"Art is nothing tangible. We cannot call a painting ‘art’ as the words ‘artifact’ and ‘artificial’ imply. The thing made is a work of art made by art, but not itself art. The art remains in the artist and is the knowledge by which things are made."
- Ananda Coomaraswamy

"As soon as one decides to perform a piece in public, the audience must be taken into consideration in the concept itself. After all, my performance is addressed to the public - otherwise I might as well stay home and perform for myself. If I want to convey something, then I must also think about how I can best convey it, without ‘betraying’ myself or my project and without making lazy compromises.
It is less about being ‘understood’ and more about remaining ‘readable’ so that sympathy, feelings, associations, questions, wonder and even uncertainty can be provoked. I believe that dance as a body language may and should appeal more to the senses and the sub-conscious than to the intellect. We live in a highly intellectualised society that wants everything explained and we are being taught increasingly to work with reason. Our instinct, our senses and our feelings are diminishing. I value it when an artwork penetrates into the deeper layers of my being."
- Choreographer Antonio Bühler
(‘Exploring the inner universe’ by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 25, 2013)

“When you cannot hold the body still, you cannot hold the brain still. If you do not know the silence of the body, you cannot understand the silence of the mind. Action and silence have to go together. If there is action, there must also be silence. If there is silence, there can be conscious action and not just motion.”
- BKS Iyengar

"Dance can be a profession, it can lead to stardom. Of course it can. But it can also be a process of meditation. It can be therapeutic. It can be a way to grapple with our own inner fears and demons. It can be a purely physical endeavour. It can be a purely mental journey. It can be a self-realisation of one’s cultural roots. It can lead to spiritual fulfillment. Indian classical dance is all this and so much more! Little wonder that even the gods danced in India. They too probably realized that it added value to their bliss in heaven!"  
- Geeta Chandran
(‘The two different worlds of stagecraft,’ by Geeta Chandran, New Indian Exps, Dec 15, 2013

In the Upanishads, five signs of sat guru (true guru) are mentioned.
"In the presence of the satguru; Knowledge flourishes (Gyana raksha); Sorrow diminishes (Dukha kshaya); Joy wells up without any reason (Sukha aavirbhava); Abundance dawns (Samriddhi); All talents manifest (Sarva samvardhan)."

The devadasis took a lot of care to maintain their body and flexibility. Says Annabatula Lakshmi Mangatayaru, “We were massaged with a home-made herbal oil, after which the waist was tied  tight with a cloth and we were asked to turn turtle early in the morning on an empty stomach. Then there was a ritualistic daily bath full of sandal paste and other herbal remedies for supple skin. We were staunch vegetarians as most of our gurus were Brahmins. This helped us retain a good figure for long time. From top to toe, we were taught how to take care of the body and keep it in form.”
(‘Survivor of a lost legacy’ by RK, The Hindu Fri Review, Aug 12, 2011)

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win."
- Mahatma Gandhi

"If there is a problem, it is with the fashion of being a dancer, the pride that comes with knowing a little, the trendiness of it, the assumption that you can use it whichever way without in-depth knowledge of it or of oneself. The excessive talk about it at various ‘informed’ forums where the dissection of it does not match up to what the speaker does on stage."
- Leela Samson
(‘Art of the matter’ by Tapati Chowdurie, The Hindu Fri Review, July 4, 2014)

"The more you know, the more you know you don’t know."
- Aristotle

"As a performer no one guaranteed me a performance, good musicians or a good stage when I started out. As a guru, which is the next stage, there is again no guarantee that you will have students. You may lose your best student abruptly to marriage or education. So what’s definite? Today everything is very easy – you can learn anything online, for instance the youtube. But my generation carries the values imbibed from our guru. So, there is always a constant battle in my mind – is shortcut good for the art and the artiste or is the traditional method of learning better? Today, you are also competing with young dancers who use so much technology in their dance."
- Vyjayanthi Kashi
(‘Giving it the womanly touch’ by R Shilpa Sebastian, The Hindu Friday Review, March 7, 2014)

“The line of the dancer: If you watch (Mikhail) Baryshnikov and you see that line, that’s what the poet tries for. The poet tries for the line, the balance.”
- Maya Angelou

"There is a crying need for an exercise and diet regimen for dancers, who must consider preserving their body as the highest priority in this profession. Whether it is just self indulgence or ignorance, which makes dancers so neglectful of their instruments the body, it is time to inculcate in all practitioners of dance the need to keep this body in tune, for like an instrument not ‘in sur’, a disproportionate body needs urgent attention."
- Leela Venkataraman (Delhi Diary, Nartanam, Jan – March 2014)

"Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics."
- Fritjof Capra

"Bharatanatyam, in my opinion is not just a fine art to which children are exposed as a routine. It is a way of life which nurtures many related subjects which the average child may not come across in a school curriculum. Dance teaches them the core of our civilisation. They learn mythology, music, spirituality and languages. The body becomes a tool for expressing our culture in its myriad forms. When dancers as young as those I saw performing, walk through a temple, they learn about sculpture, painting, architecture and heritage. The lessons they learn are not from text books, but are experiences of Art. This augurs well for a future which can rely on a large number of youth who, having gone through the discipline of learning dance, will learn to respect all art forms. They will certainly stand up for a wide range of important aspects of culture which are getting slowly eroded with massive ignorance and indifference. They will be the custodians of our heritage, not just dance, because they have been exposed to the links that have held many streams together."
- Lakshmi Vishwanathan
(‘Everybody is dancing,’ The Hindu Friday Review, March 7, 2014)

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
- Albert Einstein

"As soon as one decides to perform a piece in public, the audience must be taken into consideration in the concept itself. After all, my performance is addressed to the public - otherwise I might as well stay home and perform for myself. If I want to convey something, then I must also think about how I can best convey it, without ‘betraying’ myself or my project and without making lazy compromises.
It is less about being ‘understood’ and more about remaining ‘readable’ so that sympathy, feelings, associations, questions, wonder and even uncertainty can be provoked. I believe that dance as a body language may and should appeal more to the senses and the sub-conscious than to the intellect. We live in a highly intellectualised society that wants everything explained and we are being taught increasingly to work with reason. Our instinct, our senses and our feelings are diminishing. I value it when an artwork penetrates into the deeper layers of my being."
- Choreographer Antonio Bühler
(‘Exploring the inner universe’ by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 25, 2013)

"You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts, no paintings, no poems, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive."
- Merce Cunningham

"The argument is that the youth cannot relate to a ‘traditional’ notion like waiting by the moonlight for a lover’s arrival. The youth of today, it is argued, connects to waiting by the phone. Neither can the youth relate to a nayika adorning herself with jewels, self-made flower garlands, sandalwood or rosewater and wearing a sari in preparation for the man’s arrival. It was here that I wondered – have we, the youth lost our power of interpretation and the use of our imagination? Have the youth lost their ability to perceive dance imaginatively?
      
