Bharatha Natyam, as it stands today | Daily News

Bharatha Natyam, as it stands today

All the classical dance forms are confined to the category of Margi; while all the folk dances are categorized into the Desi. The Desi dance form all over the world differ from region to region, place to place, district to district, and season to season. Most of the Desi dance forms are formulated for amusements. This particular Pradesh folk dance according to Natya Sastra is called Desi dance which is not supposed to adhere to certain norms strictly. Yet the desi dance forms are also facing numerous challenges, People who are engaged in this practice of Desi dance form also try to handle the Desi dance form or folk dance according to their own ideology, modify the costumes, makeup and music.

The Margi dance form which transcends the international barriers and boundaries has acquired recognition and is regarded as a classical dance which is very polished and specialized by very sophisticated techniques. Bharatha Natyam comes under the Margi dance. Bharatha Natyam has a spiritual history. It is a Tamil classical dance form which was fostered in the Tamil country many centuries ago. This ancient dance form is a part of Tamil heritage and culture. Above all, it is totally based on and linked with spiritual Hindu philosophy and Hinduism. The majority of the Tamil community all over the world preserves and protects this art form with full devotion and dedication. Even the expatriate Tamil community has carried the religion, language, literature, music, paintings, sculptures and social customs with them to the migrated lands. This dance form is totally based on well-established Carnatic music.

Unfortunately, today many of the expatriate Tamils and non- Tamils and the Tamils of Tamil Nadu try to introduce numerous modifications and innovations to the ancient art forms. As a result, they distort the whole idea. They borrow some ideas from other state and folk dances, but in the end, the pure traditional classical dance form Bharatha Natyam loses its purity.

Most of the non-performing dance teachers train their students through their student community. Most of the teachers don’t in a position to illustrate the students physically even during the training. It is another drawback for the maintenance of the art. Moreover, competitions are arranged in this divine classical dance at regional, district, zonal, and state levels. Most of the student community and parents are very much keen to participate in the competition to win a certificate or medal. Nowadays many boards and non-registered bodies conduct examinations and competitions. Hence most of the students have lost interest in stage performances to improve their own creativity and skills. It is a performing art, but unfortunately, the present generation students’ attitude is being changed. Their only interest is collecting the maximum number of certificates, medals and wide publicity with limited efforts.

Many dance teachers introduce numerous fusions and mixed assorted colourful dances into the classical dance forms and destroy the purity of the art.

Even some teachers all over the world, who have no knowledge of the Hindu philosophy, Hinduism or the Tamil language, teach the art form blindly, by using the same Bharatha Natyam techniques, costumes and make-up and display the dance under the label of Bharatha Natyam. Ultimately they destroy the total sense and essence of the art.

Some of these teachers have studied and qualified from institutions and universities, but they only know what they have learnt from the institutions. They don’t have the ability to improve or expand their own creativity or ideas, within the confined framework due to the lack of knowledge in the Tamil language, Carnatic music and deep Hindu philosophy. Due to these attitudes, the present and future generations of the student community are being misled. Most of them are bluffing. Colourful performance is not needed. The art should have to adhere to its norms. To attract the youngsters the teachers use numerous tactics. Total number of students is not much needed, but the quality of the performance is foremost important for the survival of the art. In the end, the art is gradually losing its total value at their hands.

Self-styled dance teachers who introduce the so-called creative dances and combined assorted numerous other dances and modern dances, which cannot be considered as pure rich classical oriental Bharatha Natyam.


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