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Sikh dancer performs Vilasini Natyam, a forgotten dance form


Dimple Kaur

Dimple Kaur

 When Sikh dancer Dimple Kaur took up Vilasini Natyam, the forgotten classical dance from Andhra Pradesh, she hoped to spark an interest for the art form among the youth.

Dimple, who has been practicing Bharatnatyam for long picked up Vilasini Natyam from Swapnasundari, a veteran dancer who has been instrumental in reviving the ancient dance form that was practised in the temples of the country before the Britishers imposed a ban on it.

“I wanted to bring the lost form of the dance back. There are a lot of cultural aspects which have been forgotten and the current generation does now know anything about them,” says Dimple who gave a performance here late last evening.

Vilasini Natyam has been performed over the centuries as a part of the devadasi tradition in Andhra-Pradesh. It faced a decline during the socio-political changes that took place during independence era, especially when it is banned by “The Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act, 1947”, which pointed out that devadasis were forced to adopt a life of prostitution.

“Guru Swapansunadari has revived this dance form and coined the name ‘Vilasininatyam’ after ‘Vilasinis’ or ‘Bhoginis’, which refer to devadasi or hereditary female dancers in temples. And when I saw my guru Swapansundari dancing, I found it so engaging, so communicative that I really wanted to know more about it,” says Dimple.

Swapnasundari calls Dimple as the first Sikh girl who is “learning and performing Vilasini Natyam.”

Though Vilasini Natyam movements appear quintessentially feminine, its hundred-odd Adavus (dance-units) include the Tandava (vigorous) and Lasya (soft) aspects. Vilasini Natyam’s complex Abhinaya is widely admired. Its extensive repertoire comprises temple dances, court dances and dance operas of the hereditary female singer-dancers of Telugu origin.

Dimple believes that younger generation in the country has not been exposed to classical dance forms.

“As a presenter I always want to expose the ancient dance to younger generation, however the problem is that they already have so many different varieties of choices to make in life that they find such things outdated and unappealing. The feeling of pride in our own tradition is what is missing. Even parents never bring them to such events. I am doing my bit, at least let me show it to them,” she says.


by Press Trust of India Source: www.business-standard.com


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