Chakra Discussions

Surprising Verdict

by Srivani dasi

Posted November 8, 2008

Bharatanatyam dance is an art that mostly is presented at Indian festivals, temple festivities and during many spiritual celebrations.As we know from the history for thousands of years it was hidden as higly sacred dance form presented only for pleasure of God, demigods and kings. In present days we are very fortunate to injoy the beauty of Bharatanatyam on public stages.

As a Bharatanatyam dancer with over 18 years of experience I always try to keep my performance in a highly spiritual and emotional level. This is a reason why I often perform in temples at front of deities and pray for their blessings. I beg them for some type of inteligence and enlightenment that will help me to enter the inner world of my audience and plant in their heart a seed of devotion. I will never forgot a boy that came to me after my performance in Tucson temple. This boy with tears in the eyes very emotionally said: "What did you do to me? You changed my life!" Do I need to ask for for more?

Last month I decided to go in different direction in my dance journey. I was very curious how far can I get if I will exhibit traditional Bharatanatyam next to other forms of art. How my dance will be classified? Will this highly complex art be understend by pop singers and hip-hop dancers? Will be appreciated by music schoolars and professors?

On May 2008 local Chicago newspapers announced competition between all kinds of arts organized by Chicago Radio 1490 AM. From over 400 applications only 180 has been accepted to compete, and 25 artist were chosen to perform as the best finalists for the main concert. There were singers, musicians of all kind, dancers of all formats, dance groups, rock bands, crafters, web designers, and many, many others. Finally on October 26 in Guerin Prep Auditorium in River Grove best 25 has been announced and rewarded by 11 judges. The Auditorium was full of people, press, talent and model agencies, photographers and local TV stations. I was kindly surprised after my name has been announced as a third finalist. Huge smile apeared on my face and feeling of joy flourished my heart. After great ovations I performed a piece of Mahabharata portrating game of dice between Pandavas and Kauravas followed by very fiery rhythmic patterns. It was exhilirating experience.

I had a wonderful and exciting time, but more over this was a great lesson for me. In today's age when a person is divided into so many selfs by social, economical and emotional factors it is very rare to find an audience who lends itself to be consumed by an aesthetic and spiritual experience.

Yet, there are people who waiting to see performance that will transport them to the state of realization which is aesthetically supreme and spiritualy outstanding. They seek for the art that will be able to confront their emotions and make them look at life in different light. Something that will heal their life and cure self-steeme as a human being.

Mahatma Gandhi once stated, "All true art must help the soul to realize its inner self".

From this experience I came to the conclusion : talent is not just a possession; it is a responsibility.

yours in service
Srivani dasi