European promoters sponsored performances by the devadais of Pondicherry in London and Paris in 1838.
(‘At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage,’ Janet O Shea)

The Abhinaya Darpana has a sloka that describes Patra Prana Dasha Smrutaha - the ten essentials of the dancer: Javaha (agility), Sthirathvam (steadiness), Rekhacha (graceful lines), Bhramari (balance in pirouettes), Drishtir (glance), Shramaha (hard work), Medha (intelligence), Shraddha (devotion), Vacho (good speech), and Geetam (singing ability).

Nautch girls were photographed extensively in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Three factors contributed to this trend. The first was the ever-increasing popularity of the camera, which was introduced in India around 1840. The second was the desire to record the vast diversity of Indian people along with their clothing, vocations, manners, crafts, customs, practices, and religions. Nautch girls were an ideal subject for photographers wishing to document Indian culture. They were beautiful, native, willing to be photographed and represented a unique slice of the country’s culture. The third factor was a nautch girl’s need to have good photographs that she could send to prospective clients. The quality of the photograph was directly tied to the price a nautch girl commanded. Great efforts were made to take flattering photographs of nautch girls in studios.
(‘The Nautch’ by Ally Adnan, The Friday Times, Aug 1, 2014)

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