming and brought a smile on the rasikas’ faces, just as in another scene, when she was contrasting Murugan’s greatness with the devotee’s smallness. It was a surprise to see such a young dancer to be so mature as to convey the spiritual significance of such passages faithfully.

The fourth item was a thillana by Dr.M.Balamuralikrishna in Kathanakuthukalam ragam. It was choreographed in a very original way and performed in even more original manner, fully of complex nritta and rare sculpturesque poses. It ended with a “trademark” pose characteristic of the dancers of SN.

Bharatanatyam
Bharatanatyam

Scope for further improvement

While Harinie was certainly very impressive in her recital, a trained eye could see that there are of course some areas she should pay more attention to. So, for instance, while her pirouettes maintained a vertical axis in the fast movement, she had some difficulty maintaining the balance in the slow turnarounds. Freezing suddenly in an absolutely static pose in the middle of a very fast-paced thillana is a tremendous challenge to any dancer.

Can we expect the araimandi level to be very steady, and not undulating, even when the dancer gets somewhat tired after dancing for 40-50 minutes continuously? Another question is, can we, or rather should we, expect a 13-year-old tender and delicate girl to be able to realistically portray a demon or a warrior, considering the fact that, typically, a danseuse who has achieved mastery in the tandavas is no longer capable of rendering the delicate lasyas?

Bharatanatyam

The dancers can and should learn by watching other dancers’ performances too. Had Harinie stayed in the hall after finishing her slot and watched the next dancer’s recital, she could have learnt that mastering a wide range of tempos is far easier to achieve than mastering a wide range of accelerations and decelerations, which becomes very prominent particularly in rendering different varieties of lasya.

New avenues?

One of the rasikas observed that the spectators too should be praised for braving Chennai’s traffic during the rush hours. “It takes the same time to go from Tambaram to Alwarpet as it takes from Toronto to Detroit, one rasikas complained. In such a situation, it is no wonder that more and more spectators prefer to watch Bharatanatyam recitals – as well as competitions – on TV.

The Bharatanatyam TV competitions conducted by Jaya TV and Doordarshan are increasingly popular, and it is no wonder the Harinie won the first prizes there too.

YouTube has this one to offer:

Neither live programmes nor television can stand comparison with the emerging medium of the Internet.
We were surprised to hear Harinie’s proud classmates revealing that her Internet videos receive lakhs of views per year.

Bharatanatyam

The 11-year-old child prodigy’s arangetram video became the most-watched Bharata natyam videos on the Web. With 400000 views (twice as many as Malavika Sarukkai’s) on YouTube alone, this Bharatanatyam video became a truly viral one:

The 13-year-old Harinie is probably one of the best-known junior dancers of today, with a large and impressive collection of Bharatanatyam prizes and awards. Apart from the prizes at competitions held in Chennai, she easily wins the first prizes in the all-India level competitions in Mumbai, Hyderabad or Bangalore too.

The orchestra

Nagai Narayanan (mridangam), a wel-known percussive expert, provided, along with S.U.’s nattuvangam, a firm guidance for Harinie’s steps and abhinaya. The other members of the orchestra included the vocalist Rajeshwari Kumar, who had a hard time struggling with a faulty mike provided by Narada Gana Sabha. Ramesh on the flute and Muruganandan on the violin were accurate and professional in their approach.

27 thoughts on “Bharatanatyam: “maintaining a competitive edge”! Bharata natyam dancer Harinie Jeevitha and the Natya Shastra’s karana’s. Is Bharatnatyam a classical Indian dance or folk? Bharathanatyam in Chennai

  1. I read all ur posts.. You are very knowledgeable abt bharathanatyam.. No doubt at all!… But i agree with u in a few things and disagree in many.. and i also find that u r partial to dancers from SN.. What do u have to say about their baani?? As u have already mentioned in one of your earlier posts, they perform bharathanatyam with a lot of influences from Kuchipudi style. They claim theirs to be melattur baani.. And revathy ramachandran’s is also Melattur. I don’t find any resemblance in their styles of dancing. Can u tell us more about this style? and if dancers from SN are doing justice in calling their baani as Melattur?

  2. First of all, Madhana, I am partial to dancers who explore the Natya Shastra, and, as you see, the karanas in particular. I am less and less interested in the folkish Bharatanatyam styles.

    Secondly, their baani originated from Melattur Bhagavata Mela that, incidentally, bears very strong resemblance to Kuchipudi. But then, which Kuchipudi? Vempati’s Kuchipudi has little to do with the Hyderabad folkish Kuchipudi: he studied Natya Shastra too much and added even karanas into his “Kuchipudi”.🙂

    Curiously, Revathi Ramachandran too used to be known as a Kuchipudi dancer in Vempati’s school. Yet she believes her style is currently the most faithful reproduction of Mangudi Dorairaja Iyer’s interpretation of the Melattur style. However, Revathi so far has not ventured outside the boundaries set by Mangudi – almost 100 years ago. Revathi experiments mainly with the jathis, the rhythms, and she has been very successful in that area. Probably even more than Rajeshwari Sainath.

