Friday Review » Dance

Updated: May 26, 2012 14:22 IST

‘Serendipity, karma, natyam and me'

Charles Ma
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Dancer Charles Ma. Photo: Special Arrangement
The Hindu
Dancer Charles Ma. Photo: Special Arrangement

I'm a dancer who's abhinaya and nritta is coloured by the cheeky character of Bangalore, says Charles Ma

Intense, demanding, tempestuous, mercurial, challenging, intoxicating, yet most often my solace, faith, comfort and strength. These are the few ways I would describe a lover with whom I have shared a passionate love-hate relationship for almost a decade.

At one moment I am the Swadheenapathika Nayika who says there is no equal to her lord, then the Khandita Nayika who is very angry, and then Kalahantarita Nayika who repents and feels great remorse for admonishing him.

Bharatanatyam has fortunately allowed me to experience and understand the many facets and dimensions of relationships and life.

After learning classical dance for a decade, I realise now that every dancer's journey is one he must take alone and that everyone has different paths to reach it. One evening, while chatting over coffee, a friend, a connoisseur of the arts, was greatly offended that I dared call a sacred art form like Bharatanatyam my lover. Little did I realise that when I was accidently initiated into the art form, how difficult it would be to pursue and truly love it in the context of a rapidly globalising city called Bangalore, a city that I call home.

Bharatanatyam is like a lover who demands generous love, constant attention, single-minded focus, commitment, hard work and most importantly a deepened spirituality.

Many a time I would be lured by the charms and sublime offerings of the city and would inadvertently take a so called ‘break' from my dance for which I later became hilariously synonymous with. I still constantly struggle between this dichotomy of a sacred art, born and nurtured in the temples of southern India and the milieu of a city that is probably the best paradigm of a truly globalising city. I grew up in a city where the mornings were filled with the calls of wild doves and the heady rhythm of woodpeckers, where I could cycle back from school and watch the sun set and live life's every small moment.

But times change and so did my city. Slowly but steadily I adapted to a new home because my city was never going to be the same again for better or worse. My city grew and I grew, my city changed and I changed and somewhere along this long journey, I became a dancer.

I am a dancer whose Abhinaya and Nritta is coloured by the evolution and cheeky character of Bangalore. My city gave me individualism and freedom to make Bharatanatyam my own.

Bharatanatyam to me is a celebration of life and all the beautiful things in it. And Bangalore celebrates that life. The beautiful life.

(Charles Ma is a Bharatnatyam dancer and teacher based in Bangalore.)

In the end, the Dancer and the Dance become One...That's all that matters for one who sees Bharatanatyam is his or her Soul...For it reflects the Inner Dancer who dances to beat of the Heart. See the Divinity in the Dance performed by the dancer whoever it is.A wise man once said, "If you can't say something nice about someone or something...keep your mouth shut!"

from:  Gerald Anthony
Posted on: Apr 15, 2011 at 13:13 IST

Its Definitely catchy to see this young boy dancing. I witnessed a couple of his performances, and they were decent. I do not know if they were mind-boggling or goggling, it's a simple logic that he looks different than the other dancers, and that's the catch here! For a person from northeast, it would probably be difficult to know Indian dance forms, but certainly not impossible since NE is still in India. Given that he considers himself a city based dancer, big deal! Also, what's with the fad of terms like Intense, demanding, tempestuous, mercurial, challenging, intoxicating etc., It did look like the Dancer hired a writer to write this. And I quite did not understand the likes of Rama Vaidynathan, Alarmel Valli, Malavika Sarukkai and Priyadarsini Govind being compared with Charles, and we left Kamal Hasan. I think for a dancer it is important to know the basics - the Nritya and Drupads which for long have been only for Elite and Classy dancers. I request the dancer not to aggravate the situation by talking more about personal life, and less about the Dance (Actually, we all know it is just a small slice of his life anyway!) Good lucks.

from:  Jayashri Kanti
Posted on: Feb 25, 2011 at 16:02 IST

Well, just a doubt! Nothing related to the article where the dancer is blowing his own trumpet. If Bharatanatyam is so pure and highest art form as artists and even the above article claims implicitly(celebration of beautiful things in life etc.)why do u need a PR campaign in a newspaper? Isn't it at the end of the day a marketing strategy? It's money which talks at the end of a performance.

from:  Deepti
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 21:24 IST

When I asked these 4 dancers about 'the quartet 'Ramp', they had no idea of who decided to club them together and for what odd reasons. We can imagine quartets, quintets (as Charles Ma would probably like to see) and what not, but these will have no relevance to the real life and to how well they can (or could) dance.

from:  Priyanka Narayanan
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 17:17 IST

Dear Lavnaya, I have grown up watching these two dancers who form the quartet 'Ramp'. Rama Vaidynathan, Alarmel Valli, Malavika Sarukkai and Priyadarsini Govind. My name with these greats is indeed a blessing.

from:  Charles Ma
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 15:43 IST

Even Priyadarshini Govind or Alarmel Valli could do this pose with the same perfection as Charles does in the photo.

from:  Lavanya Rajagopalan
Posted on: Feb 24, 2011 at 09:33 IST
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