Savvy Raj

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Dances of India: Roots in Culture

In a land of diversities in all spheres from culture to climate, from religion to celebrations.
Every region expresses its culture distinctly according to the ethos of the people of that particular region.And as dances are a coherent expression of human nature thoughts and feelings, each form of dance that originates, encapsulates it distinctly.
Indian dances can be broadly divided into Classical Dance Forms Semi Classical and the Folk forms.
The most well known Classical Dance styles of India are the Kathak, Odissi & Manipuri of Northern and Eastern parts of India.And
Bharatanatyam Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam Kathakali from Southern parts of India.
Classical Dance and Arts is given a revered status as according to the legends, the Gods invented the dance. It incorporates music melody beats drama form and line along with gestures through hand fingers and eye movements.
The elaborate costumes and heavy makeup somehow helps convey many depictions of the overall performances.
There are a number of Folk dance forms that are performed as well.
Traditionally all these forms have been structured around the nine emotions or rasas namely:
  • Hasya: happiness
  • Shoka: sorrow
  • Krodha: anger
  • Karuna: compassion
  • Bhibatsa: disgust
  • Adbuta: wonder
  • Bhaya: fear
  • Viram: courage
  • And Shanta: serenity.
The earliest Indian religious texts have described creation in terms of a dance. And the dances of India are said to have their origins in the Vedic Age of 1000BC
Even today the practice of the Indian dances have an element of religious rituals although much may have changed with time.
Musings on Dancing

A dance is an expression of who we are, our mindset our bodies our culture all intermingled inextricably. It is a statement of our roots and our connection to others.

We can express ourselves by learning and staying rooted in the structure or choose to vary and fuse and develop our understanding by adding to the repertoire other dance forms and evolve in the sharing. The choice is ours to choose. We don’t need to discard old learning as we learn something new but align ourselves to understand the larger picture. This way we experience diversity for ourselves as we learn to see the significance of every form its contribution its essence and relevance of its roots in culture through the movements and expression. Learning dance from different lands helps us understand and evolve. We can learn to respect others traditions and cultures while valuing our own.

Savvy

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The Paradox of Beauty

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It is often said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”…. as beauty can be a very subjective and a personal choice and experience of life.  This attraction or admiration, after all, is an interpretation of harmony, of proportion in the features attributed to a culture for beauty.

Is beauty measurable to a certain standard? Well according to the Golden Ratio, the ideal result for an attractive face would be 1.6.  Greeks believed a beautiful face is 1.6 times longer than its width. But then it has been refuted by attributing it simply to the ability of pattern recognition by humans. After all cultural differences have strange ideas of what is beautiful and they seem poles apart from each other. Such is the paradox of beauty!

From smooth skin devoid of wrinkles, a long neck and flowing hair, to face tattoos and body scars, long earlobes, shaved heads, pale skins to small feet, to full figures different countries and culture have different standards of beauty.

Take the case of some Eastern countries where straightened hair is considered beautiful and many are turning to chemical hair straighteners and flat ironing for holding up to standards of beauty. Girls in Mauritania,  West Africa when shown an article about liposuction, laugh so hard in disbelief as it shocks their concepts of what is beautiful. In fact, this goes to extreme measures like ‘Leblouh’ the practice of force feeding girls to have heavy figures and stretch marks like in Mauritania, to the overwhelming numbers of rhinoplasty in Iran and where women wearing post-surgical bandages consider it as a badge of honour and wealth.

The human capacity to appreciate beauty has perhaps radically evolved with the species and men and woman see and process beauty differently. Humans are complex beings and if beauty were a language, its expression would be unique to every individual with respect to their nature and nurture.

 So in the quest towards understanding the beauty and the ideals of beauty, there are many questions …

Is there a possibility of greater survival of what is considered beautiful.?

Or is the reverse true?

History is replete with numerous wars on account or on behalf of desire to possess own nurture, save and protect beautiful people animals or things.And beauty becomes a victim of situations and often is the cause of chaos and destruction.

The very beauty that emits an utter of exclamation of awe in the admiration of the exquisite creation can extract emotional outbursts and create and spread hate and malice, upheavals that can mar the course of peace in history and cause wars.

Beauty can thus become a two-edged sword.

Is there more to the reason there exists for the quality of beauty and its perception.The genetic codes that determine beauty can be there for the purpose of an evolution of the species and refinement in the subtlety of consciousness….

There is beauty in a soul that is kind without prejudice

There is beauty in choosing to transform to a better person inside out.

There is beauty in words spoken and deeds of generosity

There is beauty in making people feel valuable

As after all beauty is in the way you make another feel.

Savvy

 Image Credits:  An Artwork by Savvy Raj  from a series Titled: ‘Faces’

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