    The SN dancers, despite of what they claim on their web site, do not have any idea of what is Suddha Nrittam, and have so far not demonstrated a great creativity and sophistication in the jathis area. Unlike Revathi’s students who are at least supposed to make use of their salangai to emphasise the tala, the SN dancers stamp their feet hard just as any Kalakshetra dancer would – the practice that usually results in foot problems afterwards. They do not fully make use of the attamis, either (Mangudi’s style uses them more, but not as much as in Mohiniattam, of course). Yet the other aspects of their nritta are extremely sophisticated, and the overall choreography is outstanding. They seem to be moving in the direction towards re-discovering the Natya Shastra’s techniques – and its spirit (and that’s what I like!).

    In the abhinaya area, the SN dancers have remarkably different, individual interpretations (which is probably due to the liberal laissez-faire approach of the guru). Analyze their sancharis, for instance. By the way, the SN dancers do not really bother about Mangudi’s precepts: unlike Revathi’s students, they perform even the Thanjavur Quartette songs which lyrics contain the glorifications of some dead kings or patrons. Mangudi, unlike 99% of the modern “Bharatanatyam” dancers, believed that a true poet cannot get the divine inspiration merely to write the lyrics to please some customers like the political VIP’s or financial donors who order varnams like pizzas. Can you imagine things like Rahul Gandhi ordering a varnam for Rs.100000 from rishi Narada???? Would Narada even bother to notice Rahul Gandhi??? For Narada, Rahul Gandhi is like a piece of old paper lying in the ditch among the other garbage. Ok, enough of that.

    To be honest, I do not believe that Harinie Jeevitha’s mukha abhinaya is very good in many passages that require softer and slower expressions – she is yet to learn these. She has a tendency to do most movements (90% of them?) with a greater amplitude than other dancers. Wait a bit, I don’t remember seeing ANY other dancer who would put so much force into each movement (this is not always appropriate, of course, but how can we tell her to learn a bit of Mohiniattam?🙂 You can ask what kind of Melattur style she dances if she lifts her heels fully (just as in the Kalakshetra style) while doing the steps. And she moves her shoulders sideways fully too – again an obvious borrowing from the Kalakshetra.

    Since Madhana Raghavan did that review (“Andal ballet strikes right chord “) on Anita Guha’s students, he probably knows that they too borrowed these two (and many other elements) from the Kalakshetra. Oh, I heard that even the adavus teacher at Bharathanjali is a Kalakshetra dancer, so what about their “baani”? Seriously speaking, Aishwarya Narayanaswamy’s range of abhinaya is very limited and bland. Take a magnifying glass and compare it with Janani Sethunarayanan’s. Will you find any difference? None. Frankly speaking, I dislike all that mimicry, theatricality and superficiality. But, then, how can Madhana Raghavan discern it if he wrote about Lavanya Ananth’s “wonderful handling of the varnam and the abhinaya-oriented pieces” without noticing Lavanya’s horrible wry smiles😉 (you must be blind not to notice that the left corner of her mouth goes up much higher and totally disfigures her face!). I bet Madhana was sitting in the back row in Narada Gana Sabha that day!!!!😉 Darling, can you tell me what kind of smile we see on http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_lcP2rozIAc4/SUVaZvl6xwI/AAAAAAAAAXA/FHL6LVN5exU/S220/madhan1.jpg ???😉 Need a microscope??? Ok, ok, I will stop talking about Lavanya and Madhana.

    Of course, there is not a single Bharatanatyam school who has preserved an exact replica of their official “baani” style. There is hardly much in common between Amuda Dandayudapani’s and Chitra Visweswaran’s “Vazhuvoor” styles. “Baani” is now hardly anything more than just a fake label! 🙂 Don’t take all that labeling too seriously: it is used only for political purposes.🙂

    Personally, I welcome borrowings as long as it looks…… hmmmmm….. nice. But when the Bharatanatyam dancers (like Chitra Visweswaran) borrow from the English ballet, it does not look nice at all. Sorry. I don’t care about baanis. I don’t care about Bharatanatyam. Or about Kuchipudi. I care more about the dance that Shiva taught to Tandu and Bharata Muni. This kind of dance is about the spiritual. It’s not about entertaining drunk British farmers in London.

  3. im really Glad to know that a person like u has read my reviews and my blog too! Thanks for throwing light on the melattur baani.. I always tried to learn abt it but didnt get much info.
    Yeah i did notice.. students of Bharathanjali do have kalakshetra influences.. their kita thaka tharikita thom adavu particularly..
    I sat in the third row during Lavanya’s performance that day! Will keenly note her smile from next time n let u know. And will myself try to improve my smile!😦
    I just want to know this.. who in your opinion is a perfect Bharathanatyam dancer??

  4. a perfect Bharathanatyam dancer?????????????
    You must be joking!!!!!!!😉

    We can speak of who is currently the best dancer in a particular school… We can talk about, say, 20 dancers (I can send you the list) who excel in one or two or more ways (there maybe even 100 if you define the parameters narrowly).

