Colloque on Dance – 4 Jan 2017

by Kala Bharati No Comments


Dance Colloque based on article written by Dr. Harbans Nakra: Bharata Natya Nritya, Nritta, and Natya

(link to article)

Comments received via E-mail

Michel Laverdiere:

Mamata asked me if I enjoyed Nritta as much as Nritya. Actually, I used a comparison with modern and contemporary art: many people will never understand anything to Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko’s paintings, nevertheless, they are praised all over the world for being two of the greatest American modern painters. In dance, it is easy to understand that the majority in the audience will enjoy abhinaya and stories they can understand, still, when Nritta is performed, it doesn’t need to be understood in the same way. The movements are moving sculptures and they don’t need to mean something concrete. What is unique in Bharata Natya, is that a performance will include both styles and both will become one in the end as two parts of the same artform.

Sylvi Belleau:

After presenting participants and Renu as the coordinator of the group, Mamata mentions as artist we should think scientifically.

Mamata points out 4 points to discuss from Bans text NRITYA and NRITTA:
1- Different abhinayas such as costumes. She refers to Seasonscape where costumes were made out of cotton instead of silk.
2- Pure dance : does pure dance evoke emotion and feelings
3- Mukha abhinaya to induce Rasa. Rasa is the production of feelings. Ananda is the most achieve form of rasa that can be induce by the artist to the audience. Referred to Neem story (?) Mamata gives an example where she felt Ananda at a performance on Mira Bhajan danced by PadmaSubramanya
4- Adavus : usually classified by the position of the feet. Bans points out a new way of classifying the adavus based on…

Natya: the dramatic aspect not so much needed in dance.
For the rasika, the purity of the line in the dance creates aesthetic pleasure.
Natyasastra: a dramaturgic treaty where all aspect of the performance are presented
Is there any correspondence in Greek literature. Aristote’s Poetic doesn’t treat dance.
Nritta: pure dance. Doesn’t have to go through the understanding process thought the spectator can taste have a feeling about the dance.
Michel Laverdière gives example of abstract painting that can generate feeling and aesthetic pleasure.
The spectator receives the energy of the dancer.
Bharatanatya, odissi, kuchipudi uses mukhabhinaya
Adavus are abstract dance pattern.
Pure dance is not conveying a story
Season scape: the dancers had no abhinaya, no narrative. Perceived as a celebration of seasons
Nritta vs Nritya
Renu shares that in Seasonscape, she felt a lot of joy in the dance but to respect the choreographer request, she had to have a neutral expression through the dance.
Natya: acting
We are always dancing. Renu share that she has gone through the Doll story of Sishu Sadhana with her 3 year old daughter. It takes time as a dancer to understand what we want to generate. It has to become you.
For Michel, the same for the musician and the dancer, the artist has to overcome the technic
Mamata shares she feels there are different kinds Rasa: made to evoke emotions: WOW and inside.
Some shows people applauds straight after the show is over.
Some performances, people are driven inside and take some time to applause. (ex Alapana)
Importance of promoting the art not the dancer.
Discussion on the relation of dance and music.
Rasa in relation to the raga system
Right note will touch you
Improvisation, it might evoke emotion. Playing with the emotion of the raga


Dear Renu akka,

Well and wish to hear the same. Thanks for the reminder email.

I thoroughly appreciate the opportunity to participate in the colloquium held on January 4, 2017 at Mamata Di's residence. Thanks to Didi for the invitation and to you for the co-ordination.

It was educative to discuss Bans da's article on Nritya and Nritta. The hand-out prepared by Mamata di throws light on why she chose to be the curator of the colloquiums.

I enjoyed the discussions. Starting from the introduction where Mamata Di mentioned about the triangle which involves Mme. Porier, Mr. Murari and Mamata Di as friend, philosopher and guide in the project to the valid point was put forth by Mamata di about about using appropriate "aaharya abhinaya", the attire that matches the character, during a dance performance.

The idea of pure dance invoking feelings was yet another fascinating concept. The kinesthetic and psychological feelings, in this context, was fitting. I haven't given much thought to this notion before but I plan to read and understand different perspectives about it.

The discussions from Sylvi, Sesha anna and you were a bunch of ideas that supported out of the box thinking.Thanks to Didi for bringing dancers, musicians and connoisseurs of Indian Arts together.

Thanks for the excellent arrangement and also the dinner.

I'm looking forward to participate in another colloquium.

Renu Chitra

The article that Dr. Harbans Nakra has written gave dance enthusiasts in Montreal a great opportunity to connect (on a winter wonderland kind of a day) and discuss thoughts on Nritta, Nrtiya and Natya. The conversation stemmed from 3 points for the attendees to center on: the terms Nritta, Nritya and Natya; does Nritta evoke emotions (rasa) or feelings and finally can dance give one Ananda (feeling of peace). To me Nritta does generate emotions. As a dancer it generates feelings of joy dancing for example the Alaripu or Tilanna or Jatiswara as it does when I do a Pada. Of course, the latter may be interwoven with an array of feelings as the dancer depicts a story or a scene. As stated in the article it’s the difference between the kinesthetic empathy and the emotional empathy. For myself I prefer engaging in items that are dense in generating emotional empathy. Items in which I am able to connect with a character or a story being told and allow the audience to feel what I am conveying. As I stated at the colloque, this is not an easy task; it is easy to shake my head a dozen times trying to express a simple ‘are you alright?’ versus looking at a direction and using the body holding a position, fixing a gaze of concern then requiring affirmation to express the same ‘are you alright?’.
During the rehearsals for Seasonscape, we were given strict instructions not to be expressive; to be neutral. Given all the seasons in the choreography, this was a challenging task and given this was a group choreography quite important all of the dancers be mindful of this. One person smiling throws off the choreography. Given this neutral abhinaya, the item still in its whole generated many emotions in the audience from the uplifting Spring season to the solemn Rainy season when seeing the snakes dancing to the joy creating in the winter season.