Mind-body bond

Mohiniyattomdancer Mandakini Trivedi

Mohiniyattomdancer Mandakini Trivedi   | Photo Credit: grjgm

Mohiniyattom artiste Mandakini Trivedi draws parallel between dance and yoga

Stage shows are not just about movements and mime, they require a lot of stamina. In this regard, senior dancer Mandakini Trivedi’s talk on dance and yoga, as part of Yoga-related programmes by Sangeet Natak Akademi, highlighted the importance of being physically fit to take on the rigours of the form. The Mohiniyattom dancer referred to Natya Shastra and other treatises on dance to substantiate her talk. During the demonstration, she compared the geometrical dimensions between dance and yoga.

Defining art at two levels, Mandakini described it as empirical (“loukik”) unlike in the West where it is stylised to express socio-political-economic dimensions of the world around us and in the process serve as a tool for entertainment. The vision of classical Indian art is transcendental (“aloukik”). Dance is parallel to yoga, which is yoking the mind and body to reach the highest state of awareness.

Elements vital to Indian dance

Mandakini spoke about the three levels and three elements that are vital to Indian dance: aesthetic, symbolic and yogic with the corresponding elements of form, theme and experience. She demonstrated with a naman mudra or anjali (namaskar) which is the joining of palms , symbolic of the positive and negative in universe that conjointly makes a neutralised mudra at the centre (anahata chakra), the ‘I’ consciousness, from where the rise upward begins. The narrative of any mythological story forms the aesthetic basis (form) from where symbolic emerges finally culminating in the yogic. Nritya or dance has a vocabulary, grammar and language through which a system of design is created and a technique evolved and all these factors are conduced to beauty. The symbolic level is also the catharsis of human experience resulting in the final level of bliss or rasa and this is the state of yoga.

The cosmic mandala (design) is envisaged in the body in Natya Shastra, wherein the movement is inward from outward is akin to the yogic journey. The tala for dance is cyclic, while the spine of the dancer is the fireline, the naval being the core and the dance begins from this region where four principle nadis (vein) of the body reside — two above the naval and two below. These in turn branch out into 24, which re-branch into many tiny nadis, making for 72,000 nadis in the human body.

Abhinaya (mime) builds in this space; being used symbolically to express the core philosophy of dance. “The outer grid connects to the Cosmic grid and as Abhinava Gupta says, ‘Karna is a kriya’,” explained Mandakini, concluding with a crisp abhinaya and footwork in Mohiniyattom style to the Vedic verse ‘Poorna Madah, Poorna Midam...’ that underlines perfection as the sole and unique quality of Nature.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 10:17:25 AM |

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