    For example, a broadly defined physical parameter could be “How rich is this dancer’s mukha abhinaya in terms of variety of expressions?” A narrowly defined parameter could be “How many eyebrow positions does this dancer use?” A broadly defined vital parameter could be “How powerful an emotional field does this dancer generate”? A broadly defined mental parameter could be “How well does this dancer focus?” The emotional field and the mental concentration can actually be measured by sensitive physical equipment, but it cannot measure the spiritual parameters or even the aesthetic parameters (“How graceful is this dancer?”).

    Now, tell me, is there any area of Bharatanatyam where, for example, Lavanya is currently the absolute champion?🙂

    There is not a single dancer who is better than all the other dancers in ALL ways. This is the limitation of our human nature.

    Not just of the human nature but of the celestials’ nature too. Brahma created “partially defective” 26 apsaras: each of them is superior to all the other apsaras in some way or other. The denizens of the higher worlds like Mahat (Mahadevas) are not limited so much, but they too fall short of the Infinite….

    So…. Nataraja is the perfect – flawless all-rounder – Bharathanatyam dancer!🙂

    I could perhaps find fault even with Tandu!🙂

    By the way, it would be foolish to try to improve one’s smile looking in the mirror. Don’t try to be an American. Instead, try to put your mind in a harmonious (balanced) state and your face will reflect it in a harmonious expression.

  5. dear bharatanatyam,
    i totally agree with u regarding harinee’s talents. but i still dont understand why u are so impressed with manaswini.

    one more thing u shud understand-there are people who think different and make way for others. they might not be perfect in what they do, but treading the path they create others become perfect because, they lose much of their youth creating that path. iam not saying that padma subramaniam is the one who discovered karanas, but one cannot ignore her work iin that department and the popularity and study she gave to us.

  6. I will not argue with you: of course, Harinie is far better in the overall performance.🙂
    But why should I only write about about those dancers who are- overall – the best ones? As you could see in my blog, I prefer to write (positively) about those dancers who are extraordinary in some way or other, regardless of their overall performance. Manaswini’s footwork is something that you should see, and appreciate her extraordinary grasp on rhythms, and the energy she irradiates.

    Secondly, I am immensely grateful to Padma for the raising the public interest in the karanas and the Natya Shastra, and I appreciate her efforts in gathering the raw data, and even her attempts at the interpretation of this data, and her perseverance. Yes, we understand that she is far from being perfect, and her work is far from flawless.

    Well, as far as dedication goes, dedication to what? If she were really dedicated, she would not charge a minimum of Rs.25000 to briefly appear as a chief guest at some dancer’s performance and deliver a speach – regardless of how good the dancer is. I understand that she thinks she needs money for that ambitious temple project (Mallika could be the chief priest-proprietor there, along with Ms.Jayalalitha), but it does not condone her poriki “fundraising practices”: to fleece all the poor students and teachers of the Padma Seshadri schools by forcing them to pay a mandatory Rs.100 “donation” does not earn her any respect , only condemnation. Only politicians do the things like that.

    It is funny that the politicians and government bureaucrats recently seized control even of the great Chidambaram temple. The dikshitars could not use their powerful mystic mantras to turn all those government bureaucrats into rats. No, the dikshitars nowadays are themselves not much different from rats. The question is, why do rats need a temple? If the White House decided to nationalize all the big churches in the US and appoint all the priests, it would raise some questions -or protests. In India, we are wiser: we know that priests are just rats anyway – in Kali Yuga. If they want a temple, first they have to stop being rats. Otherwise, if every rat gets an ambition to build and administer a temple, there will surely be a shortage of funds.🙂

    To say that “they lose much of their youth creating that path” has nothing to do with the fact that the middle-age dancers (who have children!) like Rajeshwari Sainath or even Priyadarshini Govind manage to stay in a quite a good shape (much better than Padma was in at that age) and not publicly attemp to do the things they are not fit to do, and don’t make a laughing stock out of themselves. Wisely, most of the more challenging dancing in the so-called “Priyadarshini Govind’s” DVD was done by the younger dancers who were mostly fit to perform that choreography quite well. There is no need to make a laughing stock out of yourself.

    I think it is a shame that some 70-year-old devadasis still surviving here and there manage to perform all the 108 karanas very well. If Padma did not let them to demonstrate these karanas for the photos and for the Doordarshan… So much of ridiculous self-admiration and fame-seeking!🙂 Even Nataraja turned his eyes away from her.

  7. I noticed how you do not like kalakshetra style wherever you can. I dont blame you. I learnt from a mysore+vazhuvoor+kuchipudi style until i was in 12th and then changed to kalakshetra style. I do not regret the decision. But yes, whenever i choreograph i like to add a little more karnas and sancharis to the song than a proper kalakshetra student would. I especially am not a big fan of kalakshetra’s Bho Shambho…I think at least in dances of Lord Shiva where there is ample space and more importantly necessity of karnas to depict the mood, they should be followed. But again, personally i do not favour bharatnrithyam and any sort of waist twisting or bulging out at every possible sahitya in the name of laasya heavy choreography.

