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Roshini Saravanakumar

ISM- Period 7
Puri, Rajika. "PARADIGM OF INDIA'S CLASSICAL TRADITION: BHARATANATYAM AS
PERFORMED TODAY." University of Illinois, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
<http://jashm.press.illinois.edu/3.3/3-3Paradigm_Puri117-138.pdf>.

Dancer enters the stage from the right and performs salutations to the deity, the teacher, and to
the audience.
Then, the dancer pays respects to the earth.
Costumes are very similar to saris. They consist of six yards of hand-woven silk interwoven
with gold threads (Puri 124).
Today, people buy saris and then re-stitch them into costumes. The dancer also wears about ten
pieces of golden jewelry.
Dance recitals are always accompanied with music. The instruments include a pair of small
cymbals, a drum, singers, a flute, and a violin. Each dance begins with a prelude.
Musicians use the prelude to introduce the ragam, or the melody to which the dance is set.
The Natyasastra is a dance encyclopedia that contains the theory and performance of the arts. It
consists of 36 chapters.
Each of the chapters discuss topics like the origin of drama, different prayers, how language is to
be used in theater, and how the theater is to be presented.
Also included are costumes, makeup, types of characters (archetypes), and types of plays.
The part of the Natyasastra that pertains to Bharatanatyam are the chapters that discuss how
different parts of the body move, types of sentiments and emotion. Everything is given a Sanskrit
name and described in detail. The manual also shows in what situations each movement can be
used when telling a story
When the dance was revived, it was changed. It went from being an art concentrated in one area
to an art that was known throughout the country. After the British invasion, nationalists
attempted to create a singular culture in India that joined people of different religions and
languages.
Bharatanatyam became a non-specific art because it was in the hands of the upper class and
practiced by a variety of groups in India. It became an art that had non-specific connotations,
even though the accompanying music is usually in a South Indian language.
Many famous dancers are not familiar with the language of the music they are dancing to.
Most dancers communicate through English or Hindi.
There are two directions in which the art is usually pushed.
Some people try to make it more classical- they use Sanskrit terminology so that Tamil names
that were used during the revival are lost.
They are more rigorous in applying the theories in the Natyasastra. The dance becomes more
romantic, as devotion is expressed as passion.
The second direction is modernizing the dance. It becomes more secular as the themes become
more about non-religious activities that modern India celebrates.
Most contemporary dancers are not related to the dance tradition by blood. Teachers have started
out as dancers.

This is a very thorough and extensive account of how modern dance has been shaped throughout the
years from the end of British rule until now, and covers a wide variety of topics, from the Indian
Dance Encyclopedia to what the dance has grown to mean to India as a whole.