Dubai dancer: ‘We are not adulteresses’

September 12, 2013

Unique dance drama to be staged in Dubai this Friday makes an emphatic statement
Dance performances in Dubai are not uncommon. But when a dancer tells you that dance is not entertainment or that dancers are not adulteresses, it calls for a pause.
Bhakti Harish, 30, a Bharatnatyam dancer based in Dubai, feels so strongly about the sanctity of her art that she minces no words – or actions. In what is perhaps the most emphatic statement yet on what dance is not, she is staging a unique dance drama titled ‘Dance of the Devadasi’ at the Madinat Jumeirah on September 13. News of the event is already stirring the conscience of local art circles.
Harish, director and founder of the Maayavi dance school in Dubai, said she wrote the script for ‘Dance of the Devadasi’ in a dance-drama format with English dialogues and choreographies that fuse classical Indian and contemporary forms.
She said devadasis or temple dancers who paved the way for the South Indian dance form of Bharatnatyam have always fascinated her. “As a student back in India, I learnt a lot about them. I realised that dance was never entertainment. Dancers really are a reflection or representation of the people around them. So why should society be disrespectful of them or tag them as adulteresses?”
To set the record straight, Harish decided to present their true story through ‘Dance of the Devadasi’.
“The narrative travels through the history of Indian dance, its glory, downfall and revival through the life of protagonist Nithya, a temple dancer. The essence is that the Indian dance form has survived various reforms with sanctity and will continue to be honoured for generations.
“Dance is a medium of worship, education and enlightenment that is very transformational. The audience too has a certain responsibility,” said Harish who has a graduate degree in Bharatnatyam and has trained under such names as Dr Padmashri Kanak Rele and Hema Malini.
As for the audience for the upcoming show, it will comprise both dance and theatre lovers, mainly Indians seeking a connection to their cultural roots. But westerners who appreciate art and culture are also expected. The Maayavi dance style is a combination of Indian classical dance and world dance styles.

-Input from

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