    I think what i am trying to say is, Kalakshetra is not necessarily “dry”. Removing unnnecessary body movements, by unnnecesary i mean something that naturally does not come to you….Natyashastra also talks of rekhas in a dancer..control is a necessary element in any dance including bharatnatyam…movements which unnecesarily fluidise the moment (much like Anirudhdha Knight’s embarrassing performance to which i invited my professor! Ahhhh!….i wanted to die in my seat that day) take grace away from the dancer…and it is important to realise (I did) that as a dancer, you tend to add things to the dance unconsciously….like when changing hastas, twisting the wrists in a beautiful, yet unnecesary way…like when keeping your wrists on waist, taking it from in a “style” from the end of teermanam….you tend to do it because u are caught up with the idea of a beautiful you…dancing beautifully…..a lot of this unexplained style can be seen in a lot of dancers….which is a major reason why nobody has been able to keep up the purity of a baani….like alarmel valli….she is inimitable…because all those things she does within finishing a jathi….are not something she can explain and transfer down to a student….it is more or less (in urdu) the “nakhre” of the dancer…the glance when she walks, the tilt of head…completely not needed if we were to go by classical definition of bharatanatyam…nowhere in natyashastra so they talk to redundant movements…and like any other form of dancing, if technique needs to be defined…it has to be what is necessary to be done in a dance….this is w.r.t. Nritta…Abhinaya is upto personal choices and even the distance at which the audience sits and whether it is a refined or a lay audience….

    The point is if you were to put 10 vazhuvoor dancers together and ask them to perform a jathi…they would look very different….but if u would put 10 kalakshetra dancers together (not the ones which are deadpan in expression, but good ones) they would be in complete sync…not onely in their taalams, but in their angashudhdhi as well….

    This having said, i am not propagating kalakshetra or trying to oppose any other style….as i said, people shoudl use their own judgement in deciding what is best for them…but i do believe that every baani has evoloved for a reason…and some will survive and some will not…the reason u cannot point at one person and say he is the authority in this baani (other than kalalshetra) is because they lacked definition to start with.

    I would also like to comment that kalakshetra might look simple because there are not many redundant movements and its bare and minimal…but it is not “simple” choreography wise…..The use of interesting teermanams, nadais and jaathis in something as simple as a aadi taalam jathi can be realised if one sits down and tries to write them like a geetham or a varnam book in music. And it is a great challenge to be able to understand as to why the choreography is the way it is rather than memorise them and do them. (Like why does the teermanam end with a 6 maatra adavu in a tishram based korvai)

    I think there is space and time for every baani…to exist and flourish…we should remember that dance is an “aesthetic” art form….the end destination might be spirituality but the means is beauty and grace and there is no excuse for disrespecting a rasika and doing ugly looking things on stage…….at the same time…respect the knowledge of our pioneers of different baani and try to understand the variations and sense what suits your idea of getting exhilarated in dance…

  8. bharatnrithyam and any sort of waist twisting or bulging out at every possible sahitya

    If those bharatnrithyam dancers did not know how to choreograph it properly and perform gracefully, it does not mean that ALL the other dancers would fail too.
    If “something that naturally does not come to you”, it does not mean that everybody else’s case will be the same. (Do at least the stretches, my dear!🙂

    but if u would put 10 kalakshetra dancers together (not the ones which are deadpan in expression, but good ones) they would be in complete sync…

    Exactly so! Because kalakshetra was meant for group dance, so they standardized and simplified everything. If they didn’t, there would be no way to achieve such complete sync! What I do appreciate in Kalakshetra is that they indeed make many movements (e.g. lift their heels fully) with a full amplitude and sharpness.

    it is a great challenge to be able to understand as to why the choreography is the way it is

    Great choreography should be instantly undertood by an average rasika. Poor (mentally over-sophisticated, artsy and rationally overloaded) choreography will fail sooner or later. You can draw a cat with 378 intertwined tails, but who will want to study your drawing?????

    twisting the wrists in a beautiful, yet unnecesary way…

    If it is inappropriate in a particular passage, it is one thing. If it is just the Kalakshetra’s (Anna Pavlova’s) influence in your perception, it means you need to take a tour of the South Indian temples and cure yourself.
    Of course, every ballet dancer can – as Ruknini Devi did – learn a bit of Bharatanatyam in 3 years’ time and “invent” a new style.

    nowhere in natyashastra so they talk to redundant movements…

    Natyashastra is just a concise treatise, – you cannot expect it to specify all possible elaborations of a movement! It is impossible, as the sophistication of even the simplest movement can go infinitely deeper and deeper…

