Saturday 29 September 2012

Article - Traditions in Mohiniyattam: A closer look - Dr. Neena Prasad

A Bani is the result of a creative process where a mind is engaged in reconstructing an art discipline to a certain aesthetic elevation by breaking the existing norms akin to a system practiced. The conceived mind here, leads to a customization of a whole new system of stylization. This pursuit of the mind may be subjective for others at that time of conception, but it will certainly lead to becoming a milestone for the art form itself, through successful performances of practitioners. Here, a Bani gets established. The established Bani carries a distinct identity that can be traced based on the social background and geographic location.

In a more specific sense, a
Bani can be understood as the discipline applied on the art form in terms of practice. To cite an example in the Carnatic music tradition, a Bani or a school may be identified either based on the richness in Bhava, or when it is more inclined towards exploring the laya vyavahara, or when the focus is concentrated on intricately webbing a raga alapana while rendering a kirtana. For ex. in Veena Dhanammal Bani, we will see the elaborate exploration of raga along with interludes of laya, an Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar school had more emphasis laid on the laya aspects than on raga alapana. Or later, in a Semmangudi school – the rendition of a kirthana strictly maintained a pad’athi in its gamakas that was passed on generation after generation, while in a Madurai Mani Iyer’s school, the rendition of kirtanas allowed a certain artistic freedom which itself can be called a pad’athi. The above examples explain different Bani-s(schools) with regard to musical pedagogies. Similarly, for dance forms, the pedagogical differences in imbibing the art form as a practice would be - the musical genre adopted by the nattuvanar-s, the characteristics of nritta and nritya elements in the dance, the continuing signature of the founder (passed down) in the tradition; all put together become the yardstick in defining a school.

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1 comment:

  1. "Hence, in that sense, the Bani concept in itself is slowly losing its relevance. There has been a liberal give and take in terms of artistic expression enabling them to create a signature of their own, speaking from the point of view of performing tradition"

    Just wear a Mohiniyattam costume and do Bharathanatyam it should not matter. It is innovation,creativity and evolving. Give leeway to any one to do anything and call it Mohiniyattam. Good conclusion. The easiest solution is 'No Solution'.