I agree that the youth of today do not wait for their beloveds in a moonlit forest, but rather next to their mobile phones. But the anxiety, excitement and nervousness that embodies both these activities is the same isn’t it? Those feelings have not changed over time. The phone and the moonlit night are secondary; it’s the anxiety of that wait that is central. As long as that has not lost its relevance, how can we say classical dance has?
      
Similarly, a young girl today may not apply a bindi, wear traditional jewels, sprinkle rose water on herself and wear a sari to look beautiful in time for her beloved, but the modern-day ‘nayika’ does certainly adorn herself before going out ‘on a date’. The raw materials maybe different – perhaps today it means getting a manicure, spraying designer perfume to smell good, wearing lipstick and spending hours in front of the wardrobe deciding what to wear. But again, the sentiment is the same – beautifying oneself in preparation for the lover’s arrival – and that is what is central, not the sari or the manicure."
-  Aranyani Bhargav
(‘Bridging the gap,’ the Hindu Friday Review, Jan 30, 2014

"Dance is the melody of the body. Dance and music flow on to the canvas of the stage with the most unselfconscious brush strokes."
- Swapnasundari
(‘Voice of Vilasini Natyam’ by Hema Ramani, The Hindu Fri Review, Jan 17, 2014)

"In order for a company to break even on a production, ticket prices would skyrocket. Dancer pay, venue rental, designer pay and equipment, marketing costs -- they don't come cheap. And if they do come cheap, they look cheap and that is a complete disservice to the dancemaker's work. Company directors are so concerned that people won't pay a certain price for a dance performance, not because it’s not worth the dollar amount, but because there is a culture of underselling ourselves in the name of making dance accessible.
….Let’s look at some actual math. It is well documented that dance and the arts generate revenue for local economies. They tap into tourists’ pockets and add a caché of culture and sophistication to a city. The performing arts also create jobs. And I don't mean just the jobs of dancemakers and performers. The technical crew, the artistic collaborators, the venues, the technical equipment rentals or purchases, the restaurant down the street from the venue, even the taxi driver that got you to a performance. Those are all real jobs from which people take home a paycheck and go on to spend buying groceries or clothes."
- Nora Younkin
(‘Dance and Capitalism: A Love-Hate Relationship,’ The Huffington Post, Jan 16, 2014)

"Nelson Mandela's life is a reminder that a gentle soul and a calm spirit can contain a fierce torrent of persistence and resistance in the face of evil, fascism and hate. May his life and words remind us of the potential of humanity and the possibility of peace."
- Dr. Anita R Ratnam

"When you are fifty, you're neither young nor old; you're just uninteresting. When you are sixty, and still dancing, you become something of a curiosity. And boy! If you hit seventy, and can still get a foot off the ground, you’re phenomenal!"
- Ruth St. Denis

"Odissi and sacred arts in general can be compared with the great rivers like the Ganges. They have flown for ages absorbing and discarding in the process. There is invincible power in this great tradition to flow into the future through every threat, very much like the rivers do. However, like nature, even art forms need conscious effort from mankind to survive. It is important that these old traditions speak to the new generations and the latter relates to them instead of thinking of them as boring or uncool."
- Bijayini Satpathy
(‘A leap of faith in Odissi’s journey’ by Diana Sahu, New Indian Exps, Dec 8, 2013)

"Choreography is simpler than you think. Just go and do, and don't think so much about it. Just make something interesting."
- George Balanchine

"Choreography is not weaving together gestures and expressions. It’s an individualistic point of view. It’s the outcome of your understanding and assimilation. It’s creating your niche. I restrict choreography mostly to modern pieces and like to perform classical works as they have been done over the years. You relive tradition through the classical arts and reflect the ‘now’ through contemporary creations. Challenges spur me. Art is continuum. It has to be inclusive."
- Ramli Ibrahim
(‘Stepping across borders’ by Chitra Swaminathan, The Hindu, July 19, 2013)

"The artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist."
- Ananda Coomaraswamy

"Dance is an immediate art form. Who knows how many great works could never be appreciated only because they did not match the taste that characterized the time or because they were poorly conveyed? Dance cannot be compared with literary or plastic work. The potentiality of these works can be discovered much later too and can be appreciated."
- Antonio Bühler
(‘Exploring the inner universe’ by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 25, 2013)

“Take kala (art) as the root word. All other art forms are interlinked. If dance is the root, then vocals, instrumental, painting, are also its branches and leaves.”
- Pt Birju Maharaj

"Like elsewhere, Indian dance and music too struggles with the obvious: studio space, financial resources, press coverage, petty rivalries, petulant critics and grandstanding older generation of artists and so on. But here in the U.S., classical Indian forms like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi or Kathak have an added burden (to say nothing of Kathakali, Manipuri or Koodiyattam). They have to extract their art from a wilderness of meaninglessness. The U.S. instinctively reduces all to its functional essence. This talent is both the genius behind its material successes and precisely what makes this society banal. Dance, in this schema, is reduced to stream of attractive movements and nothing more. But Indian dance emerges out of a culture that suffuses these adavus, mudras and kritis with meaning and metaphysics. The Indic cultural infrastructure - temples, sabhas, festivals, mythologies, families - fuels that meaning with a meaningfulness. That infrastructure which creates meaning is alien to the cultural geography of America..... Even performances in Mylapore or Matunga run the risk of being nothing but powdered pantomime. This is a problem of what to think of artistic efforts when the world out of which these arts emerged no longer exist. The U.S., as usual, puts this slow creep towards the absurd on steroids."
- Keerthik Sasidharan
(‘Madhuvanti in Manhattan,’ The Hindu, Sept 21, 2013)

"Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life."
- Picasso

"Classical dancers today face challenges from sponsors who want something novel, from audiences who can’t understand its sangeetam or sahitya (music or muse/literature) and government bodies which are under pressure to survive and deliver. Post-Independence India needed to revive its submerged dance forms, suppressed due to long alien rule. We salute the pioneers who left their villages and came to cities like Madras and Delhi and Bombay to propagate art and young dancers who left their families and all to learn an art form. Today, there are just too many dancers who think they are great artistes! They have barely learnt for few years and helped by PR type critics and reviews, aided now by FB and Twitter outreach, blogs and self-promotional tools, they arrive centre-stage and after few years of success, fade out. In each generation only two or three names in each form have always ruled the roost. True art stays forever.
Reputation takes years to build, on a national basis. Dancers ideally desire not only captive audiences but also captive critics!"

