Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Indian Dance and Ballet

Dance drama & Opera - Ballet, both speak some stories via dance. In dance drama, the impact of music plays a pivotal role because music and lyrics together form the life of it whereas in Opera-Ballet use of the vocals are significant. Rabindranath Tagore was highly inspired by the beauty of Opera during his England visit and the result we have seen. We have got various Gitinatyas in Bengali history of Arts and Music. Not only the gitinatyas, but the Nritya Natyas (Dance Dramas) of Tagore also ilustrated the mixed flavor of East and West. It clearly showed his inspiration and aspiration for Opera - Ballet. Though Opera signifies its beauty via songs & Ballet via dance. both have Music in the utmost importance.

If we are talking about Indian Ballet, and not mentioning the name of Padma Vibhushan Uday Shankar, the topic becomes lifeless. Tagore made the beginning and Uday Shankar formed the definition of Indian Ballet. Shankar was never trained in Indian classical dance formally. He was exposed to Indian classical dance and folk dance forms since childhood. Like Tagore, Uday Shankar was highly inspired by Russian Ballet when he was in Europe and this is how, he thought of bringing East and West together and form his new form of Art that was called as Hi -Dance. His dance form was creative and unique in its own way. Soon, he thought of transforming Indian dance into contemporary form and that happened when he met the Danseuse Anna Pavlova. By then she was looking for some Indian artists to collaborate with her to work for some India based themes. This is how, Uday Shankar came along with her and created iconic Indian Ballets 'Radha Krishna', 'Hindu Wedding'. 

Later on Uday Shankar brought the impications of Ajanta Ellora into his dance form and succeced
Shankar with Tagore
performing in United States. After this success of forming Indian Ballet, Rabindranath Tagore welcomed him and pursuaded him to open a performing art school in India. Uday Shankar did this but in Paris. He opened his first Indian Dance Company in Paris in 1931. On 3rd March, he presented his first series of performances and then toured throughout Europe. Soon he went on for seven  year tour to Europe and United States with his own troupe . This is how troup got the name 'Uday Shankar and his Hindu Ballet' given by him. In 1938, finally he made India as his base and established Uday Shankar India Cultural Centre in Uttarakhand.  He invited Shankaran Namboodri for Kathakali, Kandappa Pillai for Bharatnatyam, Ambi Singh for Manipuri and Ustad Allauddin Khan for music.
Soon, he had a large assemblage of artists and dancers, including Guru Dutt, Shanti Bardhan, Simkie, Amala, Satyavati, Narendra Sharma, Ruma Guha Thakurta, Prabhat Ganguly, Zohra Sehgal, Uzra, Lakshmi Shankar, Shanta Gandhi; his own brothers Rajendra, Denbendra and Ravi also joined him as students. In 1948 he made the iconic movie on dance 'Kalpana'. In his dance, we can see the influence of Indian Classical Dances and the impact of Hastamudras (Hand Gestures). The costumes were gorgeous and very much different than the traditional Indian clothing style. His dance movements remind us of the sculptures of different temples like our ancient classical dance forms do and the main dance elements Tandav and Lasya are eminent in his dance creations. His famous creations 'Shiv-Parvati' and 'Purush-Prakriti' were elegant and still that much lucrative to look at. 

Uday Shankar Ballet Troupe

Raslila - this shows his influnce of Jaipur paintings

Uday Shankar as Shiv and Simkie, the French Dancer as Parvati

Purush Prakriti

Still from movie Kalpana
Iconic picture of Uday Shankar and Amala Shankar in Kalpana


Information credit : Wikipedia
Images : Google Search engine and Wikipedia.

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  1. Khub Bhalo laaglo lekhata pore, onek kichhu janlam ja jana chhilo na, pic gulo khub sundar.


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