Monday, 14 November 2011

Bharatanatyam: Present and future at the hands of NRIs - Prathiba Natesan

In recent times, I have witnessed several jaw-dropping, wonderful performances in Dallas and Houston (Shijith Nambiar, Rama Vaidyanathan, Spanda) that I have left the auditoriums giggling like a teenager, almost drunk with the beauty of these performances. Today’s dancers, even the traditional ones, incorporate interesting and different movements in their dances to add dynamism – an excellent example of evolution.  At the same time, there also seems to be something that is stagnant in its practice and even an evolution in the wrong direction, if I may be so bold.


  1. While Prathiba raises many valid questions and highlights very valid points, there are a few that put a smile on my face. Responding to these points by re-phrasing them could be found too outrageous a caricature, so I will post it on my blog. :)

  2. Yamini Vishwanathan23 November 2011 at 19:27

    I can't believe Prathiba Natesan badmouthing the NRIs! She is just imagining all those arangetrams performed like weddings with splendor and showmanship but lacking in content and standard". She does not give any factual and concrete examples: when, who, where, what. Simply because there are no such arangetrams. Why is is that she cannot remember any names of those "NRI parents badmouthing their children’s gurus’ practices"? Because she does not know any such parents: these are just rumours.

    All this is just bluffing. Who are those "gurus treat the art simply as the business of teaching (read moneymaking) and graduating more mediocre and substandard students year after year"? Who are those students? Prathiba's fancy goes too far. She will not be able to recollect a single instance of "kids wearing their salangais along with their sandals in auditoriums". I asked many NRI students' parents, and none of them "want to create replicas of Priyadarsini Govind or Rama Vaidyanathan". This is a slanderous article. Prathiba Natesan must apologize and take back her words.

  3. If we put Bhrata's vision and IBharatheeya samskara together, "woman' is a concept par excellence. Gender difference isthe law of nature even amdist other beings including plants. Each has several purpose other than precreation. By genetic constitution the varity in behaviour and ability to express them with minut details are more on the female side than on the male. This is why, probably, Bharata has refered to women while he discusses Heroines, alankaras and sheels. Males need to put in more effeort to bring-forth such parameters of acting. Experimenting is a must but not with an attitude of challenge by one geneder to the other.

  4. Prathiba Natesan says, "I realize there are several other types of heroines other than the ashtanayikas". It would be interesting if she could shed more light on her discovery of esoteric truths.

    The drift from the topic of women to the scheduled caste is very original, and I expect Prathiba to drift further towards different theories describing the death of dinosaurs.

    PS. Regarding that professor of Economics from NY, where is any scientific proof that he understands Natya shastra better than my degreeless neighbor who drives an autorickshaw? There is no doubts any American dancer or non dancer can get the funding to show quantum physics or any chemical formula through dance, but why are we talking about all this non-art?

  5. She writes that Subhalakshmi's rendition of the Thiruppugazh was "trying to push the boundaries of Bharatanatyam". This is a totally "unscientific, and personal comment". She cannot substantiate her opinion.

    If Prathiba Natesan knows that Kathak took in Islamic elements such as salaami and mujras, she should of course continue to focus on her practice of the Arab and Persian classical dances or Statistics instead of passing unfounded and unscientific comments on the subject (e.g.Bharatanatym) that she does not have a Ph.D. in.

  6. Dear Parthiba,
    While I donot completely agree with subhalakshmi for the reason that what she challenged and claimed ate rarely or never seen in the actual choreography- and I am talking of that.
    But I have to laugh at your meager knowledge of Indian culture- India was Not predominantly Hindu, but was a Sanatana dharma country- once you understand that you can safely claim that you have started your education on it.
    Your understanding rather, subhalaksmi's claim that castism was only a work based is laughable. In Bhagavan Gita geetaacharya clearly talks about casts and their duties. You can notice that there was a considerable perversion since bagavadgita times and pre independence to actually spoil the whole idea.
    You are talking of feminism- while implying seeta and Savitri were sorry beings- I am sorry for you. I mean no insult, but please find a gurus
    I am not a dreamer of secularism, for me there are no equals- god himself did not create anything equal- can you absolutely anyhtinv j. This creation that is equal? If so dogs would be talking now.
    To be contd....

  7. As for subhalaksmi's hilarious mention about dvaita and advaita, in advaita there is no gender, there are no two, there one and realization of that one atma tattva will lead to the realization of Brahman. Adi shankara clarifies this in dakshiba murthy stotram, more simPly is put in nirvana dasakam.

  8. hello mam. iam 19 years old and is learning bharatnatyam for past 6 months.since childhod i have been doing kathak. iam having a back pain . last time when i prfrmd bharatnatyam i suffered back pain. although i practiced for 10 days but suffered pain only after performance. this time when iam preparing fr my dance xams iam facing the same problm. iam tall and have a curved body. please guide me how to overcome it.i dont wanna leave bhartnatyam.but at the same time cant compromise with my body.iam tensed what to do.dont know whether it is because of fatigue aor xtreme aramandi.please i need ur advicE immediately.