- Ashish Mohan Khokar
(‘Steps in time’ by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu, July 18, 2013)

"You relive tradition through the classical arts and reflect the ‘now’ through contemporary creations."
- Ramli Ibrahim

"Many dancers now are expanding the horizons. Research and choreography are popular. Dance therapy and dance to address specific needs are also ways to continue one’s relationship with dance.
There is a concept I find very interesting. Since dance is a composite art encompassing literature, history, mythology, aharya (costume design, jewellery, stage design, props), music, and science (human physiology, anatomy and psychology) - why can’t we integrate it into our education system to enhance it? In fact, dance is possibly the only link through which children can learn about our traditional and cultural heritage. A dancer aware of human anatomy and physiology can consciously teach dance to increase endurance, stamina, concentration and relaxation techniques to help improve one’s quality of life. Actually, these are works of universities teaching dance as a subject. The teachers there should come up with curriculums and courses which would empower dancers, and not just teach dance techniques.
"
- Sharmila Biswas
(‘Revolution, evolution and resolve’ by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu, June 27, 2013)

"Few people have the wisdom to prefer the criticism that would do them good, to the praise that deceives them."
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

"No matter who the composer is, the dancers should take care that they have the correct text before them, and its correct meaning. A singer can get by, knowing the general trend of the song. Not so the dancer, who has to match the stance, the hasta and the facial expression, word to word. The right pronunciation is imperative. The difference between ‘ga’ and ‘ka’ is minimal in Tamil. In Telugu, they give opposite meanings. ‘Allari Cheyagara’ means, ‘Come to be naughty’ and ‘Allari Chayakaram,’ means ‘Come without being naughty.’ A knowledge of the implied nuances is also essential."
- VAK Ranga Rao

"The truest expression of people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie."
- Agnes de Mille

"I feel, in many ways, the human body is the point of reference. Across any culture one recognises and reads gestures, gazes and positions in a human body and compares notes with what one knows to be beautiful or ugly or elegant or profound or meaningful. Funnily enough in different cultures across the globe, certain things can be read very differently. In that sense, one needs a lot of empathy, openness and be ready to learn new things when looking at art from elsewhere. These dancers might just come with a very different set of art principles and it can at times be confusing. In this day and age, because of the Internet and the global connections and an overflow of information, it is easier to realise something elsewhere might mean something else. I’ve noticed that art migrates a lot, it travels and elements that we found beautiful at a certain place and a certain time might, five years later, suddenly re-emerge elsewhere as profound or ridiculous. It is a strange process of taste and fashion, and I’ve seen that only a small minority of people sees through the element of fashion. I don’t think it’s wrong or right, I just notice it happens often. On the planet, I don’t consider one place more advanced than another ever in art, I do recognise there are places where people are more open or feel curious for other experiences in art from abroad. Prejudice is a danger always in anything human, if people think they know what they will feel before they allow themselves to experience it."
- Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
(‘Dancing away divides’ by Devina Dutt, The Hindu, Apr 27, 2013)

"Movement, then, in and of itself is a medium for the transference of an aesthetic and emotional concept from the consciousness of one individual to that of another."
-  John Martin

"My biggest responsibility, of course, is to be as sincere as I can in practising and preserving and nurturing this rare vidya. Traditions/practices have to evolve constantly and simultaneously grow deeper roots. The growth of tradition has to go both ways simultaneously. I am not comfortable with excluding the traditional practices for being contemporary. If an art touches/moves a person living in today’s world, if a person living in the contemporary world feels passionate about the practice of a tradition, the tradition is already contemporary."
- Kapila Venu
(‘A life less ordinary’ by Nita Vidyarthi, The Hindu, Jan 25, 2013)

"Dance should always only suggest. Dance is always about the completion of the idea in the mind of the audience."
- Methil Devika
(‘Giving a fair perspective’ by Nita Sathyendran, The Hindu, March 8, 2013)

"For serious artists, the need to re-invent their repertoire is as important as their understanding of the aesthetic values. Our rich literary heritage can be explored for nuggets of beauty when it comes to presenting new items. Many do not understand that it takes time to shape a dance piece to perfection. Instant creations just do not often click even with generous inclusion of the fire-works of pure dance sequences. Rasa is not merely a theory to be studied and debated on. The aim of a mature artist is to be creative with restraint in order to do something memorable. Whether it is a verse from Kalidasa or Kulasekara Azhwar, a deep study of the text can make our exploration worthwhile in our quest for that impression we strive to leave on the viewer."
- Lakshmi Vishwanathan
(‘Women and bhakti,’ The Hindu, Nov 30, 2012)

"Dance is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing. It’s the rhythm of your life. It’s the expression in time and movement, in happiness, joy, sadness and envy."
- Jacques d’ Amboise

"Mallika Sarabhai, a dancer and activist in Gujarat, has faced ‘censorship’ of sorts for having viewpoints that didn’t fit well with people in power. On a more ‘aam aadmi’ level, the police now imposes restrictions on dancers who wish to perform publicly. Of course, the banning of live music (which had a profoundly devastating impact on local musicians and bands) in Bangalore as well as the banning of dancing in pubs has caught quite a lot of media attention a few years ago. But even for ‘serious performers of dance’ in India, a very subtle form of censorship disguises itself as a ‘performance license’. Amongst several things that the performer has to agree not to do, the vague statements could potentially restrict the freedom of any kind of creative expression – the performance must not have “any impropriety of language”, “indecency of dress, dance, movement or gesture”, or “anything likely to excite feelings of sedition or political discontent”. The basis on which impropriety or indecency, or in fact, the expression of political discontent is to be measured is not mentioned anywhere, potentially limiting the creative freedom of a dancer to speak, dance, or dress a certain way. So, when the best of circumstances do not present themselves to a creative person, these killers of creativity make the creation of art an even more difficult task than it was to begin with."
- Aranyani Bhargav
(‘Killers of creativity,’ The Hindu, Feb 7, 2013)

"In a flurry of activity, the suggestive charm of Bharatanatyam is forsaken for overt narratives which play to the gallery. After all, much of dance is, at present, a community activity."
- Lakshmi Vishwanathan

"The character I play haunts me even after the performance, because I approach it through my heart.
With whatever knowledge I have of the aesthetics of art and the traditional way in which I have imbibed the spirit of enlightenment, I have innovated and contributed to Kathakali in trying to make it more popular. I have blended the stylised Kalluvazhi tradition with the more flexible semi-realistic emotion filled southern style technique. Kathakali without the elaborate costumes is easily comprehensible and so it is a good idea to initiate in people the love of Kathakali without the costume to start with. When rasikas have understood the finer nuances of Kathakali, then the costume assumes its place of importance. I personally would prefer the traditional approach and would not like to compromise on the finer aspects."

- Kalamandalam Gopi
(‘Art from the heart’ by Tapati Chowdurie, The Hindu, Dec 14, 2012)

"The most immediate way we experience the universe is through our body. This is why contemporary dance is the most honest expression because body movement, as they say, cannot lie. Even if you are pretending, it shows."
- P Jayachandran
(In 'Let your body feel' by Harshini Vakkalanka)

"Kudiyattam is profoundly, perhaps uniquely, therapeutic. But you shouldn’t think that this classical art is a “slow” one; in my experience - and by now our team has seen some seven full-scale plays, each one stretching over many nights and weeks - every moment is intricate, action-packed, resonant with a whole body of pre-existing texts, and irreplaceable. If you want to understand the whole, and to be moved as only the completed whole can move you, you can’t afford to miss even a single night of the entire performance. Some things in life - the best things - can’t be truncated or compressed. If it takes an hour or two to “speak,” that is, to enact in the language of gesture, a single lyrical line from a Sanskrit poem, so be it. If it takes twenty-nine nights to sculpt a fully formed reality out of empty space, or to explore the subtleties and inner meanings of longing and loss, so be it."
- David Shulman
(In ‘Creating and destroying the universe in twenty-nine nights’)

"Dancing is a very living art. It is essentially of the moment, although a very old art. A dancer’s art is lived while he is dancing. Nothing is left of his art except the pictures and the memories--when his dancing days are over. "
- Martha Graham

"The historical weight of traditional forms (in India) provides both a firm technical base to train in, and a firm place from which to launch into new territories. ‘Distinctive Indian style’ is arguably more about the diversity of styles than anything more unifying.
From my individual Western viewpoint as a theatre programmer and producer, I see a lack of professionals to help link artists and their work with the right audiences. It is extremely testing for artists to do the fundraising, marketing, press and publicity and contractual negotiations - as well as have the energy and focus to create fresh, stimulating work."