    I think there is space and time for every baani

    Yes, some will naturally die out, some will evolve and survive…

  9. Hello everyone this question is totally not related to the thread…………….

    how do you feel about male bharatanatyam dancers? My best friends brother was bullied like no tommorow because he was a bharatanatyam dancer. he lives in the states so the stigma does exist. Now he suffers from depression and has become very weak and refuses to dance again.. franlly i believe that you should not give up something just because the people around you dont aprove… Look at rukmini devi arundale for example if she hadnt rebelled against society kalakshetra would never have been formed… So what are your views on bharatanatyam male dancers? should they be encouraged or not? what about the sabhas perferinmg females over males (does this mean that the bharatanatyam has connections to womanization)? personally im not a bharatanatyam dancer but im interested in watching it… and learning about it.🙂

    eagerly awaiting your reply

  10. The male bharatanatyam dancers are much sought-after. Male dancers always receive preferential treatment everywhere, even though the standard of their dance training is much lower than women’s.

    I am surprised that your brother is stigmatized in the… USA! Of course, in the USA it is much harder to survive on dance alone, so unless he is really professional, he can dance at home.

    He suffers from depression because he sold himself into the American economic slavery. Tell him to commit a suicide.😦 Or at least to have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_National_Happiness

    Rukmini Devi Arundale, despite being supported by her highly influential “husband”, could not rebel against society: to please the Brahmin caste, she created the Kalakshetra style by removing all the essential elements from Bharatanatyam, basically by killing it.

  11. “Exactly so! Because kalakshetra was meant for group dance, so they standardized and simplified everything. If they didn’t, there would be no way to achieve such complete sync!”

    Being in sync only means that the Guru knows exactly what needs to be done.And that is the serious drawback of all baanis other than kalakshetra ! They have no definitions and groundings in what is what? How will they transmit knowledge faithfully down generations if every body does anything without definitions?

    Here is an example of a Guru who tells all her students exactly what is to be done..btw 0.46 is also borrowed from kalakshetra.

    What was the allegation agaisnt valli’s student? they reproduce even the flutter of the eyelids…You want to see reproduction of everything from movement of chin to shrugging shoulders…helo SN!
    “In the abhinaya area, the SN dancers have remarkably different, individual interpretations (which is probably due to the liberal laissez-faire approach of the guru). Analyze their sancharis, for instance.” ha ha..

    from 1:00 in both videos

    The only conclusion i have from my analysis is that harienie doesnt know she shouldnt smile when doing yagnam and the other kid does. The Guru doesnt know that you need to stop using sachi at least wihle depicting munis doing yagnas. SN not only reproduces the same flaws in every student but even reproduces teh same yagna and asuras in different dances. Check this out from 2.00

    This girl used her intelligence and decided to look at the offerings of yagnam with samam instead of sachi. and she actually closed her eyes in dhyanam during the offering. But the one jerk laugh is the same between all the dancers. Its same for the asuras and the devas. Shouldnt God not know derisive laughter and smirk like the asura? They are all kids. So i dont direct the remarks on them. But please please please start noticing things other than karnas in your favourite SN. For once if they realise that sachi is not to be used everywhere….they might go somewhere. They are totally allowed to have their own style of doing things, but when things are wrong, they are wrong. And you are supposed to be pointing them out. I dont even understand your point about karnas. There are 108 karanas prescribed. 18 of them according to me need their toes lifted above the shoulder/chest. 2 of them need all 4 hands and feet on the ground. 1 of them needs both feet in the air. That is barely 20% of the karanas. Rest 80% is used extensively in kalakshetra and even the rest of the 20% are used every now and then as seen fit or as per taste. I refuse to understand the slandering. Only because Rukmini Devi learnt ballet for three years does not make her prone to western influences and only because SN dancers swirl the feet of Durga even when she is leaving for a battle does not make them more KArana oriented. SU decided to use the exotic 20% to gather wealthy brahmin families of K.K. nagar. Thats about the fact you need to realise. Rukmini Devi had devadasis, language scholars, musicians and vyaggyakaras all under one umbrella when they were dying out there without recognition or food. She wasnt doing a social service. She was redefining what the brahmin mothers of PSSBBBSSSSSHHHHH going kids would allow and want them to dress up as courtesans did and dance in front of a male audience without inviting the chief guest to bed. All this devadasi talk of them dancing inside the temple. Who in this world has watched them? If you could put their youtube videos we would know what kind of a dance they did. The unknown is always more exotic adn you can fantasize idealism. No one including you knows what they did. There are kalakshetra professors out there with a dvd of all the 108 karanas. What in the Gods name are you talking about. They are not even 11 year olds whos backbones you can make strech sitting behind a microphone with cymbals. And they actually remember the names of the karanas after the dvd recording is over. Kalakshetra has not just bharatanatyam but veena and kathakali. You dare say Kathakali artists and Kalarippayattu-trained men do not engage in the rest of the 20% karanas. That they do not have the 10 qualities needed by the dancer.

