Bharatanatyam as a means of self-expression and immersion
Many pieces in Bharatanatyam tell a story through mudras, melody (“raga”), and rasas.
With one group of dancers at the Goddard Riverside Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), we are co-choreographing a piece that portrays different animals through rhythm, movement, eyes, and facial expressions. In this piece, we are seeing animals in their most vivid forms as we are dreaming.
We first show the animals, and then through the immersive qualities of Bharatanatyam eventually “become” these animals.
Participants often talk about “words not being enough” to describe their feelings, but Bharatanatyam offers additional avenues to make sense of the world around us. Anecdotally, dancers who are caregivers for their partners mention how it is “impossible to think of anything else while doing Bharatanatyam” and it is this deep immersion that participants find challenging and fulfilling.
Photo credit: Janai
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My name is Sloka. I am a neuroscientist and dancer; you can find more about me here.