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Dancer to Artiste: By Geeta Chandran

The workshop "Elaboration and Abstraction in Bharatanatyam: The Journey from Dancer to Artiste: by Geeta Chandran" was conducted as part of 38th Natya Kala Conference.

The session started with some questions each dancer should ask for himself/herself.

  • Why do you dance?

  • For whom are you dancing?

  • When u see someone dancing very well, what do you feel?

  • Is dance important to anybody today?

  • One single quality that sets me apart?

The key takeaways for me from this workshop are following: I thought of sharing the same with all the dance fraternity so that every dancer can benefit of this session.

  • Make the piece your own. Every movement looks different on different bodies. Understand what fits you and change it accordingly.

  • Importance of fitness is increasing day by day. Modern day jathis are acrobatic and challenges the dancer's stamina. Try different methods to increase fitness and don't depend on dance alone to give fitness to the body.

  • Even though there is less chance of performing full length margams these days, practicing them gives good command on dance and would be helpful for any production that is choreographed.

  • Though movement done by different dancers is same, it is the soul of the dancer that makes the presentation different. Try to get involved in the performance.

  • Understand the musicality and develop music sense to choreograph the movements

  • Have concept notes for every program. Putting your thoughts in writing will give you clarity and question yourself at every point of choreography on what it means to you and to the audience.

  • Give at least six months for a choreographic work. Quickies really dont help.

  • Always work with a scholar or a researcher to understand the language, concept.

  • Do not try spontaneous improvisation on the stage? Even manodharma has to be practiced. Have a framework and go onto the stage. Else, it might be boring to the audience.

We might hear these suggestions often. But still attending this session made me think whether I am doing all these in my practice. It is always nice to hear from great people and revisit your work.

Thanks to Geeta Chandran madam for sharing her experiences with the young generation artists. She also taught two jathis. But since I am from different art form, those were not of my interest. My interest was to understand the essence of what she spoke and I got that 😊

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