- Emma Gladstone
(In ‘New shores, uncharted waters’ by Parvathi Nayar, The Hindu, Nov 17, 2012)

"Every art is the expression of the ‘here and now’ when you celebrate its natural dynamics. Dance is movement, literature, archaeology, mysticism, music, painting, poetry and drama. It is a window to a larger life and culture."
- Chitra Visweswaran

In his erudite introduction to a volume on Rukmini Devi Arundale on the occasion of her birth centenary in 2004, former President R Venkataraman, as chairman of the Kalakshetra Foundation, wrote: “Aesthetics have been relegated to a margin in our life today. The springs of creativity do not well up as before in our people as a whole. We can boast of more painters, musicians and dancers than before. But, as a society, we seem to be less sensitive than earlier generations to the appeal of the aesthetic. Life has become prosaic; the daily routine is severely functional. The resultant monotony is sought to be relieved, therefore by diversions that are garish and high pitched, be it in colour or in volume. The quiet beauty of our traditional arts and crafts, the gentle repose and tranquility they engendered, are at a discount. A non-aesthetic life can all too easily degenerate into a violent and strife torn life. That eventually must be prevented.”

"Dance, (Indian or otherwise), like sport trains the body, increases its potential for physical intelligence, accuracy, strength, speed, alignment and develops kinaesthetic awareness. There is style in sport just as there is athleticism in dance."
- Shobana Jeyasingh (in ‘Dance celebrates its role in Olympics ceremonies whilst dance leaders respond to David Cameron's comments,’ Dance UK news, Aug 23, 2012)

"We have also developed some kind of a disconnect with our past. For instance what does natya mean? Is natya only natak? Natya is something that comes out of a nat. Who is a nat? A nat is somebody who is able to speak to you through his or her total polish - through angik, vachik, aharya, satvik (means of expression) and by all the subtle expressions of movements of hands and body of any kind. Then a dancer, a poet is also a nat, a film actor like Amitabh Bachchan is also a nat and Bhimsen Joshi is also a nat. So all those people who present something to a set of listeners or audience using the four genres is a nat. The Indian definition of Natya therefore is not just drama, not just music, theatre or poetry, it is everything, all of it together and therefore whatever activity the nat does is Natya.
Shastra is that methodology which ensures that when you do these things in such a manner then the result will be ensured. There will be ‘siddhi’. The audience will be pleased, the Gods will be pleased and the art would have succeeded. So that is Shastra. Hence the two words Natya Shastra. So the method of achieving an effective performance, predictable performance, in the field of any performing area is Natya Shastra."
- Bharat Gupt on the Natya Shastra
(‘Applied success’ by Nita Vidyarthi, The Hindu Friday Review, Aug 31, 2012)

"Dance is as competitive as sport, where only the fittest, strongest, most strategic thinking, most diligent practitioners survive. Dancers are athletes of the highest calibre"
- Charlotte Vincent
('Dance celebrates its role in Olympics ceremonies whilst dance leaders respond to David Cameron's comments,' Dance UK news, Aug 23, 2012).

"Most of our dance forms be it Bharatanatyam or Odissi were born in the temple. But there is a difference between the Devadasis in Odissi and the dancers who danced in the temples of Manipur. The priestesses used to dance and this was born as a form of worship and not entertainment. Scholar Kapila Vatsyayan has said beautifully in her book that Manipuri is the ancient most form and yet at the same time a very modern form."
- Priti Patel (‘Bhakti is the soul’ by Archana Nathan, The Hindu, June 1, 2012)

"The next time you look into the mirror, just look at the way the ears rest next to the head; look at the way the hairline grows; think of all the little bones in your wrist. It is a miracle. And the dance is a celebration of that miracle."
- Martha Graham

"Forty-four years and more than 100 dances later, I am still hoping to get it right, really right, at least once before I finish. But it doesn’t really matter whether I do, or do not, do it perfectly. I probably can’t. But what does matter is that in the arts it is the “struggle itself” for perfection that counts and lifts people the world over to take inspiration from a place where idealism and the search for beauty reign supreme. I thank the mother of all creation, or whomever is in charge of all of this, that I have been allowed to be a part of that action. In addition to that, I have had the good fortune of spending my life in the company of dancers, many hundreds of them by now, and that has always been an enormous source of inspiration - each of them a most splendid and unique vibration in a universe made of music."
- Lar Lubovitch in ‘The Big Bang, Quantum Physics and the drive to make Dances’, Dance USA, May 30, 2012

"Dance is a vibration of the spirit that stirs the body to move when music is being played. By that definition, it is not unreasonable to conclude that if the quantum universe is made of music, then we are all dancing right now."
- Lar Lubovitch

"I ask my organisers everywhere I perform whether I can do Kuchipudi but they want to see this new revived dance (Vilasini Natyam). I learnt Bharatanatyam from the age of 5. I learnt Kuchipudi from three sampradaayams. As a Brahmin, I revived the dance of the devadasis. People accuse me of neglecting Kuchipudi but I don’t believe that art and caste has anything to do with each other. As a dancer if I don’t perform what a dancing community performs then what should I do? Kuchipudi is not a dance followed professionally by women in Andhra. It was done part-time by Brahmins who were agriculturists."
- Swapnasundari
(‘Dancer as cultural activist’ by Priyadershini S, The Hindu, May 20, 2012)

"I will make an average man into an average dancer, provided he be passably well made. I will teach him how to move his arms and legs, to turn his head. I will give him steadiness, brilliancy and speed; but I cannot endow him with that fire and intelligence, those graces and that expression of feeling which is the soul of true pantomime."
- Jean Georges Noverre

"The attitude Now is to learn ‘items’ for a hefty fee, pay to get performance opportunities, pay to get written about, and generally “market ones danceability”! Packaging dance and presenting it have become more important. There are thus thousands of dancers in this metro and mediocrity is rampant. The serious dancer today is in a dilemma as Sheen has now become more important than the Substance. This mad rush to perform ‘asap’ on stage has led to many malpractices.
All the players in the field of dance – whether they are dancers, dance teachers, musicians, organizers, or critics, must have a passion for the dance form and realize that they are all part of a composite whole. Unless we believe in and understand what we are doing, and do it with devotion, dedication and sincerity, we will only add to the corruption and falling standards. Each component must work for the betterment of the art. The dancer is certainly the most important component, for - without the dancer, there is no dance!"