    “to please the Brahmin caste, she created the Kalakshetra style by removing all the essential elements from Bharatanatyam”

    What is inappropriate is very different from what is needed. Rukmini Devi cleansed bharatanatyam of the Rajadasi style of execution where things were getting vulgar, graceless and downright embarassing to a spiritual mind. She did not cleanse out Sringara. She cleansed out vulgarity. If only you knew the difference. Thanks to her, the brahmin community took to bharatanatyam and literate people started reading NS and interpreting it. Thanks to her, people do not throw money at BN dancers nor imagine fondling their breasts. Thanks to her majority of the girls doing bharatanatyam today do not shake their asses in two primary directions while doing tatti mettu. Their breasts dont follow in anti phase. People dont sit in and out of aramandi. People dont fold their knees when they do You cannot take sringara out of bharatanatyam. It is supposed to be beauty. If the dancer (regardless of baani) is devoid of creating beauty on stage with her dancing and not with her boob-shaking and ass-moving, it is not rukmini devis fault!! It is the dancer’s fault who couldnt invoke any beauty in you. And your’s if you do not know what kind of beauty you are looking for🙂

    watch this and tell me this is not how a uthama nayika would respond: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXMZq-M2Ia0
    You want to watch Balasaraswatis clumsy display (and completely karna-free too!) of abhinaya and nritta, or some elusive devadasis unwitnessed stroke of authenticity?? You are more than welcome to. Do not not understand where things are and due to whom. Truth is the only thing that is acceptable.

  12. Being in sync only means that the Guru knows exactly what needs to be done.

    Sorry, Subha, your statement doesn’t make sense. “Being in sync” means performing identical movements at identical times. Complex (non-Kalakshetra) movements are too hard to put in sync because the movements are the expressions of mahodharma of each dancer, so they will be different.

    They have no definitions and groundings in what is what?

    Exactly: the Kalakshetra is the only rational school. The traditional baanis are above the narrow-minded rationalism: a computer can’t understand what is beauty. Aesthetic mind is above the rational mind. Western cultures are the rational cultures that have useless logical explanations to everything.

    How will they transmit knowledge faithfully down generations if every body does anything without definitions?

    Yes!!!!! That’s the difference between the Kalakshetra and the gurukula. In gurukula, what is transmitted are not the technical details that may fit one individual but will not work with another. In gurukula, what is transmitted is the spirit of the dance, the intuitive perception that is beyond verbal definition. Scientifically, that’s a different area in our brains!
    Subha, you are giving me the sword to demolish the long-overdue Kalakshetra sham!🙂

    Here is an example of a Guru who tells all her students exactly what is to be done..btw 0.46 is also borrowed from kalakshetra.

    I am not so sure. I don’t actually like any group items. Did you notice I ever reviewed a group programme?

    What was the allegation agaisnt valli’s student? they reproduce even the flutter of the eyelids…You want to see reproduction of everything from movement of chin to shrugging shoulders…helo SN!


    Sorry, Subha, they don’t mimic each other too much. Show me the timecode.

    Analyze their sancharis, for instance.” ha ha..
    from 1:00 in both videos

    Again, I am sorry but there is hardly anything (just the broad outlines of 2 key movements sets) there to prove your point. You expected one dancer to do a yagnam and another dancer to show Garuda appearing instead, or what? Can you recollect seeing a yagman being portrayed while the dancer is standing on her head, or what?

    This girl used her intelligence and decided to look at the offerings of yagnam with samam instead of sachi.

    But the one jerk laugh is the same between all the dancers.

    Sorry but I didn’t notice. Tell me the times.

    There are 108 karanas prescribed. 18 of them according to me

    You are a new authority on the karanas, I see!😉 Doing a PhD too?😉

    Rest 80% is used extensively in kalakshetra and even the rest of the 20% are used every now and then as seen fit or as per taste.

    Where? Send me YouTube links. Here you are telling me a blatant lie.

    Only because Rukmini Devi learnt ballet for three years does not make her prone to western influences

    Of course it does. On top of that, she had a nice company of Sir George and others, travelling outside India.
    Wait for a couple of years, Subha, and even you will enjoy dancing salsa!🙂

    SU decided to use the exotic 20% to gather wealthy brahmin families of K.K. nagar.

    Before writing this nonsense, you’d better check her school’s history and watch their older clips.

    Rukmini Devi had devadasis, language scholars, musicians and vyaggyakaras all under one umbrella when they were dying out there without recognition or food.

    Don’t exaggerate, please. She straightjacketed them.

    All this devadasi talk of them dancing inside the temple. Who in this world has watched them? If you could put their youtube videos

    Originally, the deity was the only audience. Then things started to deteriorate. I thought you knew that. See what Kalakshetra did to your brain? You don’t even understand that 2000 years ago there was no YouTube!🙂

    we would know what kind of a dance they did.

    We know only that it included the 108 karanas.

    There are kalakshetra professors out there with a dvd of all the 108 karanas.

    Oh, yes, yes, the entire world is laughing at this dvd. Now we know how stupid and incapable are the kalakshetra professors.

    You dare say Kathakali artists and Kalarippayattu-trained men do not engage in the rest of the 20% karanas. That they do not have the 10 qualities needed by the dancer.

