Monday 15 July 2013

Poetry in Dance - Lakshmi Vishwanathan

Most of our dance repertoire is poetry in song. We seldom get to read them just for their poetic beauty .We read them only when we are researching new texts for dance. Language skills are needed for this exercise. Poems when set to suitable tunes should inspire lyrical dance.

When I first encountered some lovely poems from ancient Tamil translated into poetic English I was excited enough to make Girish Karnad read some as I danced to the melodies of a sitar under a starlit sky in the Cholamandal artists village near Chennai. This was way back in 1976 and the book of translations was the famous Interior Landscape by A.K. Ramanujan. The last time I met him was in Hyderabad airport. A genial and unassuming man he told me, “I am coming out with something of particular interest to you. That book is When God is Customer.” I found his translations of many of my padams delightful and used them often to introduce my dance. Instead of the usual introductions, I just read out the poems and needless to say it was more than effective. Bhagirati, a theatre person and friend read some of them when I premiered an entire evening of padams titled HRDAYA VILAPAM. I think we enjoyed the evening as much as the audience.

Read the article in the site


  1. I am agree with the article...i spend much time in India , since my origin is italian...the skill of knowing hindi and hurdu has allowed me to enter in the essence of poetry..
    thanks for this article and blog
    rosella fanelli
    kathak dancer and teacher

  2. Very well written and said always Lakshmi akka..enjoyed reading it..

    Roja Kannan