Sunday 25 February 2018

Collage of cadences - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Traditional Odissi 
In an unbroken tradition of scholarly tomes on Indian performing arts that began from before the Christian millennium and continued till Sarangadeva’s Sangeet Ratnakara in the 13th century, marked a water-shed treatise from which point, many experts believe, the Hindustani and Carnatic music went their own way. Meanwhile, new texts and manuals started appearing that covered the regional forms of the performative arts.  

Our classical dances, having evolved over the last seven decades since Independence, have now lived cheek by jowl with each other among their ardent practitioners. It is perhaps as good a time as any other to look at some of their proximate issues and examine prospects and possibilities. One may begin, for instance, from their Margams and examine how their basic exercises, abhinaya and nritta – to take only three aspects – would feature at a confluence of two nearby styles. A second angle may be the rhythms of two nearby styles’ percussion support and allow for a scrutiny as to how their sound would resonate and reverberate. Yet a third point of view may be to inject a dose of theatricality and contemporaneity, and try then to see how the classical forms innovate. In fact, such ideas can be galore, but one has to start somewhere!

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