Click here for all links

Social media links

"After striking a relationship with a raga, one gets an entry into its inner chamber where its personality, with its intrinsic beauty, scent, hues and moods, is unveiled. When any such mood or colour stirs the heart, the mind sets out to etch it, and that is how a composition arrives."
- Pt Ajoy Chakrabarty
('In Perfect Consonance' by Meena Banerjee, NCPA's On Stage, Nov 2020)

"It goes without saying that a dance is a dance and a book about dance is a book."
- Choreographer Yvonne Rainer

"I try to create fantastic things, magical things, dream-like things. The world needs more fantasy. Our civilisation is too mechanical. We can make the fantastic real, and then it is more real than that which actually exists."
- Salvador Dali
(‘Salvador Dali, Air India Ashtrays and a Baby Elephant’ by Sugato Mukherjee, Live History India, Sept 7, 2020)

"An artist plays a character, not with his body, but with the mind."
- Rukmini Devi
('CK Balagopalan (1939-2019): The Depth of the Divine' by Gowri Ramnarayan, Open magazine, Sept 13, 2019)

"Movement, music and design must be part of schooling. Dance is like fundamental science. When you invest in it, you invest in human beings."
- Jayachandran Palazhy
('The space traveler' by Deepa Alexander, The Hindu Metro Plus, Aug 10, 2016)

"In the midst of death, life persists
In the midst of untruth, truth persists
In the midst of darkness, light persists"
- Mahatma Gandhi

"The origin of classical form came from nature. This is what people don't get. They think, Oh, let's see: a pirouette. No! It existed in whirlpools and eddies and the way that the world turns on its axis and goes around the sun. So all of this is based in nature, and that’s why it's always wonderful to go back to nature, because these are the true origins of this form."
- Alonzo King
('Note to Dancers: 'Drop Your Self-Consciousness' and Get Into It; by Gia Kourlas, The New York Times, June 17, 2020)

"An inhibited mind and body cannot bring out the expressive abandon of dance. Besides finding your feet, you also should find a voice and vision."
- Kumudini Lakhia
('Kumudini Lakhia: The lovable diva of choreography' by Chitra Swaminathan, The Hindu Friday Review, May 22, 2020)

In the words of scholar Jonathan Spence, Chinese philosopher and thinker Confucius many centuries ago said: "At fifteen I set my heart on learning, at thirty I found my balance, at forty I was free from doubt about myself, at fifty I found what heaven intended me to do, at sixty I was attuned to what I heard and at seventy I followed with my heart what my heart desired without overstepping the line."
('Self-transformation through arts and education' by Jayachandran Palazhy)

"What I learned from my gurus was a style. But as I worked on my dance and internalised its patterns, it became a language for me."
- Malavika Sarukkai
('One of India's greatest dancers, Malavika Sarukkai, is facing her biggest challenge' by Shoba Narayan, Hindustan Times, April 26, 2020)

"There is only one way to look at things until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes."
- Pablo Picasso

"It's not just about the numerical age. There are physical limitations to starting dance at an advanced age. The body has to be trained in agility from a young age. Then there is the matter of aesthetics. Presenters and audiences want to see certain kinds of bodies on stage. Those public expectations and consequent commercial considerations must be met. But in the end, age limits are social constructs. Like the retirement age set at 60. A 60-year-old may yet have a lot to achieve in life. If we, as a society, ease those constructs, the issues around them will also dissolve."
- Astad Deboo
('The Astad' by Urmi Chanda-Vaz, Outlook India, Feb 19, 2020)

"In art you are taught to accept and in science to always question. I think it is very important for us to question many things about dance as well."
- V Madhurima
('Science stikes a resonant chord at the Music Academy' by Shubashree Desikan, The Hindu, Feb 17, 2020)

“In a society that worships love, freedom, and beauty, dance is sacred. It is a prayer for the future, a remembrance of the past and a joyful exclamation of thanks for the present.”
- Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, The Shapeshifters: The Kiesha'ra of the Den of Shadows

"Take the collective memory from our museums; remove the bands from our schools and choirs from our communities; lose the empathetic plays and dance from our theatres or the books from our libraries; expunge our festivals, literature and painting, and you're left with a society bereft of a national conversation... about its identity or anything else."
- Sir Peter Bazalgette
('We have to recognise the huge value of arts and culture to society,' The Guardian, April 27, 2014)

"One must extensively read and find out why some stories have survived the test of time and find diamonds amidst all the coals to make a valuable statement through their art."
- Sonal Mansingh
('Artistes must whet and whip that appetite again,' by Karthik Hebbar, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 24, 2019)

"In dance, the one minute goosebumps inducing acrobatics and gymnastics might garner you a momentary applause, but it never sustains through time and eventually becomes forgettable. Our aesthetic structure requires a balance and never an overdose of anything. This gimmickry is born from the need to be appropriated into a societal system that celebrates one minute wonders on reality shows etc. This must preferably stop and pave way for the sustainable long lasting, deep impact that our art can create, if presented with its presentation systems and structures intact."
- Sonal Mansingh
('Artistes must whet and whip that appetite again,' by Karthik Hebbar, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 24, 2019)

"What we see around us today in the form of guru-chamcha parampara (replacing the structured guru-shishya parampara) is a dead system that cannot be resuscitated. Decadence is a good thing, though. It means we are ready for a new life in the arts."
- Mahesh Dattani (playwright, Bangalore/Mumbai)
('Are we ready for a new life?' by Kirtana Kumar, The Hindu, Oct 3, 2019)

"The artist does not always need trauma to make art, in fact we are now coming full circle and using art once again to heal ourselves."
- January Low
('The Traditional Body, The Contemporary Mind and The (Dancing) Mother,' Arts Equator, Sept 27, 2019)

