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Uses of Dance

Posted On: Saturday, June 15th, 2013
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Author: Shamantha Manogaran, Bengaluru.

ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರಮಟ್ಟದ ನೃತ್ಯ ಸಂಶೋಧನ ಸಮ್ಮೇಳನದ ಪ್ರಯುಕ್ತ ಆಯೋಜಿಸಲಾಗಿದ್ದ ರಾಜ್ಯಮಟ್ಟದ ನೃತ್ಯ ಭಾಷಣ ಸ್ಪರ್ಧೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ದ್ವಿತೀಯ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ಸ್ವೀಕರಿಸಿದ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ಶಮಂತಾ ಮನೋಗರನ್ ಅವರ ಭಾಷಣದ ಪ್ರತಿಯನ್ನು ಪ್ರಕಟವಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಈಖೆ ಕೋರಮಂಗಲದ ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ಕಲಾನಿಲಯದ ಗುರು ಪದ್ಮಿನಿ ಕುಮಾರ್ ಅವರ ಶಿಷ್ಯೆ. ಪ್ರಸ್ತುತ ಜ್ಯೋತಿನಿವಾಸ್ ಕಾಲೇಜಿನಲ್ಲಿ ದ್ವಿತೀಯ ಪಿಯುಸಿ ವಿದ್ಯಾಭ್ಯಾಸ ನಿರತೆ. ಅಭಿನಂದನೆಗಳು.

Famous American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham once said, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul”, for dancing transcends the gestures and the music, till it becomes larger than life. For the dancer as well as the spectators, the performance becomes reality, and lingers long after the music ends. Incomparable to any other forms of entertainment, recreation or education, dance carries with it the beauty of the past, educates us about our rich heritage and teaches to look deep within ourselves to understand who we are. The Natyashastra states that all branches of study, be it math, science, history or music, is required for drama – the same holds true for dance. It is a mine of knowledge that finds the charm in movement and poise, and combines beauty with brains.

The uses of dance are many. It is entertainment at its most refined and there is a style to interest everyone. In many styles, physical strength and flexibility are required. In Indian dance education, yoga and even martial arts like Kalaripayattu are incorporated to hone the body. By pushing oneself to master the physical intricacies and hardships of dance, the will of the person becomes stronger, developing endurance and stamina, which, in turn, increases their confidence and self-esteem. Also, participating in competitions makes the dancer strive for success. They learn to win graciously, and more importantly, lose with dignity.

Dance also imparts a sense of emotional well-being and mental balance. By portraying different characters from different walks of life, a dancer develops an affinity for the emotive aspect of dance and understands other people better. Their behavioral and cognitive skills are also sharpened, as it involves every part of the body, mind and spirit. This is why, dance as a form of therapy is being explored. Dating as far back as 19th century in the United Kingdom, it was popularized by Marian Chace. Now, it is widely accepted to treat disorders ranging from autism and dementia, to PTSD and visual, oral or hearing impairment.

Another benefit of dance is that it has the ability to break the barriers of time and language. A complex story can be understood easily if it is choreographed and performed well. Similarly, the various traditions of dance-dramas have been passed down through the ages. This is why myths and legends like the Ramayana and Mahabharatha are widely remembered unchanged to this day, from a time before even the famous kings of India. Also, pieces like the “Jatayu Moksham”, a fusion of Bharathanatyam and ballet choreographed by Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, go beyond even national boundaries by bringing together Indian and Russian cultures. Thus, dance keeps us connected to our roots while simultaneously bringing us closer to our neighboring countries.

In the ever-growing population of the world, dance also provides ample opportunities for careers. Although dance has always been an integral part of society, it now enjoys a high status, especially after Rukmini Devi Arundale revolutionized the way dance is viewed in India. Performing artistes and troupes are highly celebrated, and receive numerous invitations to perform abroad, and choreographers are also in demand, especially in India, where Bollywood dance has become a genre of its own. It opens doors into other fields – famous actresses like Madhuri Dixit and Shobhana are trained dancers. Besides this, teaching dance is a respected profession, and many young dancers aim to become teachers and choreographers. Organizing dance festivals like the annual Natyanjali Dance Festival held in Chidambaram are also viable options, as are art critique and media studies.

Dance has many uses, of which these are a few. It gives us physical strength and endurance, while keeping the mind sharp and confident. It ignites a desire to learn and broaden the mind – but most importantly, it keeps us happy.

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