Hands – The Power of Two

    Last night was filled with an intense discussion between two architects and myself about the authority of attributing value to any art-form. Though the discussion was centered around the visual arts and the complex opinions that are polarised into “art for art’s sake” on one side and the idea of “form follows function” on the other, my take-away viz. a vis 45 Days … Continue reading Hands – The Power of Two

Arms – Catch and Release

  For most dancers honing their craft and body is an endeavour that stretches across a lifetime. It is a journey of the self through arduous hours of training, of bending and breaking the body into various positions, and drilling movement, sequences and steps within that same body. It is often about reaching a place within that is untapped, scared and unknown, and asking it … Continue reading Arms – Catch and Release

Upper Torso : The Dhak- Dhak-Queen

  Sticking to the Bollywood theme of yesterday and moving upwards in the body of a dancer, for 45 Days of Dance Stories, I give you the upper torso, and the woman who has made her on and off screen dancing career with the -chest-thrust – the Dhak-Dhak-Queen : Madhuri Dixit.   Similar to the pelvic-thrust discussed yesterday this upper-torso movement finds resonance in traditional … Continue reading Upper Torso : The Dhak- Dhak-Queen

Hips : The Quintessential Bollywood Pelvic Thrust

    What is the history of the perlvic thrust? Sex. A natural movement made during coitus was co-opted by performers, rockers, musicians and Indian Film choreographers to titilate and shock audiences.   Made iconic in the West by the likes of Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, the pelvic thrust  dance-move carries with it a wealth of sexual innuendo. Then, is it any wonder that … Continue reading Hips : The Quintessential Bollywood Pelvic Thrust

Legs : Carry Me to the Moon and Back

      As a twelve year old fiddling around with my Das’s turntable and rummaging through his LP collection, I would often come across the strange, the weird and the wonderful. The “star” in this last category of pure joy and wonder had to be the soft and smooth notes of Frank Sinatara’s voice, carrying over melodies composed by the likes of Michel Philippe-Gérard and Anka. … Continue reading Legs : Carry Me to the Moon and Back

Feet – Move them like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

When we say dancer – the first body part that we immediately connect them to and visualise are the “Feet”.    Grounding us, allowing us to leap and stretch, to pause and pirouette, the dancers feet are where our “Souls” rest!    Battered and bruised, knocked and swollen, these feet are what aide us in our movement, trained to kick, flip, balance and flick they are in … Continue reading Feet – Move them like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

Pandit Uday Shankar : An Introduction

Every time I watch stills or films capturing the late Pandit Uday Shankar dancing – I am transported, where dream and experience become one for the dancer within me. I am inspired, I am bereft that a great Guru and proponent of the art form is no longer with us, and I am grateful to the visionary who gave us his love letter to dance … Continue reading Pandit Uday Shankar : An Introduction

Looking back, Looking at LIFE

These black and white photographs done over the years for LIFE magazine, are a treasure of mood and heritage regarding the Indian Dancer. Like a portal into the past, we see perhaps an “exotification” of the Indian Dancer. But, at the very same time we see historical artefact, how true these are, is for our own subjective judgements, but here they are, in their time-bound … Continue reading Looking back, Looking at LIFE

Glorifying Tandav-Shiva!

Energy, Power, Myth, Movement and Magic, that is the Tandav-Shiva!   Having explored Shiva as the all-auspicious one, today as part of the 45 Days of Dance Stories, I wish to talk of the Tandav. Originating from the Sanskrit verb “Tand”- which means “to restore balance”, this word is a symbol for Lord Shiva himself and all associated activities of destruction and regeneration connected to … Continue reading Glorifying Tandav-Shiva!

Nataraja – The Lord of Dance

Since yesterday (the 2nd of December 2014) and the post Shiva, Shakti, Laasya, my thoughts have been pre-occupied by Lord Shiva as the Lord of Performers and Dance. Known in this avatar as Nataraja, his physical personification (as seen in the image above) can be attributed to the bronze sculptors of the Chola Dynasty in South India from 10th Century A.D. This dancing figure of … Continue reading Nataraja – The Lord of Dance