"Artistes are basically healers. We could rid the world of many ills, bring a smile on faces and soothe minds."
- Astad Deboo
('Astad Deboo never fails to surprise' by Chitra Swaminathan, The Hindu Friday Review, April 13, 2018)

"You can look at dance like a painting; you can look at it as completely abstract, where the body is saying something."
- Ramli Ibrahim
('Malaysia's Odissi connect' by Gowri S, The Hindu, May 20, 2019)

"Dancemakers: Talk about money with the same knowledge and passion with which we talk about our mentors, our dances and the art form's history. Research the roots of our current capitalist value system and know it intimately. WE are the creative thinkers. Think and strategize your way into prosperity. Consider it a mind-set, which is what successful for-profit companies have mastered. Be rigorous about making art that teems with value. Connect with patrons, foundations, government entities and corporate sponsors. Sit down with people who have resources and believe you have something to offer them. Tell them what you need in order to make your art and how their investment WILL elevate our country's cultural fabric."
- David Dorfman in 'Is Dance underfunded because it's undervalued?' Dance Magazine, July 23, 2019

"Try all the things that fail, and don't be afraid to fail, and fail a lot. Do the ugly things that don't make sense and don't work, and eventually you'll land on something really beautiful."
- Tessandra Chavez
('Why 'World of Dance' choreographer Tessandra Chavez believes failure is essential' by Ali Castro, Dance Magazine, March 14, 2019)

"I am thankful to all those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I did it myself."
- Einstein

"Sruthi is vibration of sound. Colour is vibration of light. Emotions are vibrations of the bloodstream. When vibration (spandha) is linked to santha rasa, it brings joy. Acrylics and oils are my preferred media. Real and surreal landscapes and life forms are my subjects, drawn from Nature.
If music is the most abstract art form, sculpture is the most concrete. While music is the movement of the medium, sculpture is the blocked movement of the medium. I salute the craftsman who sculpted the first Nataraja. The way it slices and defines space reveals his in-depth knowledge of Natya. My sculpture of Siva holding a Kathakali posture and mudra is inevitably influenced by my sensibilities as a natya practitioner."
-Sadanam Harikumar
(‘How Harikumar Asan experiments with Kathakali themes’ by Lalitha Krishnan, The Hindu Friday Review, May 2, 2019)

"Man must speak, then sing, then dance. The speaking is the brain, the thinking man. The singing is the emotion. The dancing is the Dionysian ecstasy which carries away all."
- Isadora Duncan

"One has to be introduced to performing arts early in life and the best way to expose children to a variety of art forms is in schools. Performing arts should not be meant only for annual day functions but must be seen as an instrument to transform education. How beautiful would it be if teachers are able to view things from children's perspective? Training in the arts sensitises people and helps them look at the world holistically."
- Geeta Chandran
('Art is not propaganda' by Manasa Kambanna, The Hindu Friday Review, April 18, 2019)

"Some people feel that good dancers are born. All the good dancers I’ve known have been taught or trained."
- Fred Astaire

"The smile is the dance of the face. The dance is the smile of the limbs."
- Dame Ninette de Valois

If birth is like Mangalacharan and adolescence is like Battu, full of nritta, youth can be seen as lyrical Pallavi, ripened middle age can be compared to Abhinaya and finally death is like Moksh.
- Sujata Mohapatra
('True to her tradition' by Manasa Kambanna, The Hindu Friday features, July 27, 2018)

"Many arts groups find themselves hiring social media consultants as part of their marketing teams, a reflection of the extent to which Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and of course blogs (and online commentary in general) have become the locus of a sort of "new criticism" - the Fifth Estate as it has been dubbed. Indeed, reviews from the general public in the form of Tweets and Instagram posts have, for many young arts enthusiasts, become the go-to source for "hot tips.""
(Paul Horsley in 'Art in a Critic-Free Zone (Part 2)', Dance/USA Journal, Nov 26, 2018)

"Creativity is not born in isolation. It is a cumulative residual legacy from generations of philosophers, artists, intellectuals, scientists and artists. Without this DNA, creativity cannot have a future. This is the challenge the present generation is faced with."
- Ratan Thiyam
('Drama in the time of bigotry: theatre director and poet Ratan Thiyam' by Pradip Phanjoubam, The Hindu, Dec 1, 2018)

"The time for all dance festivals and thousands of young dancers are preparing!! They are nervous! Not because of their performance but whether they will be accepted by the sabhas, audiences, and of course the critics. Now who decides what they should dance? The texts? (oh god we are so far away from the Natya Sastra) The teachers? Critics? Or the dancer? The young dancers should think and decide. Whether they want to fit in or be refreshingly different! There can be no returns without calculated risks."
- Padmini Ravi (On facebook, Dec 7, 2018)

"While dancing, don’t just breathe in air, but breathe in the ‘space’ around you…through every pore…may make your dance fuller, expansive and reach far beyond one’s tiny self…as though the entire space around you, dances within you. Dance space!"
- Aditi Mangaldas

"The true purpose of arts education is not necessarily to create more professional dancers or artists. It's to create more complete human beings who are critical thinkers, who have curious minds, who can lead productive lives."
- Kelly Pollock

"In my own way, I would like to stick to my artistic principles amidst varied things happening in the Bharatanatyam field. I always consider myself a student. Novelty for the sake of popularity is not my motto. The beauty and divinity of Bharatanatyam will keep me alive and all these years I have worked hard to bring forth the spirit of joy through my performances."
- Vyjayantimala
('I am always a student: Vyjayantimala Bali' by Nandini Ramani, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 26, 2018)

"I am not one who divides music, dance or art into various categories. Either something works, or it doesn't."
- Twyla Tharp

