Saturday 27 April 2019

Prism - Inventing of a Notation System for Mudra: The language of Dance and Theatre in Kerala-Part 2 - G. Venu

It was in 1977 that for the first time the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi organized a dance workshop which was directed by Guru Gopinath. Guru Chandrasekharan, Kalamandalam Gangadharan and myself were assistant directors. All the gurus of classical dance styles in Kerala participated in the lecture demonstrations and encounters in the workshop. It was after my discussions and interviews with prominent figures in Mohiniyattam including Kalyanikutty Amma and Satyabhama that the idea to study in detail the mudras in this style evolved in my mind. The field work towards this end was done by my wife Nirmala Paniker. Nirmala had trained under Kalyanikutty Amma for a long time, and as part of our study of the mudras did a short term course at Kerala Kalamandalam. It took us four years to complete the work on notations that analyzed the hand gestures in the then existing repertoire including Cholkettu, Padam, Varnam, Slokam and Saptam.

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