Ram ji ki chaal dekho, aankho ki majaal dekho , tattad tattad tattad ; as this song started on television, my one and half year old nephew, who was busy playing with his teddy bears and pseudo mobile phone, turned his face towards TV and got up with the help of tea table over there and began to shake his head and then slowly trying to shake his whole body. So expressive and joyous was the scene, that when he did it and he grabbed everyone’s attention. And we all were enjoying, laughing, encouraging, clapping. He clearly didn’t know the lyrics but yes the music attracted him and the movements came naturally. The happiness, exuberance could be seen clearly on his face.
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body”- Martha Graham
Dance is something that liberates us inside out. It is the expression of soul. It is a way to utter our all kind of emotions. Be it happiness, sorrow, anger, love. From the time civilization originated, it has been there as the important part of human society. Whenever one wanted to celebrate, they expressed it through dance. Whenever people wanted to feel the divine grace and were unable to find the way, dance made them feel that divine presence. It is a bridge between inner world and outer world. It is not just about shaking the body. It is much more than that. It is spiritual but yes it has many benefits to the physical health too as it needs the assistance of body organs.
It is healthy for mental as well as physical health and people all over the world know its significance. It is sort of exercise with fun and interest. In India and in many different countries of the world, the approach and style of it is diverse and different and this adds to its beauty. Whatever be the dance form, the aim is all the same “to express” and “to emote“.
“Dance is bigger than the physical body. When you extend your arm, it doesn’t stop at your fingers, because you are dancing bigger than that ; you are dancing spirit. “- Judith Jamison
India has been the most ancient land in the earth and so is it’s culture. Different parts of India have several number of dance forms, each one uniquely styled in its own way and technique. Every dance form relates to certain community and every dance form has its story regarding origination.
‘ Kathak ‘, one of the most prominent Indian classical dance form, originated from the word “Katha kathan” i.e. storytelling. In ancient days, to tell the mythological stories in expressive mode and through body language, it was initiated in temples. Then it had its phases. It came out of temples, entered into mughal emperor’s court and saw various changes in it. Those changes enriched it though. Songs and lyrics were started being written specially for dance and this dance form augmented. The impact of this dance form is so ineradicable that several filmmakers used it in their many films. Be it ‘Devdas’, ‘Pakeezah’, ‘Guide’, ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ or recently released ‘Dedh Ishqiya’.
Among several dances of India , ‘Bharatnatyam’ is another classical dance form. This dance is possibly derived from the name of sage ‘Bharat Muni’, who wrote “Natya Shastra”. It is well known for its absolute grace, beauty and sculptured poses. It is basically the combination of facial expression and rhythm. It is a solo dance form and also most widely performed by male & female dancers both.
Now, ‘Kathakali‘, an Indian dance form famous for its elaborate, attractive colorful make up and beautiful costume. That green mask is indelible and unforgettable. It is Very old, folksy and traditional. Originally it has 101 stories to articulate but with the passage of time, stories were made in context to changing society. It has spiritual and religious significance too. Traditionally it is performed at night and ends at early morning. One needs a rigorous training to perform ‘Kathakali’ skillfully. A Malayalam film featuring Sohan Lal titled as ‘Vanprastham’ shows the life of a Kathakali dancer and the dance form in a sensitive way.
The song ‘Nagada sang dhol baje’, which created a stir in the air this navratri was a garba song. Gorgeous Deepika Padukone making circles in swirling red ghagra won the hearts very easily. Garba is a folk dance form mainly performed in Gujarat region of India. It basically symbolizes the time cycle. In Hinduism, time is considered to be cyclic and making rounds in this dance form depicts that.
Besides these dance forms there are several other dance forms too. Such as kuchipudi, odissi, Manipuri etc.
Many western dance forms are also in vogue and making their mark. In today’s time dance is going through an amalgamation period. Every form is getting mixed but this is what an art teaches us; togetherness and getting blended with all but still keeping our originality alive.
Be it any form, a dance is something that binds people attention because of its vibrant nature. It has many physical benefits too. It works as a stress buster, connects us from our inner beauty and feelings. It gives us a chance to celebrate and manifest our true blissful identity. In this world journey, if you ever feel despaired, then express the soul and just dance. It will liberate you and would give you feeling of cloud nine. Believe me, it works.
“ Sometimes the heart is so heavy that we turn away from it and forget that its throbbing is the wisest message of life, a wordless message that says “ live , be move , rejoice – you are alive !“ without the heart’s wise rhythm , we could not exist.” – Michael Jackson
So live, express and just dance!