"I yearn for aesthetic performance spaces that are in sync with the performance ethos of Koodiyattam and Nangiarkoothu. Some venues leave me in tears. Look at a magnificent place like Khajuraho. The stage is made up of thermocol and plastic and is so far away from the audience. On top of that the dancer has to perform under the glare of hundreds of electric lamps beaming on her. It is heartbreaking. Koodiyattam recitals were once held only in Koothambalam of temples. But in many places, I would not be permitted to perform or it would not be open to non-Hindus. I am looking at a secular space that is designed for recitals that could be seen in the light of traditional lamps; places where the magnificent costumes, designed by our maestros, and movements, codified by thespian, get a chance to be seen and enjoyed in all its majesty."
- Kapila Venu
('I yearn for aesthetic performance spaces' by Saraswathy Nagarajan, the Hindu Friday Review, April 21, 2017)

"Your concerns should extend beyond the rehearsal space and stage. A dancer should keep asking questions about art and life to develop a wider perspective."
- Akram Khan
('I will miss being in the spotlight, says Akram Khan' by Chitra Swaminathan, The Hindu Fri Review, May 25, 2018)

"The dancer is at once the sculptor, sculpting and structuring space, in forms both graceful and powerful. She is the painter, adding tints and hues to a line drawing, bringing it to life. She is the poet, writing her poems with movements, gestures and expressions. Ultimately she is the seeker, whose dance becomes a transcendental, transforming experience - a joyous prayer with one’s very being."
- Alarmel Valli
('Bharatanatyam - fusion of body, mind, soul,' by Seeta Ratnakar, Rotary News, June 2018)

"Art is the lie that tells the truth."
- Picasso
(In the film 'Genius: Picasso')

"Everything has become a product-including dance. This poses a problem when a classical Indian dancer does not associate his 'calling' as a product to be marketed and sold like the rest of commercial items on the shelf of a supermarket."
- Ramli Ibrahim (at Natya Darshan, Dec 2017)

"Great poetry and great music do not make great dance. Dance is the ability to make music visual."
- Alarmel Valli (at Thennangur camp 2018)

"Chandralekha always had a standard tip to her dancers - to keep their lower spine firm, no matter what the posture. This yielded remarkable results, with the dancers moving with vibrancy even at the slowest tempo. My mind goes back to my sessions with the renowned Voice Master Eugene Rabine in Germany, who taught me the method of holding my spine erect to achieve a open and liberated throw from the voice. Once I incorporated these inputs into my performances, I deciphered a marked change in both my delivery and the reaction of my audience."
('Music and dance are like inseparable twins' by Aruna Sairam, The Hindu Friday Review, April 27, 2018)

"Gharana does not mean being under house arrest. It is a house with many windows giving you a clear view of the world."
- Saswati Sen
('The style spin' by Chitra Swaminathan, The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 19, 2018)

"Let me put it this way: if you want to transcend the notion of spectacle, perhaps consider not putting on a show. Instead, get some of your friends together in a room with ugly light, and stand still for an hour staring blankly and silently at a wall. Perhaps, for effect, you could get your cat to watch you do it.

The point here is that, as artists, we need to be wary of becoming victim to our own mania for concept. Yes, we want our work to be structured around an idea, emotion or enquiry, but we need to remember that we are not elaborating a formula. The current vogue for exhaustive intellectualisation is the victory of commerce over art. It is the triumph of theory over practice. Of the tagline over the story. It's the ticking of boxes. KPIs, brand personalities and all that dehumanising, reductionist nonsense.

When it's good, contemporary dance is thrilling, exuberant and inspiring. And there is plenty of great content. In 2015 alone, Lucy Guerin's Motion Picture, Sue Healey's On View and Tao Dance Theater's No 5 have carved themselves in my memory; even if the latter did contain lots of rolling around. But when I sit for an hour and watch someone sit, walk around a bit, lay on the ground, get dressed and walk off, I leave with nothing."
('Is that Dance? A writer's response to recent dance trends,' by Paul Ransom of Dance Informa)

"Merit alone is not enough these days. You require showmanship and publicity. But leadership must come out of merit alone."
-Rukmini Devi Arundale
(‘I want everybody to help Kalakshetra: Rukmini Devi Arundale,’ India Today, Jan 15, 1986)

"Today, it seems as though many of us have gotten accustomed to asking impertinent and empty questions on whether these traditions are “relevant”, and creating a mockery by dismissing traditional repertoire. Such questioning has become relentless; being asked to respond to it is exhausting. Why must art, which has stood proud for centuries, be forced to prove its mettle and fight for its very existence? I feel it is society’s responsibility to actively educate itself and celebrate itself, not to indulge in distracting arguments about the relevance and appropriateness of our great traditions."
-Aniruddha Knight in 'Preserving a legacy,' The Hindu Friday Review, Feb 9, 2018

"You can buy sponsors, you can buy critics, but you cannot buy an audience."
- Dr.Padma Subrahmanyam (Panel discussion at Music Academy, Jan 4, 2018)

"Although we claim that performing arts tradition still follows the gurukula system of knowledge, in practice today, we have come far away. The instruction is limited only to the mastering of the skill; the journey towards self-development has been completely ignored both by the teachers and the students. In the real world scenario as it exists today, students of performing arts are multi-tasking learners often juggling between professional courses and artistic studies. Their footing in two diverse systems of schooling makes them specialize in neither. This has also led to a constant struggle to a materialistic accumulation to show progress, prove their competence and advancement. The end result is too many amateurs taking to stage performance prematurely. Can this kind of study give gratification in the long run is a question that any responsible art learner needs to ask for themselves. Learning dance today is no longer a process of spiritual evolution; it has instead become a trade with a check list of skills including the items to be learnt. This short term measure of success has oriented the students towards learning to perform rather learning to understand the art form in its totality."
- Dr. Neena Prasad
(‘Education in Performing Arts: Traditions and practices,’ Nartanam, Oct �" Dec 2012)

