Monday, October 02, 2006

postheadericon Where in the World is Anthropologist ?

Shimmering silks, glittering jewels, doe-eyed maidens, the sound of feet tapping and bells jingling, hennaed hands, beautiful tabla beats -where in the world was I this time?

Give up? We were at the terrific Harbourfront Dance Festival also known as the Kalanidhi Dance Festival. I went with friends Mukta and Rehana and we were very lucky to witness two of India's very popular dance styles, the "Kuchipudi" and "The Odissi".

The Kuchipudi , which hails from the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, is one of India's seven main classical dance styles and although very similar in style to the better-known Bharat Natyam, the movements tend to be more fluid and the pace is faster. The Kuchipudi dance began as devotional enactments to the life of Lord Krishna and were performed exclusively by men. However, over the last 50 years the dance has undergone a revival and is now performed on the modern stage around the world by both men and women One of the highlights of the Kuchipudi dance is when the dancer dances on the rim of a brass plate - I don't know how to describe it except to say that as a feat it is jaw dropping and aesthetcally it is mesmerizing. I hope you all can treat yourselves to a Kuchipudi recital some day.

Look here for some wonderful Kuchipudi pictures.

The performers last evening are known as the Kuchipudi Dance Collective,do visit their website for a look-see.

Odissi Dancer

Next we were bedazzled by the Orissa Dance Academy with their lively, colourful and enchanting performances of the Odissi dance. The Odissi probably originated as a temple dance and this particular program we were privileged to see had many components to it, my favorite one (only because it is a dance trend heading for oblivion) was the Gotipua Dance, performed by young boys (usually under 8 years of age) dressed in female attire. The Gotipuas lead a life of vigorous training under the supervision of their gurus. These are usually poor kids dedicated to the temple by parents who either cannot afford to look after them or because they have vowed to sacrifice a child in exchange for a boon like good health, etc. These little dancers are never allowed to go back home, not even to perform a parent's last rites -once they are given up they become the sole responsibility of the guru (the teacher). They undergo vigorous training, learning to bend and twist their bodies to strike acrobatic poses -one has to see a performance to believe what these little dancers are capable of.

Here are some pictures of Odissi dancers.


hellomelissa said...

once again, jealous. thanks for the interesting facts on this kind of dance, lotus!

Beloved dreamer said...

Oh Lotus I am so so jealous. You have such a wonderful heritage.