The eternal dance of life…
Indian classical arts are steeped in tradition and often represent history, culture or religion. In today’s society it is sometimes questioned why we need to keep these ancient art forms alive, and what meaning they have for us today.
We asked our Nritya Ratna candidates why they feel it’s important to celebrate the classical arts of India, and here’s what they had to say…
Sauraya Amin Kathak
We should continue to celebrate the classical arts of India because as well as being rich in heritage and culture, the Indian classical dance forms, such as Kathak, are an antidote to modern life – a snapshot into a fascinating time gone by. They’re also extremely relevant to today’s world, providing a forum for portrayal of varied and current themes framed in beautiful aesthetics.
Apoorva Jayaraman Bharatanatyam
The classical art forms of India are unique. The more I have had the chance of experiencing other cultures around the world, it has struck me in no uncertain terms that our arts are one of their kind in the world, especially in their essence of being completely individualistic. You can listen to or watch a great classical artist for years, and no two moments will be the same – their art is inexhaustible. Neither are the arts replicable – as students of art we don’t try to ‘play like’ or ‘dance like’ a legend, but endeavour to achieve greatness as they did. The significance of this uniqueness is often underplayed, but rightfully deserves to be celebrated.
Living in UK in the recent years additionally brought me in touch with the limited image that exists outside of India of its cultural side. It was disturbing to find that Indian dance was synonymous with ‘Bollywood’. I believe we classical artists own a better part of the blame for we don’t make enough noise about our art forms. I think we have the privilege of knowing and owning something very precious, and it’s our duty to celebrate it and flaunt it. If we as artists do not, it is unreasonable to expect that anybody else will.
Ragini Madan Kathak
It is important to cultivate an appreciation and awareness of Indian classical art forms as they are an integral part of Indian culture; mirroring the society in which they exist. Their evolution over time helps to understand the trajectory of our rich culture, religious and philosophical thoughts.
Indian classical arts forms are a powerful medium of expression; they are appealing to the senses, stimulate the intelligence of the performer and the viewer. They provide a means to express, share and communicate performers’ perspectives, ideas and understanding of the world. We should continue to work towards preserving these beautiful creations that celebrate life, cultivating an environment to develop these art forms, which have lived from time immemorial.
Hiten Mistry Bharatanatyam
As second generation Indians we have learnt so much about our rich heritage, culture, values and such beautiful philosophy through the beauty of our art forms and the eternal relevance they have to contemporary society. The saying, “art imitates life”, rings true for me as for me Bharatanatyam is the eternal dance of life… this makes it all more the reason to celebrate, propagate, learn, grow and evolve them for our present and future so other aspirants may also benefit from Rasa Ananda – the feeling of complete inner joy and fulfilling energy one receives from truly practicing our art forms
Jyoti Parwana Bharatanatyam
I am a strong believer in moving with the times and love experimenting with contemporary ideas. However, I also believe it’s vital to preserve the classical arts of India to help inspire who we are and continue to remind us where we have come from.
Classical arts of India have inspired generations and moulded popular culture around the world. The impact of classical Indian art forms can be seen everywhere in today’s society from music videos to fashion. I feel that it is my duty as a classical Indian dancer and someone who is extremely passionate about my art form, to share with the world the beautiful richness all classical arts of India posses.
Uma Venkataraman Bharatanatyam
The classical arts of India are steeped in ancient traditions and cultures, providing an immeasurable depth of history along with both emotional and intellectual stimulation. It is all due to our ancestors that these art forms have been passed down through centuries to us now, with each generation providing a new take on them. The classical art forms of India whether they are music, dance or literature all have a strong scientific basis and can therefore keep one mentally stimulated for a lifetime. The emotional impact of these universal classical art forms can be experienced by all throughout life, regardless of age, gender or ability. We have been fortunate enough to have teachers who can pass on these art forms to us and we must celebrate them and propagate them so that future generations can gain the same enjoyment and benefit as we have.