"Dancers are instruments, like a piano the choreographer plays."
- George Balanchine

"I learned to act by watching Martha Graham dance and I learned to dance by watching Charlie Chaplin act."
- Louise Brooks

"I have recently been considering what this work of perfecting the performance means for the audience. I think that they come to watch us dancers reach for perfection. That is the magic of the live performance. The audience members possess the same instrument as we do, giving them physical empathy with our every motion. As they sit and witness, their bodies participate too, thinking and feeling anything from "That looks like it hurts" to "I wish someone would hold me and support me like that." The viewer knows the frailty of the performer's frame, which makes them find the performer's feats all the more dazzling.
The dancing bodies onstage can also display a vision of perfectibility, people at their best. The dances can model the collaboration and order for which the audience yearns. This is why the performance, imperfect as it is, often means more to them than mere entertainment. It is inspiration and consolation."
(Silas Farley in 'The power of striving for the impossible "Perfect"', The Dance Magazine, Nov 10, 2017)

"Someone once said that dancers work just as hard as policemen, always alert, always tense, but see, policemen don’t have to be beautiful at the same time."
- George Balanchine

Kathakali is a well-balanced art form of dance, drama, and music. If one of these components gets more prominence than the other, then the art form will lose its balance. I used to feel that the drama aspect was becoming stronger than the other two, and I was a bit anxious about the future of the art form. But recently, I was invited to a 20-hour performance in Kerala where a lot of young, upcoming artistes performed. After watching that performance, I felt that the younger generation is really going back to the roots, the tradition of the art form. That gave me immense joy and hope. The performers were all in their early 20s, and are not trying to imitate or follow their seniors. If they continue and carry forward the legacy in the same direction, the future of Kathakali is certainly bright and sparkling.
(Guru Sadanam P V Balakrishnan: 'Art must not drag people lower, but raise them higher' by Payal Chhabria, Aug 28, 2017 - The Qs)

"Dance and the drums go together. It's like a marriage. One can't do without the other."
- Upeka Chitrasena
(‘Upeka: Sri Lanka’s Fiery Danseuse,’ Manori Wijesekera, Serendib, July 2011)

"There are two types of languages. One is for ordinary understanding. But the language of expression is with everything you have. It has more to do with the energy. The space in a performance is more important than language. How to penetrate that space, your sounds, your voice, your words…one word may be stronger than a sentence. You make a soundscape in that entire space. You can’t compare that with a hundred words. It is much stronger. Music too is part of the entire echo, the space craft. Your sound enters, your word enters, and if you want to make it more powerful, your whole body enters. Acting is not just the face, it’s the entire body. The entire body has to play with the space. The space is a garden and here is the actor playing with that!"
- Ratan Thiyam
(‘I had to search for hell, the modern hell’ by Sunil Menon and Sreevalsan Thiyyadi, Outlook, Sept 4, 2017)

"Dance for yourself. If someone else understands, good. If not, no matter. Go right on doing what interests you, and do it until it stops interesting you."
- Louis Horst

"As a performing artist it is very difficult. You can only become a teacher and pass it on to those who need it. I always encourage the students to do something else and keep dancing side-by-side so that purity will be maintained. Once you make it commercial you will lose the purity. The future of Odissi or in fact any classical dance that way is bleak. Even the critics do not have space in the papers. For sports the whole page is given but for classical dance and music no review comes out. There is also a problem. People editing the dance or music review are often not properly qualified to do so. Very few are there who understand dance correctly. In our times it was only reviews that made us famous. Now it's marketing, email, communication. Quality of dance has also gone down. There are lots of sub-standard performances. From three gurus now there are 3000 gurus and each one is a choreographer! I must say most of the teachers do not understand music, do not understand rhythm - nothing they understand. They have just learnt two-three items and are passing it on. That is how dance is getting degenerated because they don't know the original composition; they don't know the music composition."
- Kumkum Mohanty
('Side-effect, centre-stage' by Nita Vidyarthi, The Hindu Fri Review, June 5, 2014)

"Dance is a song of the body. Either of joy or pain."
- Martha Graham

"There is no specific school or set of schools, it is an eclectic, free-for-all sort of form emerging without any rigour in any of the forms. Before, maybe a little more than ten years ago, the choreographers had had rigorous training in either the classical idioms of Bharatanatyam or Kathak, or martial arts like kalarippayattu. But lately, the trend seems to be a three-month or two-week course in a form to derive some idea of it, add it to their CV, claim it but its execution is very diluted because there has been no investment of that form in the body. The results are dilettantish, and seemed to be a product of the maker nibbling a little from here and a little from there in a hope to create. Contemporary dance, conceptually, seeks to make a new statement of the body and a new statement on the applicable content possible to dance. It is motivated by the creator looking for divergence from the banality they see in the current setting. A contemporary dance maker needs to examine their impetus for making - Is it to create a new spectacle? Is it for showbiz or is there a serious preoccupation with the body without which contemporary dance becomes a formal and a very diluted expression."
- Sadanand Menon ('Unknotting, Uncrossing' by Joshua Muyiwa,

"Technical perfection is insufficient. It is an orphan without the true soul of the dancer."
- Sylvie Guillem

