Art & Culture
Classical Dance and Music
Indian Classical Dance "..abstraction
of Upanishadic thought which is assiduously
translated in to well designed concrete language
of artistic media."
It all started with Natya Shastra
Said to be written 2000 years ago by Bharata
Muni, it is the seminal source book for dancers
and performers. The mammoth book covers all
technical and aesthetic aspects of the art of
the Indian Theatre and Dance.
From the purpose of natya, to the architectural
format, stage rituals, Rasa, Bhava, Abhinaya,
gestic communication, music, types of instruments.
37 chapters that together form the nucleus of
this fascinating performing art. Later century
works like Abhinaya Darpana, Abhinaya Chandrike,
also have great relevance to the dancer today.
Legend has it that the Devas (Gods) had vanquished
the Asuras (Evil) and were relating the happenings
to Brahma, the God of Creation. The Asuras thought
this was a renewed attack and retaliated. Brahma
intervened - "This is only a performance,
hence forth it will only be held on earth".
And Brahma passed on all the information on
Dance and Drama to Bharata Muni who compiled
it as the Natya Shastra.
Sculpture Comes To Life
Temples were raised to the house the Gods and
became the focal point for the community. They
also became centres of learning and contributed
to the advancement of such arts as sculpture,
painting, music and dance. Mostly built by Kings,
who were also the patrons of arts, encouraging
a continuity and enriching rituals of worship,
the earliest basis of the classical performing
It was from the temple that the Devdasi cult
(Temple Dancers who performed for the Lord)
began. Once a practice countrywide - the Kulvantalu
in Andhra Pradesh, the Maibi in Manipur, the
Devdasi in Tamil Nadu and the Mahari in Orissa,
all trace their roots to the temple. The countless
sculptures of dance poses in the temples, hint
at the potency of dance as a path to spiritual
exaltation and lays out a complete lexicon of
For instance, it is said that the greater part
of vocabulary of Odissi dance is preserved in
A rich heritage to be brought alive by the