Saturday, January 24, 2009

Charya for ya

Writing from Kathmandu
Okay, here (embedded below) is the dance I just finished learning - the Manjushri Gita. Now I am polishing it and starting on the sloka for Vajrayogini.

My friend Rene said, "then you can have a recital!" No, little kids have recitals. Grownups have performances.
The video below shows the Majushri gita performed by members of Dance Mandal at a German Sacred Arts festival.

My first question was about the dancer's 'ardhamundi' or knee-bending posture. They don't seem to have much ardhamundi; but then coming from Bharatanatyam I am used to extreme knee bend and foot turnout.

Also, my teacher and I plan to alter the costume so that one can see more footwork and angika abhinaya (body expression). These jama costumes are nice, but a bit too Tibetan (ie, robelike and concealing). The priests in temple wear such voluminous gowns (albeit in white colour only), but the traditional sculptures and thangkas do not. Something more along the lines of the Odissi costume (right) is more flattering and more in keeping with the Newari artwork.


c said...

wheres the video of your dancing?

c said...

and if you're looking for ardhamundi in classical dance in the north east of India, the place to go is to sattriya dance of assam

This is an originally all male dance from the vaishnavite monks of Assam, and you can see immediately why it is an all male danceform(now women dance it too).

its ardhamundi is more ...logical...than bharatanatyam's IMO..

Raghubeer said...

Is this a Buddhist or Hindu dance?

Sirensongs said...

@Raghubeer: Charya is a Newar Buddhist ritual dance peformed as part of puja by the Bajracharyas and Sakyas of the Kat. Valley.

@C: I thought I had embedded a YouTube video of the Dance Mandal doing Manjushri item. Seems to not be there. and.
@C: Yep done seen me some Sattriya, while in Chennai of all places. Very nice. At one time evidently Assam, Bengal and Orissa all had Buddhist Charya nrtya and giti; no mo.

c said...


that is there, i was asking for a video of YOUR dancing the charya dance...

as for sattriya in chennai, that wuz my intro to sattriya too. guru srimanta shankar dev his wife and daughter and their groups of dancers used to be a regular fixture at the january festivals at kalakshetra. Ive also seen sattriya at the puri festival and while wisiting shillong and AP.

post your dancing the manjushree item sometime.

fiberwoman15 said...

This is so beautiful! Will you be posting a video of yourself dancing at any point?

Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

@C and Fibrewoman: Thanks! At the moment my dancing is not so entrancing, more comic if you know me (lots of hesitation) so let's wait till it's a bit more watchable~!

c said...

and you really hought we'd let you get away with that!


Uma said...

Hi Caroline, this is R..... :-)
From :-)

There is one interesting Bharatanatyam clip for you to watch:

I am still wondering what made you get stuck there instead of exploring Chennai :-) I don't think it is much cheaper, by the way. At least here you could teach English or become a film star :-)

What do you think of ?:-)

Sirensongs said...

@Uma: has evidently been hijacked by something called Bookface. :-(

Chennai is tooooo bloody hot, though i do miss the winters and the food!

No one (and I mean no one) here teaches Bharatanatyam, though they do know what it is (often confuse it with Kathak...). :-)

Why all the secrecy? are you in Chennai now?