"Dynamism is very integral to Kutiyattam; everything about the construction of the form is consciously created in a way that it helps an actor get into a state of intense concentration. Shraddha, Sanskrit word for devotion, penance, commitment, would be a more appropriate word. To give you an example, before beginning make-up, there is a set of rituals that an actor must perform that symbolise her/his cutting away ties from all things that are worldly in nature. As actors, we are supposed to take a bath, step into the green room and first light a lamp. After that, we tie a red ribbon on our foreheads which basically symbolises the fact that we are disconnected from anything that has to do with the idea of hierarchy in society. For instance, if a VIP were to come visiting, we don’t need to oblige from our role as actors and performers to meet her/him; if someone in the family were to pass away, we would be informed of it only after the performance. We are not supposed to engage in any kind of conversations that are not related to the performance.
The final part of the preparation includes wearing the head gear, just before stepping on stage. Once the head gear is fixed, the actor has officially inhabited another character. You must know also that the first thing an actor takes off soon after stepping out of stage is the head gear, to mark her/his return to her/his own body."
- Kapila Venu
('Learning dynamism is a slow, organic process' by Akhila Krishnamurthy, The Qs, The Aalaap, April 1, 2017)

"Common sense and a sense of humour is the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humour is just common sense, dancing."
- Clive James

"Dance is one of the art forms, which is caricatured the most. We display dancers at parades, showcase them at all kinds of seminars, dinners, inaugurations of government schemes/projects, make world records with thousands of them dancing, use them for tourism, show them off out of context in films and commercial advertisements and then speak of the divinity of dance. We see the culture departments/institutions across the country teeming with hapless dancers and sycophants jostling for the attention of the bureaucrats. How on earth can these artistes pursue their art in the pristine purity of their thoughts and being? They need to do their PR elbowing the others for their space under the sky."
- Madhavi Puranam
(Nartanam, editorial, Volume: XVII, No. 1, Jan - March 2017)

"Criticism is easy, art is difficult."
- Destouches

"We see artists in India in their eighties, still performing. Some even dance while carrying the heavy paraphernalia of costume and make-up. The Kathakali and Koodiyattam artists of Kerala are an example of the power of will over a frail, worn-out body. The strength of the body, when supported by the heart and mind, cannot be underestimated! I have survived five decades in dance and know that it is all about mind over matter. The practice is relentless; the pain never goes away; the complexity never diminishes. The performance gives joy beyond comprehension. But the dagger of failure hangs over one's body from the beginning of the journey. Performing is not a choice for the faint-hearted. Repetition, rigorous and meditative practice has to be the bedrock of artistic endeavour-the very air an artist breathes. In fact, it is very much about breath! So much of what happens between two breaths is the magic of dance."
('The Mindful Body' by Leela Samson, The Indian Quarterly, Oct-Dec 2016)

"With thousands of dancers clamouring to make their presence felt, the tendency is to opt for the most sensationalistic formulae - higher jumps, longer leaps, more dramatic stretches. But this is often, sadly, at the cost of the nuances, grace and subtexts so intrinsic to the form."
- Alarmel Valli
('Poised for the next step' by Radhika Santhanam, The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 8, 2016)

"I can see many artistes being felicitated with awards within a very short time. They achieve top positions, recognition without straining too much, without learning enough and without enough experience. There is no honesty and value for the real artist, especially in India. I have crossed my 50's and I still feel that it's a marathon work to achieve success. I fear that it's not going to be possible for the future generation to get recognition without the recommendation and pleasing of ministers and other 'unqualified personalities.' There is group of seniors holding the post of advisory boards, always supporting each others' students, and their favourite people to get scholarships, grants, awards from central government schemes. I experienced this when I applied to the Sangeet Natak Akademi. Even after my 45 years of experience in dance these people sabotage actual talents by not recommending, and stop artistes from getting ahead in the initial stage itself. I don't have any fear to say this, this is a fact. I fear that the next generation of “seniors” will have the same ways and follow in the footsteps of their seniors."
- Madurai R Muralidharan (Proust Questionnaire Take 23, Sathirdance blogspot, March 12, 2017)

"It is better to make mistakes while trying something new than not try anything at all. "
- Alexandra Friedman

"Kuchipudi is an alignment of Odissi, Bharatanatyam and Kathak. We have the angles and postures of Bharatanatyam, the grace of Odissi and the footwork of Kathak. All this put together makes Kuchipudi dance come alive. So when you have to align everything you have to pay a lot of attention to your feet, your hands and your body as well because when you do movements the body automatically goes with the hand which does not happen with Bharatanatyam. When you move the hand, only the hand moves, the body doesn't move. Like in Odissi, the body moves with the hands. That's how I am comparing. Then there is a total body language connected with the facial expression in Kuchipudi. Like they say, 'Where the hands go, the eyes have to follow. When the eye follows, then expression follows.' That is very mandatory in Kuchipudi."
- Manju Barggavee
('It doesn't come on a platter' by Nita Vidyarthi, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 27, 2016)

"The idea is not to break the tradition but to learn the limitations of it and then imagine the unlimited."
- Minal Prabhu
('The next step in the story of dance,' Archana Nathan, The Hindu Friday Review, April 29, 2016)

"I came to know the word 'mentor' only when dancer Mythili Prakash mentioned it. She brings to me the productions that she has created. I work through them with her, offering advice, corrections, suggestions. It is looking at the work with a critical eye - going through points like how to move, what kind of energy you find and how to invest energy at the core level of dance. It is more than physical- it is a process of awareness and internalisation. I guess this holistic approach is what mentoring is - a different approach to training."
- Malavika Sarukkai
('I do not want to create clones' by Leela Venkataraman, The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 6, 2017)

"The way someone else perceives what you do is a result of their own experiences (which you can't control), their own tastes and preferences (which you can't predict), and their own expectations (which you don't set). If your choices don't match their expectations, that is their concern, not yours. Your concern is to do the work, not to judge it. "
(James Clear in 'Martha Graham on the hidden danger of comparing yourself to others')

"We created a culture of “pleasing” that is now hijacking us. We want to please everybody: the audiences, the subscribers, the sponsors, the press, the colleagues… a big mistake! Art should not please. On the contrary. Art has to show where it hurts in our societies, in our world. We urgently need the courage back to pick up this role of disturbers again.