- S Janaki in ‘Socio-Economic Issues of Dancers: Now’

"I think the qualities that are looked for in an étoile (star) have changed over the years. The notion of a great classical stylist is no longer sufficient at the Opera. Today you need to be stylistically adaptable to dance ‘La Bayadère’ one night and ‘Mats Ek’ the next, and the director needs dancers who are incredibly strong technically and very reliable, because the repertoire is so much more diverse than it used to be and harder on their bodies. I think in the past perhaps a dancer’s technique didn’t have to be as solid if they were interesting artists, there was more room for individuality and personality."
-  Ariane Dollfus in ‘The complicated road to becoming a dancer Étoile’ by Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times, March 29, 2012

"Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you're perfectly free."

- Rumi

"I think the qualities that are looked for in an étoile (star) have changed over the years. The notion of a great classical stylist is no longer sufficient at the Opera. Today you need to be stylistically adaptable to dance ‘La Bayadère’ one night and ‘Mats Ek’ the next, and the director needs dancers who are incredibly strong technically and very reliable, because the repertoire is so much more diverse than it used to be and harder on their bodies. I think in the past perhaps a dancer’s technique didn’t have to be as solid if they were interesting artists, there was more room for individuality and personality."
- Ariane Dollfus in ‘The complicated road to becoming a dancer Étoile’ by Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times, March 29, 2012

"It dances today, my heart,
like a peacock it dances,
it dances.
It sports a mosaic of passions like a peacock’s tail,
It soars to the sky with delight, it quests,
Oh wildly, it dances today, my heart,
like a peacock it dances."

- Rabindranath Tagore

"I take care to teach my students that the kalari (practice stage) and the arangu (performance stage) are not the same. What is taught in the kalari is not what is performed on stage. In the kalari, there is a frame to be kept - a sort of uniformity, whereas in the arangu there is unlimited scope to explore emotions and individuality."
- (Margi Madhu in ‘The kalari and the arangu are not the same’ by Nita Sathyendran, The Hindu Friday Review, Sept 25, 2009)

"Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can."
- Martha Graham

"All dance has expression. If there is no expression, I prefer the circus. The performers do more dangerous, more difficult technical things than we do. But we are dancers. We have to express and we have to project."
- Luis Fuente

"Culture tourism, if evolved with care, can spread not mere awareness of the dances of our country, but also give visitors a glimpse of our living heritage. If small village temples can entertain bus-loads of tourists with the most esoteric dances in the island of Bali, why can't our destination spots be used regularly and more imaginatively to promote dance programmes? Incredible Indian dances all the way!"
- (Lakshmi Viswanathan in ‘Heritage at the crossroads,’ The Hindu, Dec 1, 2011)

"To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim."
-  Oscar Wilde

"I am glad that I have become a Bharatanatyam dancer. I think it is the most evolved and classical of all our dance forms. The sheer variety in Bharatanatyam is astounding. And there is so much to choose from – even for traditional pieces. I often feel that I just have to dip my hand in a pot and pick something from it to perform….. Sometimes I do feel we tend to experiment too much with tradition. I believe whatever we do in Bharatanatyam, it shouldn't be at the expense of the basics….In Delhi, you are exposed to all kinds of dance and art. And you also get a lot of exposure as a dancer. However, gaining respect from the dance circles in Chennai was not easy. They were, I believe, a bit skeptical. Here was a girl from Delhi, who was half-Malayali trying to do Bharatanatyam! But slowly, they began to appreciate me as a dancer."
- Rama Vaidyanathan (‘Alluring artistry’ by P K Ajith Kumar, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 21, 2011)

"Winners never do different things, they do things differently."
- Shiv Khera

"In my days, dance in cinema was dignified. It was a blend of tradition and some modernity. They were complete dances. We had to dance in one take. If someone made a mistake it went all over again. Today there is so much technological help. Everything is cut and paste, even dance. That's why you see girls, who are not dancers, seemingly dancing so well. Dance seems to have lost its soul."
- Vyjayantimala Bali
(‘Dance and Vyjayantimala’ by K Pradeep, The Hindu Metroplus, Nov 2, 2011)

"Only the fallen have an opinion. The risen have transcended the need to have an opinion."
- Anonymous



"You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life."
- J Krishnamurti

"I wish to bring to the dance, a vital energy that speaks in the present tense; this I owe as a practitioner of a great tradition that can rejuvenate itself by adapting to flux. Else, it will lose its vitality……
Many streams of aesthetics, poetry, philosophy and emotional impulse, flow together to create the item. Art experience is about encountering metaphors and making creative leaps. And critics and others who merely look for a literal ‘understanding’ of the piece, I think, lose out on the richness of the experience of rasa."

- Malavika Sarukkai
(‘Quest for deeper resonances’ in the Hindu, Jan 13, 2006)

"There are three kinds of dancers: first, those who consider dancing as a sort of gymnastic drill, made up of impersonal and graceful arabesques; second, those who, by concentrating their minds, lead the body into the rhythm of a desired emotion, expressing a remembered feeling or experience. And finally, there are those who convert the body into a luminous fluidity, surrendering it to the inspiration of the soul."
- Isadora Duncan

"Actually, there are two kinds of audiences for new plays. One set observes them without any pre-conceived notions about Kathakali and accept it as a way forward for the art form. Then there are those self-proclaimed ‘critics' who believe that it's their moral right to question why I've had the gall to change something – why Vavar, for example, doesn't follow a particular style of vesham. I don't believe in compromising the aesthetics of plays or characters to suit so-called traditionalists."
- Sadanam Harikumar
(‘Heralding change’ by Nita Sathyendran, The Hindu Friday Review, August 4, 2011)

"One is born to be a dancer. No teacher can work miracles, nor will years of training make a good dancer of an untalented pupil. One may be able to acquire a certain technical facility, but no one can ever ‘acquire an exceptional talent.’ I have never prided myself on having an unusually gifted pupil. A Pavlova is no one's pupil but God's."
- George Balanchine

"Like most classical arts in Kerala, it's the youth festivals that are keeping Mohiniyattam alive among the younger generation. Youth fetes are a good thing but they are just not enough for the future of performing arts. Now that they've taken out the Kalaparthibha-Kalathilakam titles and started awarding grades instead of first place, second place…in competitions, I find that it is actually a little demoralising for the young performers. After all, who doesn't want to win? They would have worked hard enough for it as it is. The government needs to be much more proactive. Much like they help sportspersons get placements, why can't the Government support those who choose performing arts as a career? Not only would such a move be an incentive for people to take up performing arts but it would also ensure that the arts sustain themselves."
- (Kalamandalam Vimala Menon in ‘My students are my wealth' by Nita Sathyendran, The Hindu Friday Review, June 24, 2011)

What is modern about modern dance is its resistance to the past, its response to the present, its constant redefining of the idea of dance.
- Marcia B. Siegel

