Tuesday 15 January 2013

Article - Role and function of dance: Historical context (Part 3) - Dr. Anonna Guha

Rhythm, gentle, solemn, passionate, frenzied, savage, so too the dance. For it is the rhythm that provides the beat for the bodies that move. The heartbeat for the dance and the bodies move, sway, swirl, dip and rise. They rejoice and droop. They exhilarate and collapse. It is all part of a world at once gentle, solemn, passionate, frenzied and savage. This is the world of folk tribal and ritual dance in India. A world born no one knows when. A world that found its own moorings, nourishment, growth, flowering and maturity. A world that has yielded generation after generation of performers.  They are everywhere – men and women. They are part of India’s multitudes, performers, dancers. Not trained, not professional dancers, not by design. By birthright. (Khokar 1987: 10)
This passage brings out the true picture of folk and tribal dances and dancers.  Their dance is spontaneous but this does not mean that they dance anywhere or anytime. There is an inbuilt method in it all, a rhyme and a reason even though it may not be a consciously cultivated one.  Certain promptings and stimuli inspire, provoke, urge and  compel people to dance. Their dance then evolves and sustains norms. There is no written   or communicated instruction or direction for the dance. It is essentially what the dancers have gained and assimilated without deliberate effort as a legacy from past generation. In order to understand this complete process, it is imperative that one understands these  varied shared manners and moods because these are reflected in the Indian dance .These moods and motifs become the common language and grammar for the folk, tribal and  ritual dances as they exist in the different milieu of the country. (Khokhar 1987:14-30)

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