    Prove your point. Show me the video (not some parody attempts).

    Rukmini Devi cleansed bharatanatyam of the Rajadasi style of execution where things were getting vulgar, graceless and downright embarassing to a spiritual mind.

    Whose “spiritual” mind? Really? Please don’t confuse spiritual mind with local conventions of appropriacy. Had Rukmini Devi had a grain of spiritual mind, she would not have joined that Theosophical sect. Moreover, religion and spirituality are two different things.

    She cleansed out vulgarity.

    She threw out the baby along with the bath water. She cut out almost all neck, shoulder, chest and hip movements. ALL! See what Alarmel Valli does!

    Thanks to her, the brahmin community took to bharatanatyam and literate people started reading NS and interpreting it.

    Took to what “bharatanatyam”? As for NS, I don’t think Kalakshetra students read it, leave alone interpret it!

    Thanks to her majority of the girls doing bharatanatyam today do not shake their asses in two primary directions while doing tatti mettu.

    “majority” only?🙂

    People dont sit in and out of aramandi. People dont fold their knees when they do

    ???

    You cannot take sringara out of bharatanatyam. It is supposed to be beauty.

    Bharatanatyam – Sringara = Kalakshetra (no beauty, sterilized)

    watch this and tell me this is not how a uthama nayika would respond:

    In places it is quite refined, in other places it is the middling. Actually, an utthama nayika would not not do all those lifeless gestures, walking around on the stage.

    You want to watch Balasaraswatis

    Actually…. I don’t.🙂

  13. Thanks, I do not wish to learn from what Alarmel Vallis does. I do watch her! You know, you need to know what not to do.

    Oh yes! A 24 year old is an authority. All i did is count how many Karnas require one leg to be lifted. Your grandkids can do it too😀
    I do know someone who did a PhD on it If only she would publish her thesis online, I could take a look.

    Rational school of dance?🙂 every art has groundrules. The grammer of any language is not negotiable. The creativity is what gives the aesthetics. I think you have english grammer confused with Shakespeare poetry. You didnt comment on the “complex movements” of SN group performances being in sync. It just means the guru has taught all her students properly that di ti thai every time is to be accompanied by the chin movement. That is a great thing to be achieved in teaching. And kudos to her for doing that. It is a point of argument to show how basic grammer is necessary to be faithfully reproduces in academic families. You go nowhere without knowing how am i supposed to bend doing this or doing that. Manodharma of dancers in nritta??????😀 I think you are confusing manodharmam with individuality. Nobody does manodharmam in nritta. Somebody choregraph a jati impromptu on stage?? Let me know.

    There needs to be order in teaching. I do not seem to understand how people blatantly ignore this principle? This does not mean you tell a student what to do in every line of the sahityam. This means every student of yours knows how to bend their torso when for. eg. doing a tat tai taam adavu. creativity lies in choregraphy. Not in craning your neck and waist in undefined ways everytime you go on stage. That just looks stupid. Notice Alarmel valli and Harieie Jeevitha. They both have excessive chin movements. Only Valli has no control and uses her wasit and shoulder in some weird way. HArinie uses only her chin. Its called conrol. There is no grace without control.

    It is amusing how when i say something about SN in your style, you point it out as nonsense. I am exaggerating! That because you do it all the time. :D…I am so disappointed with your disapproval.😀

  14. May I request the respected authority to reveal the method by which she counted how many Karnas require one leg to be lifted?🙂

    every art has groundrules. The grammer of any language is not negotiable.

    Tell me the rules in painting.

    The grammer of any language is not negotiable.

    Do you know that before Shakespeare nobody used the English language the way he did?

    Manodharma of dancers in nritta?

    It is a question of execution, not choreographing.
    Well, yes, some choreograph a jati impromptu.

    There needs to be order in teaching. I do not seem to understand how people blatantly ignore this principle?

    What order? Bharatanatyam is not maths. Can you please get rid of your rational army-style Kalakshetra mindset?😉 Rational mind is sometimes good in criticism, that’s all.

    This means every student of yours knows how to bend their torso

    There is a question of individual capacity. Bodies (and minds) are very individual.

    They both have excessive chin movements.

    Like children do. That’s why Kalakshetra chin movements are like army soldiers’

    Valli has no control and uses her wasit and shoulder in some weird way.

    Non-Kalakshetra way?🙂 Subha, please go learn a bit of Odissi or Kuchipudi.🙂

    As for nonsense, if your point doesn’t make sense to me, that’s all. If you can explain, you do. Otherwise you just get disappointed because you can’t even explain.

  15. btw, harinie’s site says she got the balashree title this year from national balbhavan.
    well-deserved!

  16. nameskaram: dear bharatanatyam i don’t have much to ask u….
    only 1 question, why don’t u do research on karanas and prove Dr. padma’s interpretation is wrong….
    stop throwing pointless comments without any evidence…..she spend 10 years to gather information and evidence for her research.. can u do the same thing???
    religious view : if her interpretation was wrong god wont let her designed new 108 karanas for HIS satara temple….
    u still a loser….. plz do respect her….
    i believe she is re creator of karanas who should be praise n worship …

  17. PS is the “creator of karanas”?🙂 Ha-ha-ha!🙂 Isn’t she an Avatar Herself?🙂
    By the way, I like her 108 karanas at Satara temple.