"I see myself as upholding the best and highest of both the Hindu and the Christian religions. I have performed in temples and before Christian audiences in countries across the world and at every stage, themes from the Hindu tradition find place alongside Biblical themes. Well, if you ask me how the priest and the dancer in me reconcile with each other, I would say that priesthood is service and in our Indian tradition, dance is a spiritual activity where one surrenders oneself totally to God."
- Father Saju George
('A sadhana and a prayer' by Ambili Ramnath, The Hindu Friday Review, June 17, 2011)

"Dancing should look easy; like an optical illusion. It should seem effortless. When you do a difficult variation, the audience is aware that it is demanding and that you have the power and strength to do it. But in the end, when you take your bow, you should look as if you were saying, 'Oh, it was nothing. I could do it again.'"
- Bruce Marks

"Recently, I performed abhinaya in Delhi and the Kathak Kendra authorities were so mesmerised that they asked me to conduct a workshop for their students. What is a workshop? Are you producing some object in it? I don't believe in this quick method of teaching. You have to stick to a style. You cannot learn a bit of this and that and become a dancer. How can a guru teach someone for a week and begin calling that person a shishya?
Also, I feel abhinaya is dying out. There is no realism anymore. Pandit Hanuman Prasad was overweight in real life, but on stage he could make people believe he was a slim 16-year-old girl. That level of transformation has just disappeared from abhinaya."
(- Sunayana Hazarilal in 'The story of a gharana' by Ranjana Dave, The Hindu Friday Review, April 15, 2011)

"Man must speak, then sing, then dance. The speaking is the brain, the thinking man. The singing is the emotion. The dancing is the Dionysian ecstasy which carries away all."
- Isadora Duncan

"I did not have the good fortune to see real devadasis, but can imagine from the few surviving photographs that the techniques upheld today as a goal were not unknown among them. If sloppiness in one was hailed as a goal, while refinement in another was condemned, for whatever reason, perhaps we should examine the reasoning more closely, rather than the art itself. Whatever art form one undertakes, to have a command over the laws of grammar, of line, of pitch and harmony empowers one to make our art say what we mean it to say.
Kalakshetra never lacked for sringara. But there is a very thin line between art and pornography, between good and bad taste. There will always be those who want more graphic passion to be portrayed, while others are more moved by subtle expressions of desire. Certainly the dance world has changed since the beginnings of Kalakshetra, and the general views of society are ever changing."
- (Katherine Kunhiraman in ‘Eyes of change’ by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, March 18, 2011)

"Dance is the most perishable of the arts. Ballets are forgotten, ballerinas retire, choreographers die - and what remains of that glorious production which so excited us a decade ago, a year ago, or even last night?"
- Jack Anderson

"Since the male dancers perform in bare body, I warn them to keep their body in proper shape. I have observed that women are more suitable for Odissi's exclusive postures. But male dancers have stronger body and footwork that meets the demand of some exclusive characters and movements as well. However, it is easier to train a girl than a boy as in the case of the latter, the body takes longer time to be tun"
- Guru Bichitrananda Swain
('Danseur's perspective' by Shyamhari Chakra, The Hindu Friday Review, March 11, 2011)

"Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths."
- Martha Graham

"Some are reluctant reviewers who are sick and tired of reviewing stuff day in and day out. Considering the stuff they get to review, one does feel for them. (Even I try to get my books reviewed which thankfully, the sensible reviewers avoid.) There are health conscious reviewers who use reviews as a good therapy to get bile out of their system. There are express reviewers who review as fast as they can and in their haste, confuse one with another, and end up reviewing a completely different creation they have created. Then there are slow reviewers who never review anything. There are knowledgeable reviewers who end up writing about some great epic or movie they were reminded of and not what they were allegedly reviewing. There are elaborate reviewers who say nothing, and some who write small reviews that can kill. Some write all nice things and give bad ratings. Some write all bad things and give good ratings. Some say must watch and must read and shut off their phones before people start calling them.
All in all, I think I now understand and sympathise with the lot of the reviewers. Earlier only good books and good movies were made. Now everyone is writing and making movies, including me. Constant exposure to such toxic stuff would certainly affect anyone’s judgment. Our reviewers need rest from the stuff they are reviewing - only certified stuff should be given to them. It’s time we reviewed this whole reviewing business. But until then I suggest we have a review system to review the reviewers."
- Harimohan Paruvu
('It's time to review our reviewers' in The New Sunday Express' dated Jan 30, 2011)

"The dance is the mother of the arts. Music and poetry exist in time; painting and architecture in space. But the dance lives at once in time and space."
- Curt Sachs

"Most of the dancers are impatient to come on stage without attaining a proper level of perfection. Number of half-baked teachers and gurus are also in the rise. Odissi today is in unsafe hands. To make a dance teacher a guru, one must have adequate knowledge of literature and music apart from a mastery over dance. It is also important to learn from life and nature around us that teaches a lot."
- Odissi Guru Sudhakar Sahu
('The state of Odissi' by Shyamhari Chakra, The Hindu, Dec 31, 2010)

"Dance is a constant communication; not just performing. Every experience and communication has to be through the body; the intellect is only one part of the body."
- Sardono Waluyo Kusomo

"Nothing should be taken as good or acceptable merely because it is old. Nothing is bad merely because it is new. Great men accept the one or the other after examination and deliberation. Only a fool has his mind led by the beliefs of others. Those are not my words. That was a translation of Kalidasa's ‘Malavikagnimitra', Act I, verse 2!"
- (Heike Moser in ‘Bowled over by Koodiyattam’ by Suganthy Krishnamachari, The Hindu Friday Review, October 22, 2010)

"The trained dancer must not only have grace and elegance, but also the leap of an Olympic hurdler, the balance of a tight-rope walker and panther-like strength and agility."
- Camilla Jessel

"I think we are fast being sucked into the vortex of globalisation. I have always thought that music, art, sculpture and painting, are all spiritual endeavours. It is sad to see all this grossly commercialised. We see values like freedom, love, or something profound like meditation and even our classical arts, say Kathakali, used to sell products. There is trivialisation, which will send wrong signals to the children and youth of the country."
(Louba Schild in 'End of a journey' by K Pradeep, The Hindu Friday Review, Aug 28, 2009)

"All display of talents do not become an object of art; the talent that touches the hearts of onlookers and listeners only can be called an art, be it music, painting, sculpture or dance."
- VP Dhananjayan

"In those days, they used to master about 30 kritis and were very comfortable with them, and each time the concert was a success. Artistes now learn more songs to cater to different needs. For instance, for Ramanavami one needs several songs on Rama. We have to learn many more songs, which we have not mastered like the old people. That is why, the repertoire has increased, but the quality has not increased. In earlier times, every artiste was special in his own way, and had established his own mark, whereas now, we have no stamp of our own."
- (Neela Ramgopal in ‘A student forever’ by Madhavi Ramkumar, The Hindu Friday Review, May 21, 2010)

"A day I don't dance is a day I don't live."
- Tunisian dancer, quoted in Serpent of the Nile

