Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Of Nattuvanars, Chinna Melam and the past to the present - Seen and Heard by Lakshmi Vishwanathan

One of the finest developments of 21st century in Bharatanatyam is the entry of the daughters, sons, and granddaughters of hereditary dancers and Nattuvanars into the field as performers and teachers. I would call this the latest Renaissance. It began in the late 20th century in small instances when the last gurus passed away, leaving sons and daughters who knew the art in practice, but did not quite have the courage to make dance a vocation gradually tested the waters. They eventually made the bold decision to treat their artistic inheritance seriously. With almost all the teachers of dance belonging to the non hereditary community steadily attracting more and more students, and thus earning sizable wealth, prestige and power, the young inheritors from families of gurus woke up to try their hand at teaching and also performing. Today they are making their mark!

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