  18. dear ashwini… i said she is a re-creator not a creator…. yes i still can call her a avatar who sacrificed her life for this art. besides that she opened your eyes to make a blog to comment about her karanas interpretation….most of the dancer only realize the existent of karanas after she discovered…

  19. ok, she is one of the “re-creators” of the “new” karanas🙂 I don’t want to diminish her contribution, but if she is an avatar, then I am an avatar too😉 and you too🙂 I don’t think she spent more than 1% of her time on researching, practising and teaching karanas. She spent 99% of her time on self-promotion, enlarging her ego, PR, her political career and making money. Neither she nor any of her students can perform the 108 karanas very well. All of us avatars are very good at theory.

  20. No comments on “1% of her time on researching, practising and teaching karanas. She spent 99% of her time on self-promotion, enlarging her ego, PR, her political career and making money. Neither she nor any of her students can perform the 108 karanas very well”. as a dancer i ll saw her contribution on dance only. i personally believe every artist in this world doing the same thing just like wat DR. PS doing. i suggest u to watch Janaki rangarajan’s dance clip in youtube. she can perform both karanas and bharatanatyam very very well. you know wat, most of the artist (those who practicing indian arts or maybe every arts) not following the correct path as an artist. their mind full with jealous, anger and negative thoughts about other artists….please grow up…. this is a divine arts don’t spoil it…

  21. Janaki rangarajan is a good dancer, but even she could not perform well the acrobatic karanas even in her best years. As for the divine art, what exactly is divine? What kind of dancing is divine? Are all folk dancers divine, avatars? In Natya Shastra, there is a mention of the criteria of “Human success”, and “Divine success” of a performance. When did you last witness such a performance?

  22. so dear Ashwini: u think those who learned bharatanatyam can perform it as wat natya shastra expected?? we r humans can’t run from mistakes…even some senior dancers also can make obvious mistakes.
    Back to karanas, she discovered those karanas in her late 30’s. As a dancer she more concentrate to delivered this dance to all. we should understand in that age we will struggle to mold our body to do something we never tried. but she still done a good job.
    every dancer who manage to make the audience happy and forget their sorrow is consider divine dancer. it’s goes to all the dance form, from karakatam to bharatanatyam.

  23. nameskaram: dear bharatanatyam i don’t have much to ask u….
    only 1 question, why don’t u do research on karanas and prove Dr. padma’s interpretation is wrong….
    stop throwing pointless comments without any evidence…..she spend 10 years to gather information and evidence for her research.. can u do the same thing???
    religious view : if her interpretation was wrong god wont let her designed new 108 karanas for HIS satara temple….
    u still a loser….. plz do respect her….
    i believe she is re creator of karanas who should be praise n worship …hope u understand…🙂

  24. Ashwini,

    I understand that you have a lot of reservations about different schools of Bharatanatyam and feel that some of them (specifically Kalakshetra) remove the dance from what it was supposed to be. While you can have all of these opinions and believe what you think is correct, the way you are presenting it is completely inappropriate. You are talking about Kalakshetra removing the beauty of Bharatanatyam, removing the religion from the dance, when you are the one who is doing so with comments that are full of spite and prejudice. What is Bharatanatyam, where did it come from? What is its goal but if not to produce ananda in the audience and ourselves? So how can that be done if you are sitting here on this website saying all these horrible things about other schools? You are saying that people like PS have tried to feed their ego through their career, when all I see is you trying to feed your own. I am not trying to slander you or belittle you, but I ask you to rethink the way you talk and approach things on this website. I came to this blog to gain more insight on the dance form I love…but all I found when I came here was hatred and judgement. You are insulting “the spirit of the dance” (the term you used before) and the devadasis that came before us by having this attitude. There is nothing wrong with you trying to purify dance, but you don’t need to be overly hostile about it and attack everyone that tries to tell or show you something different than what you think. To me, having that attitude is even less Hindu than bringing western ballet into Bharatanatyam. Devotion to God does not come out of hatred.

  25. Please pinpoint the details that are wrong in any of my statements and provide a specific comment on it and prove it with a few concrete examples. You can only make generic, myopic statements as your mind is not capable of being precise. I challenge you.🙂

    True, devotion to God does not come out of hatred, this is why Arjuna killed his own guru on Kurukshetra, along with a few thousands of his other relatives. Tell me, how many relatives of yours have you murdered so far in order to protect the Dharma? You don’t have the guts to do it, right? Go back to your kindergarten, keep drooling there.

  26. Hi

    You dance very well. Where about in Indian your outfits are made. Fits very well.

  27. No doubt JH is a good dancer, but she doesn’t exhibit expressions that well. There are many dancers who is much better than JH.

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