"Fusion often trails into confusion! There should be no compromise, no gimmicks. For tradition bound artists, innovation is a constantly evolving process �" the chandas, layakari, abhinay. Inspired by nature, my guru creates a new tihai. It is every artist's desire to draw the audience into his creative space. However, a surfacing genre called contemporary Kathak actually distorts the form, going against tradition. We are unhappy with this self-styled form, as it does not reflect Kathak's quintessential elements. One can get experimental but shouldn't name it after a great tradition, especially when one deviates from its spirit."
- (Saswati Sen in ‘Awesome experiences’ by Lalithaa Krishnan, The Hindu Friday Review, July 23, 2010)

"Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather to all who can read it"
- Martha Graham

"When I popularised Abhinayadarpanam, many in Orissa objected fiercely, saying this is not Bharatanatyam. But nowhere in the text does it say the Abhinayadarpanam is for Bharatanatyam. I realised it was necessary to form an association. Pankaj Charan Das, Debu Prasad Das and I, along with others, formed Jayantika. My friend D.N. Pattanaik also joined. The gurus would demonstrate movements and we would correlate them with what was written in the shastras. From the Natya Shastra and Abhinayadarpanam, we selected those elements that applied to the practice of Odissi dance. For example, Abhinayadarpanam mentions akasha bhramari (a pirouette done in the air). We don't have this movement in Odissi, so we did not include it in our list. The gurus had all been following the system without knowing the names. We needed some erudite people with us to convince them."
- Odissi guru Mayadhar Raut
('Theatre of memory' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, Aug 6, 2010)

"There are three steps you have to complete to become a professional dancer: learn to dance, learn to perform, and learn how to cope with injuries"
- D Gere

"As an artist, innumerable times you don't feel up to it. But as you have made a commitment, you have to perform. And as a performance is in progress you feel that you are not meeting your standards, then you try to salvage the performance. You try to do better and hope the audience forgets the earlier mis-steps, you try to tap into inner recess of your self and save the performance. That is the real test of a good dancer."
- (Alekhya Punjala in 'The danseuse as a teacher' by Serish Nanisetti, The Hindu Metro Plus, July 3, 2010)

"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are."
- Chinese proverb

"War, terrorism and aggression will continue. This has been the sad history of humankind. And we as human beings confronted with this condition need to bring about a change towards harmony both outwardly and inwardly. Art at the deeper level only reaffirms this spirit of harmony. It speaks of emotions and yet transcends them to open up spaces of expansiveness within each one of us. In this way, I do believe, the arts have the power to enrich one's life with positive energies."
- (Malavika Sarukkai, in 'Wings of rhythm' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, May 28, 2010)

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures."
- Henry Ward Beech

I feel that choreography is not just a combination of steps. Like Béjart once said in an interview, "My choreography is not just for fun. Enjoy it, but each step means something." And I believe in that. But before that, I need to get out of my dance career, for you can't combine a dance career with choreographing. You have to be a choreographer 24 hours a day"
- 'A conversation with Kirill Melnikov' by March Haegeman, Dance View, Vol 16 #3, Summer 1999

"The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Every second person is bringing out a DVD! But in the last 10 years, everyone is studying quite a bit I must say. What they understand I don't know. Sometimes you find wrong quotations in wrong places! But I have no faith in critics ever since I overheard one describe a performance as something from a red light area and then read a glowing report in the paper. Those who know dance and write are few."
- NS Jayalakshmi
('Stuff of legends' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, December 25, 2009)

"After years of hectic solo performances across the globe, I now wish to encourage many of my talented disciples. Hence, this Margazhi I am focussing totally on group performances. I think youngsters should be given an orientation on how one could introduce novelty in every aspect of the dance - make-up, costume, music - without deviating from aesthetics. Also, they need to be taught to respect heritage. It's nice to appreciate and be inspired by everything around you, but it is essential to maintain the identity and sanctity of your art."
- Padma Subrahmanyam
('Taking centre stage once again' by Chitra Swaminathan, The Hindu Dec 1, 2009)

"Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart."
- Martha Graham

"Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you."
- William Arthur Ward

"There is definitely a tradition in the training of Koodiyattam but the performance aspect has always changed with the times with new influences and new outlook. So there is no such thing as a permanent tradition. My aim is to give a contemporary almost human touch to traditional stories that are mostly full of divine characters. My innovations are not anything new per se, rather they are a re-working, a revitalisation of the old. The challenge then is to change the mindset. It is not easy considering everything is a spectacle these days. All that the viewers want is the edited cream and not the essence so to speak."
- (Margi Madhu in 'The kalari and the arangu are not the same' by Nita Sathyendran, The Hindu Friday Review, Sept 25, 2009)

"Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion."
- Martha Graham

"Teaching for 60 long years has given me a lot - the joy of give and take, the pleasure of mothering so many children, discovering new energy levels, caring and sharing and cherishing long-lasting bonds. I certainly have no regrets about not being a performer."
- KJ Sarasa
('Sarasa Teacher looks back' by Chitra Swaminathan, The Hindu Friday Review, Nov 6, 2009)

"We have no right to tamper with the rich legacy handed over to us by elders. Our objective should only be to foster it and hold it up for the future. Youngsters should take the right route by following what is sampradaya. You might ask whether you do not have the swathanthram to innovate. You do have the liberty I admit but don't take democracy into your hands as it is always dangerous for art. The Vedas for example have never undergone a change for over several thousand years. Not a single swara has been changed. Our music that has a strong link with the Vedas has to be fostered for posterity in the same fashion. Even now I practise regularly and also give lec-dems. I am still researching on how to keep the audience mesmerised by my music. I keep researching on composer's bhavam, structural beauty and bhava shuddham of many kritis. You may have practised a particular raga for several hours at home, but in the concert you will find your imagination drying up even by the fifth minute and that is a curse. You should have a command over music and to achieve that you should practise regularly."
- (RK Srikantan in 'We have no right to tamper with legacy' by V Balasubramanian, The Hindu Friday Review, Sept 11, 2009)

"It's not a teacher's onus to create platforms for students. It's the teacher's onus to create students for platforms."
- Swapnasundari

"Strangely students of the performing arts are neglected; actually they have as little access to performers, except their teachers, as anybody else.
At a very basic level, there is no difference between music and dance or the various disciplines within. They are all forms of cultural expression. We need to give the next generation more access, more exposure so that it adds to their growth; not just as performers but as people."
- (TM Krishna in 'For the youth only�' by R Krithika, The Hindu Sunday Magazine, Aug 23, 2009)

"Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition."
- Jacques Barzun

"Thoroughness is often an admirable ideal. But it is an ideal to be adopted with discrimination, having due reference to the nature of the work in hand. An artist, it seems to me now, has not always to finish his work in every detail; by not doing so he may succeed in making the spectator his co-worker, and put into his hands the tool to carry on the work which, as it lies before him, beneath its veil of yet partly unworked material, still stretches into infinity. Where there is most labour there is not always most life, and by doing less, provided only he has known how to do well, the artist may achieve more."
- 'The dance of life' by Havelock Ellis (1923)

