Book on seven dance forms released - The Hindu 14.01.2003
 

 

Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and Kathak exponent Pandit Birju Maharaj releasing the book `Indian Classical Dance: Tradition in Transition' by Leela Venkatraman and Avinash Pasricha (extreme left) in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy
NEW DELHI JAN. 13. It was a fitting tribute to a tradition in transition Indian classical dance. The sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and the Kathak guru Birju Maharaj released a book by the dance critic, Leela Venkataraman, with photographs by Avinash Pasricha, designed as an ode to the sublime aesthetics of the Indian dance tradition.
Taking a sweeping look at the magnificence of Indian culture through its varied dance forms, the book was described by Ms. Venkataraman as a ``view from the top which gives a general idea of seven dance forms Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Odissi, Kathak, Mohini Attam, Manipuri and Kuchipudi''.
Present at the function were a veritable who's who of dance and culture including Madhavi Mudgal, Shovana Narayan and Prerna Shrimali.
The renowned painter Jatin Das and the former Union Minister, Vasant Sathe, were among the guests.
Defending the title of the book, ``Indian Classical Dance: Tradition in Transition'', Ms. Venkataraman said that tradition was never frozen in time and was always in transition, much like a flowing river which took new tributaries. ``The main challenge before us is to make dance a vehicle of expression of present-day concerns.''
Releasing the book, Pandit Ravi Shankar hoped that it ``would be really seen and read by everyone''.
Pointing out that the whole approach of having a critic and a photographer collaborate to produce a book was wonderful, he said: ``I hope people will get to read it and not just admire it at the book-stands.''
Birju Maharaj described it as a ``coming together of good thoughts and good photographs''. Good works of art were always appreciated and creative arts never lost their audience, he said.
Veteran photographer Avinash Pasricha said that taking the photographs of eminent dancers over the years had been a ``satisfying and ongoing experience''.
Asserting that he enjoyed every moment of what he was doing, he described the whole experience as ``a pleasure of having fun with my camera''.
The colourful book, brought out by Roli Books, is an exposition of the seven major dance forms their history, growth, decay and renewal right from the temple floor and kingly court to the modern stage.
The future of dance, the struggle for preservation, the need to keep in step with the rhythm of today's world are among the themes that have been explored by Ms. Venkataraman, who is the dance critic of The Hindu in New Delhi.
 

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