Dance is an art form perhaps as old as human civilization. Evidence of dance existing in the stone age is evident in 30,000 year old Stone shelters at Bhambetka in central India, which are now considered as Heritage by UNESCO.
Dance is not only an expression of happiness or festivities but also a means of story telling which is passed on from generation to generation.
The kaleidoscope of cultures that South Asia is, one finds innumerable dance forms, both classical and folk, as we move from one sub culture to another.
RUNG 2014 is honored to feature a few of those dance forms at ROM.
A dance from Kerala a southernmost Indian state, literally means a dance-drama. ( Katha means story).
Known for its symbolic makeup that identifies them into godly, demonic or human characters, the dancers also adorn colorful, bellowing costumes and crowns. Themes are usually from Hindu Epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana are narrated through fine facial movements of eyes, eyebrows, nose, cheeks and chin along with highly intricate hand gestures. Accompanying vocalists and musicians narrate the story as songs.
Anupama Dineshkumar and Preetha Kandanchatha present Kathakali at RUNG 2014.
This is another dance from Kerala, and literally means ‘dance by a enchantress’ ( Mohini means a seducing woman). As the name signifies, it is a dance exclusively performed by women. The theme for the dance is mostly Love, and performed through delicate expressions of hands, enchanting facial expressions and flowing steps by feet, supported by vocal and instrumental Carnatic music. The dancer adorns a white brocaded saree, intricate gold jewelry and white jasmine flowers in the hair.
Mohiniattam shall be presented by will be presented by Preetha Kandanchatha, Vrinda Kandanchatha, Anjeetha Raghuram and Sujatha Ganesh from SG Expressions.
A classical dance form from the Indian state of Odisha, the dance traces its roots from temples back in the 2nd Century B.C. The torso movement is very important and an unique feature of the Odissi style. With the lower half of the body remaining static, the torso moves from one side to the other along the axis passing through the centre of the upper half of the body. The dancer adorns very intricate filigiree silver jewelry and a typical silver crown on the head called Mukoot.
Odissi dance is brought by Nrityakala by students of renowned Maneka Thakker.
Sri Lankan Dance:
Kandyan dance, a traditional Sri Lankan dance gets its name from Kandy, the central hills of Sri Lanka. The legend behind the dance is said to be a ritual exorcism performed to ward off Black Magic which caused evil dreams to the King. After the performance fo the ritual the dreams vanished, and hence the locals adopted the dance.
The dance is now performed for its cultural value.
Rangara Dance Academy and Pratibha Dance & Music Acdemy shall bring performances from Sri Lankan Traditional Dances.
Afghan Folk Dance:
Atan is the national dance of Afghanistan, performed mostly by the Pashtuns. It is performed in festivals, weddings and other occaisions, and is known to be the oldest form of Pagan dance. A group of dancers perform in a circle, to the beats of drums going faster with each round.
Different Afghan tribes have slight differing styles of dance movements.
Attan is brought by Afghan Women’s Organizations youth group.
Brief introductions of other beautiful dance forms to be performed at RUNG 2014 shall be continued in the next blog.
Talking to some of these accomplished dancers I realized it is impossible to separate the dance from the dancers.