"The diversity of the Many is balanced by the stability of the One. That is why life must always be a dance, for that is what a dance is: perpetual slightly varied movements which are yet always held true to the shape of the whole."
- 'The dance of life' by Havelock Ellis (1923)

In a dancer, there is a reverence for such forgotten things as the miracle of the small beautiful bones and their delicate strength. In a thinker, there is a reverence for the beauty of the alert and directed and lucid mind. In all of us who perform there is an awareness of the smile which is part of the equipment, or gift, of the acrobat. We have all walked the high wire of circumstance at times. We recognize the gravity pull of the earth as he does. The smile is there because he is practicing living at that instant of danger. He does not choose to fall.
At times I fear walking that tightrope. I fear the venture into the unknown. But that is part of the act of creating and the act of performing.
That is what a dancer does.
(Martha Graham in 'I am a Dancer')

"What happens when you dance totally? The dancer disappears in a total dance. That's my definition of the total dance: the dancer disappears, dissolves; only the dancing remains. When there is only dancing and no dancer, this is the ultimate of meditation - the taste of nectar, bliss, God, truth, ecstasy, freedom, freedom from the ego, freedom from the doer. And when there is no ego, no doer, and the dance is going on and there is no dancer, a great witnessing arises, a great awareness like a cloud of light surrounding you."
- Osho

"To popularise any art form, you must set it free from its religious symbols. In the case of Koodiyattam, the moment it comes out of koothambalams, it loses its religious symbolism. Koodiyattam is in a better position now than it was 25 years ago"
- Margi Madhu
('In search of new symbols' by Anil S, The New Sunday Express, Oct 5, 2008)

"No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time; it is just that others are behind the times."
- Martha Graham

"Sattriya dance needs understanding from its practitioners. That which is textual needs visualization, that which is practiced needs clarity, that which is unclear needs logical explanation. Therefore it is work, work and only selfless hard work that will make us realize our dreams."
- Prateesha Suresh
("Rejuvenating a legacy" Assam Tribune, Guwahati, Dec 10, 2004)

"The dancer's body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul."
- Isadora Duncan

"I believe that every teacher-student relationship goes through a transition. There is no point in trying to force out submission from anyone. It automatically comes as the student's love for dance grows."
- Mira Kasuhik ('Succour and hope through dance' by Nandini Bhattacharyya, The Hindu, March 2, 2007)

"The true success of a teacher is measured by how well the student teaches in return."
- J A McNulty

"There is no hard and fast rule that a performing artist will cater to his own interests if given a permanent post. It depends on how sensitive a person is to fellow artists."
- L K Pandit in 'Holding art to ransom', The Pioneer, Delhi, June 9, 2005

"One has the liberty to make innovations on an art form but, mind you, when you clean the glass frame of a beautiful painting, beware of the dirt on your hands."
- Vallathol

"Most critics are by temperament either believers or skeptics. Believers aren't invariably more supportive than skeptics, and skeptics aren't always more 'critical' (meaning negative). It seems to me performance � and all art really � is about pretending. It's about doing one thing that conceals or reveals another thing. The fact that art isn't self-evident is what makes it different from real life. It seems to me criticism is the practice of discovering the nature of that paraphrase��
Dancers routinely hate critics in public and thank them in private. There's an overwhelming dancer pressure, overt, covert, unrelenting, for us to be their supporters, their promoters, for us to make their careers happen somehow. This is harder to resist in smaller communities, where we often have social and professional relations with dancers��"
- Marcia B Siegel in 'Critical Practice in the Age of Spin' � DCA (Dance Critics Association) News Winter 2005

"Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher."
- Japanese proverb

"If you want to dance from the heart and not just with two feet, art has to be a state of being. It has to constantly be there around you, reflect in your behaviour, speech, action and emotion. It also has to extend beyond your life and thinking, absorb and reflect the pain and joy of others...
I don't want people to turn away at the mention of classical arts. It's there for all to appreciate and enjoy. You create the distance and then crib about lack of audience and awareness. Being on stage does not mean you are on a pedestal. You cannot live in a vacuum. We need to reach out; spread warmth and cheer through art...
I love reading joke books and am known as a clown in my friends' circle. People who cannot laugh have not lived."
(Sonal Mansingh in 'Art as a state of being' by Chitra Swaminathan, The Hindu Friday Review (Delhi), March 28, 2008)

"Be it Tamil or Chinese, the poetry of Subramania Bharati or the bhajans of Mira Bai, bhava as experienced through Bharatanatyam is universal to all languages."
- Guru Kalyanasundaram Pillai ('Of 'talking' feet' by Vidya Saranyan, The Hindu Friday Review, Dec 26, 2008)

"For them (NRIs), dance is a moment of being Indian...everyone organizes dance recitals and feels Indian at that point before they put on their office suits and merge with the mainstream. I am working towards changing that...and you'll be surprised how many takers there are for Indian and south Asian dance as a serious way of life in Britain."
- Mira Kaushik in 'Jewels in the British Crown' by Sushmita Bose (Sunday Hindustan Times, New Delhi, March 4, 2007)

"At every performance, I want there to be at least one person who hits his nose on the closed door of the theatre because it's sold out"
- Guy Laliberte, Cirque du Soleil's founder
('Cirque Dreams Big' by Steve Freiss, Newsweek, July 28, 2003)

"I've heard great thumris from Abdul Karim Khan, Bade Ramdasji, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan... But a woman singer brings a special quality - and mind you, it has to be a married woman, not an inexperienced girl, to do justice to the complex experiences of love. I saw Shambhu Maharaj and Lacchu Maharaj dance thumris, and that opened up a whole new understanding of how to shape, fine tune, and empower the facets of love� People think that thumri was a late development in the Mughal durbar. No, no. It is an ancient form going back to the padam of Carnatic music.
I sing for my guru. I sing for God. I am happy if you like my singing, but not unhappy if you don't. I have passed many stages in my life. Now, I know that nothing is greater than music."
- Girija Devi in 'Queen of thumri' by Gowri Ramnarayan, The Hindu Metro Plus, Nov 11, 2008

"I can do my dance, and I can feel one thing, and the audience member can see it and feel another, and
there's nothing wrong...It gives everybody a lot of room"
- Douglas Dunn (DCA News Spring 2000)

"There are more listeners than ever before. In earlier days, you would rarely see a house full for a classical concert but now any good concert sees a sea of people. You find people chatting away to glory either with the next person or on the phone. If it is a doctor attending to an important call, I understand but not otherwise. There is a certain protocol one needs to follow. If you are such a busy man, then why come to a concert? Just think of the musician who is performing with highest intensity and concentration on the stage. It is very disturbing. (Unlike many classical musicians who belong to one style or gharana, Shubha chose not to attach herself to any one particular gharana or technique) I think what's more important than the gharana is to attribute the songs to the respective gurus and I do that on stage."
- (Shubha Mudgal in 'A class apart' by Mangala Ramamoorthy, The Hindu Metro Plus, Oct 27, 2008)

"Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music."
- Marcel Marceau


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