We have built theatres and arts centres, and we created festivals to produce and present art works and to welcome audiences in the best possible conditions. But, during the years, most of these structures and organisations have become rusted and sclerosized. They became dinosaurs.

Originally meant to support the artists, they got organised very well, often too well, and so lost the needed flexibility to respond to the specific needs of specific works. The artists now have to follow the policy and the rules of the houses instead of the other way around. We urgently have to reconsider the role of theatres and festivals, as instruments to facilitate and valorise artists again. And we need more flexible structures, production houses that can work tailor-made with artists.

Often I hear organisers say, “It is nice, but not for my audience.” Who is that audience? A monolithic block of people? And who are we to say what they want to see? Underestimating is an insult. Being demanding is a sign of respect….. Also, in this pleasing culture, we constantly adapt to who is addressing us. We answer in the different languages, in the different logics of our counterparts. Mistake again.

To the politicians we speak with political arguments; to subsidisers and sponsors we speak with financial, economic arguments and of huge audiences. To audiences we speak with entertaining arguments; with the press we speak with superlatives and exclusivity arguments. And with colleagues, we confirm each other. We must urgently find our artistic language and artistic arguments again."
- Frie Leysen
('Disturbing, not pleasing, should be art's role,' Richard Watts,, Jan 28, 2015)

"I particularly love Indian dance because it not only can allow me a highly nuanced engagement with the body but, in addition, it also offers me the opportunity to externalize my interiority."
- Navtej Johar
('Where dance, yoga and urban activism meet' by Tishani Doshi, The Hindu's Thread, Oct 21, 2016)

“The angular bending of the knees constantly in dance will wear out the ligament with age, since knees and legs are not meant to angle themselves in totally opposing directions. This doesn't mean that classical dance is a health hazard. The body calls for a stop to physical exertion, it's for us to pay attention to that mild signal and not drag the machine to its breaking point,” suggests orthopedic Dr. Suresh Kumar succinctly.
- 'Immortal art, mortal artistes,' Ranee Kumar, The Hindu Fri Review, Jan 15, 2016

"If you want to be original, be ready to be copied."
- Coco Chanel

"I often feel that what the dancers are dancing does not really require a body. A slogan or a placard would be a more efficient option. Frankly, the body has become incidental in dance that has been reduced to a show-and-tell routine without any authentic affect upon the body. They jump wildly from one end of the stage to the other and yet there is absolutely no movement, neither inside them nor you. You walk out unmoved, even untouched. Being revved up is not necessarily an aesthetic experience. I often say that we've been dancing up the wrong tree."
- Navtej Johar
('Where dance, yoga and urban activism meet' by Tishani Doshi, The Hindu's Thread, Oct 21, 2016)

"If you don't fail it's because you did not risk enough, and if you didn't risk enough it's because you didn't put your whole self out there."
- Carlos Barrabes

"A dancer's span is wide - dancers start early and to be recognized and succeed takes long. That's why I've started a trust, Kalavaahini. Everything is about funding. If funding comes in, I would love to do a program of excellence, I would like to present younger dancers with potential, give them a platform they are excited about and get them to create something, give them money - for themselves, for their musicians. Give them a technical run through, time for preparation. Treat them like they are important. Make them feel pampered....why not? But for that, one has to curate well and it has to be on merit."
- Malavika Sarukkai
('Can you live the moment?' by K Bhumika, The Hindu Metro Plus, Sept 1, 2016)

"There is a complete paranoia that we are going to lose our heritage if we expand its boundaries, but we will actually lose it only if we put it in a museum and don't let it breathe."
- Aditi Mangaldas
('Dance has to breathe, and it has to breathe today's air' by Pooja Pillai, Indian Express, Aug 14, 2016)

"I have been asked how I can call myself a Kathak dancer since I don't wear a dupatta. I was told that Kathak is three-dimensional and that the dupatta adds grace. Men don't need to dance with a dupatta. Does that mean they are born with grace and women are not? I can see how sound adds dimension, how emotions add dimension, but how can a piece of fabric do that? I find that regressive. When I was 16 and doing my first solo at the Kal Ke Kalakar festival under my guru Kumudini Lakhia, I didn't wear a dupatta, nor did I wear one when dancing in many of (Birju) Maharajji's pieces."
- Aditi Mangaldas
('Dance has to breathe, and it has to breathe today's air' by Pooja Pillai, Indian Express, Aug 14, 2016)

"Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable."
- George Bernard Shaw

Dance will not make money. But the real investment is in the idea. It is about investing in people and in the quality of life and imagination. It is about investing in an alternate vision of life.
- Jayachandran Pallazhy
('Dance as an agent of change' by Archana Nathan, The Hindu Fri Review, Feb 6, 2015)

"You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts, no paintings, no poems, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive."
- Merce Cunningham

"I have derived my entire existence from dance. I am a balanced person; at harmony with myself and my surroundings because of it. I learnt to appreciate different cultures alongside our very own Indian philosophy. There is no other philosophy wherein the devis and devatas have been made out to be performing artistes. Our goddess of wisdom plays the veena. The creator of our world, Lord Nataraj, is a dancer himself. In so many ways, dance exhorts one to balance out the inner being, which is exactly why it is a form of yog. It is all about harmonising the tandav and the lasya within oneself."
- Shovana Narayan
('The world's a stage' by Anuradha Vellat, The Hindu Friday Review, April 29, 2016)

