A dive into a dance dictionary

CHENNAI: As a child, the weekend meant lazily laying back on the couch, munching away on the leftovers from the night before, while watching my favourite movie, ‘101 Dalmatians’. But to my disappointment, just like an alarm, my mom’s voice would pierce me while I would be still struggling to adjust my eyes after a heavy nap. “It’s time for your dance class,” she would say, and that is exactly when, as if cast in a pirate movie, I would jump out of bed, worried about the mudras, adavus, and their names that I’d have to recite in class that day. The difficulty in recollecting their names was a real struggle for me back then. Now that I come across a dictionary of Bharatnatyam-related words titled A Comprehensive Dictionary of Bharatanatyam, curated by city-based dancer Vidya Bhavani Suresh, I can only think of how easier it would be for students now.

A Bharatanatyam exponent, a musicologist, and a company secretary by profession, Vidhya has carved out a name for herself in the realm of this art form. Having authored more than 45 books, she says, “I’ve always been very passionate about Bharatanatyam, and this book aims to bridge the gap between the performer and the audience when it comes to conveying the idea, especially when the viewer is not well-versed in the dance form.”

The book contains 115 Bharatanatyam-related terminologies, along with their single-line definitions and several images to substantiate the words. From Araimandi, the half-seated posture, to salangai, the symbolic bells tied to the feet, each word has been intricately explained in this book. “The book has every term that a person has to know about the dance form,” says Vidhya.

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