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Devi Diaries

Anita says.....

Aug 2021

Dancers are athletes of the spirit.
- Martha Graham, American modern dance icon

And so, we have arrived at month #18 of our confined existence. April 2020 to August 2021.

Do not believe the stories that the world has opened up and that people are running around the beaches without masks. It may be happening in the USA where rules rarely seem to matter when it comes to personal liberty, but everyone is steeling themselves for the Delta or Lambda variant and the Third Wave.

Many eyes turned away from dance platforms to watch the stunning opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. And, of course to cheer the brave efforts of Manipuri weight lifter Mirabai Chanu who scored India's first silver medal. How many more honours will come our way is not the only question. Besides cricket, does our country actually care about any other sport?

Dance gurus are exhilarated as so many of their students have shone brilliantly in their school final exams. What a double delight to have a good dance student who also excels in academics! The turning point arrives when girls turn 18, and leave for brighter financial horizons! The only hope is that the experience of 10 years in a dance environment has sensitized them as individuals and future rasikas.

So, this editorial is about the lesser revealed and not so glamorous work that some dance advocates are immersed in. While thousands are rehearsing, filming, posting videos of themselves in warm up sessions and weight training, I am sidestepping this nonstop barrage of videos to write about what caught my eye and mind space..

Read on...

Art leads to beauty, beauty leads to the female energy and motherhood, ultimately it all leads to God. And God is neither male nor female.
- Narthaki Nataraj
('The tough truth of being a male dancer' by Madhur Gupta, Hindustan Times, June 13, 2021)

Avinash Pasricha (photographer): Aug 2
Navtej Johar (Bharatanatyam): Aug 8
Kala Krishna (Andhra Natyam): August 11
Shanta Dhananjayan (BN): August 12
Vyjayanthimala Bali (BN): Aug 13
Vijay Shanker (critic): Aug 14
Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharody (Kathakali): Aug 15
Ramaa Bharadvaj (BN): Aug 25

Ramappa temple, Telangana  ; Photo: Veejay Sai
Recently UNESCO certified the Rudreshwara Ramappa Temple in Telangana as a world heritage site. Built in the 13th century in Palampet, on the outskirts of the city of Warangal, the Ramappa Temple is one of the finest examples of the Kakatiya architectural heritage. Inscriptions date the temple to 1213 AD built by a general Racherla Rudra Reddy under the reign of King Ganapati Deva. The inner sanctum is dedicated to Lord Shiva while there are several smaller shrines around the temple complex. Some of the best preserved sculptures of dance can be found in this temple. It was in the Kakatiya kingdom that Jayappa Senapati authored the famous ‘Nritta Ratnavali’, a comprehensive treatise on classical dance. The exquisite dance sculptures in different parts of the temple complex tell us about the thriving culture of patronage towards dance in the Kakatiya kingdom.
- Veejay Sai

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