"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art."
- Andy Warhol

"It's such a difficult path to follow to be an artist, to be really true to your artistic core. And the calling of an artist is a very, very potent call. If you don't heed it immediately, chances are, you won't feel fulfilled in the future. But at the same time, the arts are not about money. So, for young people who want to do it for money, or as an easy way out, you're definitely in the wrong place. Everyone struggles to have a nice home, a nice car etcetera, but true artistes have always suffered for their art. Think of Van Gogh, who struggled terribly even until his death - but people benefit from his work after his passing. This isn't really just a Malaysian problem....
Most artistes are struggling with this worldwide. And one of the most difficult ones is being a dancer. Because you don't get to dance the way you usually do when you're 30, your career ends quite early, but that's the reality of it. That's the problem with the world now. The main prize is the money; everyone wants to be a big financial success, instant gratification when it comes to money."
- Ramli Ibrahim
('On his toes: An interview with Ramli Ibrahim,' March 30, 2016,

"The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure."
- Mikhail Baryshnikov

"When I see someone continuously just rolling around on the floor in complete silence under the unappealing glare of the house fluoros, I am inspired to ask: why am I watching this?.....
I mean, let's be honest, folks, watching dancers squirm around on the boards, often for minutes on end and in abject silence is hardly enervating, let alone challenging. In fact, it doesn't even subvert the norm anymore. I have literally lost count of the hours I have spent watching this type of work…...
When it's good, contemporary dance is thrilling, exuberant and inspiring. And there is plenty of great content. But when I sit for an hour and watch someone sit, walk around a bit, lay on the ground, get dressed and walk off, I leave with nothing……
Please, in 2016, could we just have a little more actual technique and dancing? You know, and maybe some music or something? Call me stupid if you'd like, but if I need to see someone roll around in silence, I'll get a mirror and do it myself."
('Is that Dance? A writer's response to recent dance trends' by Paul Ransom,

"Dance like most arts is an ocean, every time you dive in you come back with only a handful of pearls."
- Kanak Rele
('My protest finds expression in dance: Mohiniattam guru Dr Kanak Rele,' by Yogesh Pawar, DNA, Jan 17, 2016)

"More, not less, is the capacity of the heart. More, not less, is the capacity of art."
- Jeanette Winterson

Apart from my dance gurus, 'Panchabhuta' is my guru. Dance is beyond creed, class or colour. I learn movements from the earth, sky, fire, water, wind. Everything is in dance. I try to relate to them in dance using my five senses of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. It is like visiting a temple where you see its architectural beauty, you get the aroma of the flowers, incense, hear the chants and the sound of the bells, you touch your head to the foreground and taste what they give you. You have to experience all the five senses to be able to understand the form.
- Kumudini Lakhia
('Moulding each dancer differently' by Tapati Chowdurie, The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 1, 2016)

"If art is valuable as a reflection�"of a time, of a place, of a creation�"then dance is just as important as literature or film, even though the audience for it is smaller."
- Deborah Jowitt

"It is not the favorable conditions, but most deprived circumstances that mould an artiste."
- Mani Madhava Chakyar

"The physical language of the body is so much more powerful than words."
- Bill Irwin

"When you are on stage, you don't see faces. The lights are in your eyes and you see just this black void out in front of you. And yet you know there is life out there, and you have to get your message across."
- Suzanne Farrell

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home."
- Twyla Tharp

"Dance is for everybody. I believe that the dance came from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people."
- Alvin Ailey

"There is no specific school or set of schools, it is an eclectic, free-for-all sort of form emerging without any rigour in any of the forms. Before, maybe a little more than ten years ago, the choreographers had had rigorous training in either the classical idioms of Bharatanatyam or Kathak, or martial arts like kalarippayattu. But lately, the trend seems to be a three-month or two-week course in a form to derive some idea of it, add it to their CV, claim it but its execution is very diluted because there has been no investment of that form in the body. The results are dilettantish, and seemed to be a product of the maker nibbling a little from here and a little from there in a hope to create.
Contemporary dance, conceptually, seeks to make a new statement of the body and a new statement on the applicable content possible to dance. It is motivated by the creator looking for divergence from the banality they see in the current setting. A contemporary dance maker needs to examine their impetus for making - Is it to create a new spectacle? Is it for showbiz or is there a serious preoccupation with the body without which contemporary dance becomes a formal and a very diluted expression."
- Sadanand Menon ('Unknotting, Uncrossing' by Joshua Muyiwa,

"It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test."
- Elbert Hubbard

"As artists we see all the beauty already in the dance studio, when the dancer has no makeup, no special costume, when there's no special light on it. But when 600 people are invited, one needs to find ways to highlight what matters to all these people. In dance it does mean that setting, costume, light, become very important at times."
- Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
('Dancing away divides' by Devina Dutt, The Hindu, Apr 27, 2013)

"Creativity cannot be held within the confines of history. It needs to be honestly and harmoniously allowed to reinvent."
- Aditi Mangaldas
('To dance is to have a wanderlust,' The Indian Express, April 29, 2015)

"I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself."
- Mikhail Baryshnikov

"A few years ago, I had obtained from the Archaeological Survey of India the measurements of the traditional halls attached to temples, the mandapas of Tamil Nadu that are also called natya-mandirs elsewhere. The results showed that except for the two Brihadesvara temples at Thanjavur and Gangaikonda Cholapuram that were indeed very large, the rest were usually between 200 and 650 square feet. They could thus permit audiences of only some 30-40 to a maximum of 80 or so. Thus, had it not been for the liberation of these arts from the temple or the kothi-haveli, they would never have been viewed by many hundreds or even a couple of thousand at the same time. It is needless to say that the dance steps and floor plans had also to be edited and modified to suit the needs of a front-facing audience that the higher-level Western proscenium stage demanded, rather than carry on the earlier uni-directional salutations."
('Salvaging and sanitising classical dance' by Jawahar Sircar, The Asian Age, April 28, 2015)

