Bharatanatyam as a form that engages multiple modalities
In addition to being an incredibly complex dance form, Bharatanatyam gives us an opportunity to engage with the dance, and by extension, with the world around us in a multitude of ways.
In my sessions, participants learn how to keep talam (rhythm), sing, and chant in addition to the movements. We learn the rituals of the dance form, words and their meaning of songs or poems, and different interpretations. Through this, we learn to appreciate music, language, symbolism, philosophy, and later, the color and design of the stage and props, and the color and texture of costumes.
By continuing my own learning as a lifelong process, I can bring the gift of these various skills to my participants in NYC and beyond. All gratitude is to my teachers – my gurus who have and continue to guide me in dance, music, and Sanskrit – for allowing and enabling me to see the detail and beatify in our traditional art forms and in our language.
The image is a still from one of my sessions at India Home where I am so lucky to work with incredible seniors who are interested, engaged, and always want to learn and explore more!
Partnership with Encore Community Services
Starting July 2023, I am proud to partner with Encore Community Services to bring Bharatanatyam to seniors in NYC. "Encore has provided seniors with a range of caring and quality services to help them live independent and dignified lives."
Below is a video of what participants can expect in these sessions, the adaptations I will use, and the benefits to participants.
Highlighting the universality of Bharatanatyam
An effective way to participants in this rich form of learning is by highlighting the universality of Bharatanatyam.
Building on the universality of Bharatanatyam is imagery that includes animals and nature. In sessions with older adults, we typically come up with new hastas to describe animals, birds, and bugs around us. This sense of discovery is not only fun but also helps give participants autonomy and fosters creativity. It also helps us connect deeply with our local nature.
Most importantly, it places Bharatanatyam not merely as a series of movements to learn, but as a form that fosters discovery due to (and not despite) the structure created!
How could you show a squirrel?!