Sunday 26 July 2015

Article - Do we need the revival? - Ranee Kumar

Surfing the television on a sultry Sunday afternoon, Sringaram caught my eye and the first ten minutes through, I got engrossed in the movie, which triggered off my dormant thought process once again and here we go into this journey about Devadasis and their art. Being a dyed-in-the –wool newspaper journo for decades, I wouldn’t like to linger on historical happenings and the fall out but come straight to the point.
Coming across a section of dance veterans/gurus who have gone hammer and tongs to delve into  the Devadasi dance and that era of ‘divine’ romanticism verbatim,  recreate it on the public platform and propagate it under the banner of an individualised art form.  Their peg: the Devadasi dance is the fountainhead of all the present day classical dances, urgently in need of resurrection.

Read the article in the site

1 comment:

  1. I understand from what this article states is that the writer is asking whether a revival of the Devadasi art is required and ends it by stating that it should only be archived. Reason being it has lost relevance it should be forgotten and done away with and last be spoken about only for academic value.
    The fact is that the art form of Devadasi and their very dance structure had already been adapted with amendments, reviewed, refined and redefined by the likes of Dr. Rukmini Devi Arundale, the Odissi trio, and accorded the label of classicality - means the revival is done. That which has been omitted during the process has already been made history and archived or forgotten.
    The only record of authenticity is the courtesan repertoire which comprises the padam, javali and even the varnam. These have been so polished and presented over the years that the original is totally forgotten; means old has been replaced and the present form is an evolved form.
    Well then how does one understand how the present art form evolved, its history and what the roots of the present Bharatanatyam structure are? Whether the present dance form that has evolved has gone better or worse?
    I think seminar like the Varnam by Spanda Dance Company will be an eye-opener to what was the old format of varnam as revived by Rukmini devi or performed by Balasaraswati, as have been handed carefully to the great masters and what they had to say about the varnams of the Tanjore Quartet or thanjay nalvar. I think we will get many answers, particularly to the confusion whether the dance form of the devadasis which is called Bharatanatyam today is evolving or deteriorating.
    I think one has to go back and keep checking and see if anything good has been missed out? What is left to study, define and archive is the spirit and fervor of the original format and study and define what is contemporary – which means also draw a line between what is past format and what is evolved format? Is this possible? What is good/ bad in the old and new formats….. one can go on… this topic is never ending.