Shakthi- the energy of thought, desire and action
Natya Shastra sets out what constitutes a good dancer. Appearance is one among several stringent demands. Eyes, especially, says a thousand words. When I decided to see a dance feature performed by an ensemble that include the visually challenged, I set aside the rule of the Shastra and gave a break to my impressions on blind people’s capabilities, and watch with "open eyes" and open mind. I sat amazed as the performance unfolded, discounting their disability but showcasing their ability - an ability to give us a visual treat, despite their visual challenges.
For the visually impaired, every step is an adventure. These dancers have overcome the fears of falling and made their hesitant moves into beautiful movements across space in time. Their adaptation to the restricted space, orientation towards the cardinal directions, and exhibiting gestures which they have never seen, left the audience amazed. In this age of dance dramas performed by classical dancers, who pay no attention to the authenticity of the aharya which need to complement the role played, the blind changing costumes for each segment of their appearances, left the audience in wonder. Handling stage accessories, and placing them in allotted slots thus building a visual grandeur as the dance progressed, left the audience speechless.
Indian classical dances demands a high degree of practice and perseverance.
The geometrical precision of Bharatanatyam with its complex rhythm patterns
was dexterously performed. The Sanskrit shlokas were well articulated through
codified mudras. Amongst the audience were some visually disabled who seemed
to enjoy an audio imagery created through the foot work of their brethren.
This event was a fund raiser by the challenged to extend medical facilities to the ailing musicians. By creating a dance tapestry, the visually challenged gave us a message. If we can do it, you can do it too. "Arise, awake, attempt and achieve your dreams".