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World Dance Day
- Pandithar Sivakumar Perumal, Pune

May 24, 2008

It is a very happy fact that from the earliest centuries of mankind, dance is still alive, practiced, preached, and its healing powers recognized too.

Today dance is a social activity, which both relaxes and rejuvenates, having the power to impress upon and encourage a process of thinking amongst all, making people understand the best practices in life.

Transition of art over time has not been without heartaches too. One of the most decorated forms of expression of human emotions nevertheless traveled through a phase of social stigma, class and caste discrimination.

Withstanding all, it traveled through, faced all the odds with determination and reached the pinnacle of social acceptance. Each artist in himself or herself has put forth his/her self to be a part of a flow of the art from generation to generation.

When we come across the initiative of "dance as a healer," indeed it is a moment of pride for the art. Today, dance is the most respected of arts, and the strict discipline that goes into its learning is what eventually earns the artists, the respect for their hard work. This results from the fact that artists have made a place for the art in their hearts.

The beauty of dance as an art is its unique characteristics that fascinates and captivates human imagination into a physical or a symbolic beauty. God created the world, and God created dance so we could express the beauty of nature and spread love and harmony amongst fellow beings.

Dance should be looked upon as an innovation, wherein the artists' presentations are what they portray as a hypothesis situation of how beautiful nature is, or how a complexity of life can be resolved through application of simple virtues of love and compassion.

Today, we are in midst of a revolution of time and modernization in life style and it is really praiseworthy of the artists, who have still been able to carve a niche for themselves in this modern world. It is due to their efforts and dedication to dance that today this art has become an integral part of civil society.

As we celebrate the World Dance Day, we should ponder on a few aspects. The classical forms of dance are always documented, while the folk and the tribal dances lack such patronage; they are left alone to "dance them to keep them alive."

Dance, from being a mode of worship, entertainment, profession and healer, has done excellently through all the phases; it is still a form of worship and now has the added feature of also being a healer.

The world is beset with many complex problems today. Though our arts have always brought us together globally, there are certain elements that still are exceedingly dangerous for humanity. Art has always risen to such an occasion; we can name the nemesis as global warming and terrorism, and I feel that art has a role to play in correcting these. The art of dance has in the past taken challenges and done supremely to conquer them; it is possible to do it again.

On 'World Dance Day' - April 29, or any day in our lives, it is important to remember the loss of legends, who lived, breathed and worked so hard to propagate the art - Shanta Rao, Guru Kavungal Panicker, Asako Takami, Guru Surendranath Jena, Pt R Visweswaran in 2008. These legends will always continue to live through their arts forever.

Sivakumar has a passion for the arts and is a freelance writer.

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