"An artiste's struggle is strictly private but what comes out of it belongs to everybody."
- Balasaraswati
('Some greats of Bharatanatyam,' A.S. Raman, Attendance 2000)

"There are thousands more talented and smarter than us. But when you see us dance what do we bring to you? We bring the belief that this is our life and there is this moment and none other. That's what makes us different. It is not about performing but living another moment. If someone says to me we can't be here at Nrityagram, a part of my heart will just die. It will happen and I am preparing for that moment. When Gaurima died, I used to think that she was pretty indispensable. But then she's gone and even though for me every single moment she is still alive in a lot of ways, the fact is the place went on and the same way we will go and hopefully the dream will live on. The greatest freedom we have now is that we think of ourselves as utterly dispensable. So that's how you work. I will continue to do the work I do to the best of my abilities."
- Surupa Sen
('Dance conversations with Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy,' by Suhani Singh, India Today, Dec 13, 2013)

"An art historian has to work very hard. He has to be a composite being - hawk, ant, camel and peacock. Like a hawk, he has to be alert and swoop down to catch a point; he has to have the industry of an ant; the memory of a camel to connect various pieces of information; and like a peacock to spread one's wings and to enjoy art!"
- Dr. BN Goswamy
('Two historians share notes,' by Chitra Madhavan, The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 30, 2015)

"All cannot become choreographers, dancers or musicians. Everyone cannot become a Tyagaraja. We need singers too for his work to come alive. M.S. Subbulakshmi never composed a single song, yet, she is a Bharat Ratna. Being always creative does not mean you should be a scholar or a choreographer. One must learn to excel in anything he/she does and that makes all the difference. Dance should not become a pendulum from being a taboo to social snobbery - like today people treat it as a style statement rather than a study of the arts... It doesn't matter if you are part of a crowd. Dance is not just about name and fame but about atma tripti. It's not just the spectator's enjoyment, but also about your own. Dance is also about an inward journey, which should be the ultimate aim. But that takes time."
- Padma Subrahmanyam
('The discovery of an inner voice,' by Shilpa Sebastien, The Hindu Fri Review, Jan 23, 2015)

"Let us read and let us dance. These two amusements will never do any harm to this world."
- Voltaire

"There is a vast difference between a piece of music that is packed with relentless and crowded sound and music that surrounds its sounds in the hue of silence. So the next time you come across a pause in music, consider its purpose beyond that of a simple auditory bookmark. A skilled composer will strategically place a pause in order to affect the listener in different ways and a skilled performer will embrace a silence, using it as a point of expression for a range of emotions and enhancing the musical effect. So, as a listener, keenly observe, absorb and embrace the potential musical beauty of silence. Music and silence combine strongly because music is created with silence and silence is full of music."
- Dr. Radha Bhaskar
('When silence is not silent,' Chennai Times, Dec 30, 2014)

"Artistry is admired because it looks 'effortless' after constant practice."
- Sudharani Raghupathy

"The human voice is a beautiful contrivance. As with the eyes, it expresses the innermost emotions and thoughts of the human being. The very tone of a person's voice can tell you a lot about him. You do not need to see the person and he need not be near you, yet you understand from his voice more than just the linguistic meaning of his words or the sound that you hear. Sound as music, by its nature, can only be experienced, not seen or held - it is an intangible. In this intangible, almost mystic nature of the voice's beautiful progeny, music, lies its capacity to abstract its own meaning from life. This is very different from visual abstraction.

You can stand in front of a painting or sculpture for a long time and let your eyes constantly receive the painting. Music, and the perception of abstraction in it, does not work that way. A line of music once sung is gone, but is still alive in your mind. The faculty of hearing completes its work very quickly. The voice is both a natural instrument and the vehicle of this abstraction. There is no external transfer of the mind's abstraction, neither does the music emanate from an external source. This gives the voice a personal nature that makes it different from any instrument. This may be the reason why, in India's artistic traditions, the voice has been regarded as music's prime vehicle. The musician or the listener never sees the physical seat of this instrument, the voice box. All one sees is the movement of the lips, mouth and tongue. Yet, the music that is born from it conveys an emotion that rings true in the listener's or musician's own being. While music from the voice is very intimate, it does not speak automatically to everyone."
- TM Krishna
('No caste, no creed, no gender,' The Hindu, Dec 13, 2013)

"Great art embodies truth and makes truth accessible to human beings who are open enough to see and hear it."
- Prof. David Shulman

There is tremendous internal knowledge about dance, but it is kept hidden. Why do people get so excited about seeing hip-hop dance, say, as in Rennie Harris's work? Here, rather than familiarity breeding contempt, it breeds a comfort level - something audiences, especially, value.
There is also an issue of entertainment value. If I go out for an evening, I want to have a fine dinner with good friends and see a great show to talk about over drinks later. As one disgruntled audience member said while walking out of a show with me, “Too many dance performances are just dancer masturbation and far from entertaining. It can have intellectual value, but I still need to be entertained and engaged at some level. Most dance companies here don't seem to understand that.”
Newspapers and new media outlets must commit to providing as much back story for the arts as readers and audiences need. Newspapers need to provide more assets to their print publications, such as links to video and more photos. New media needs to refine its content, using writers with institutional memory, knowledge of the field, and good research skills, who can contextualize and chronicle as well as critique. A disconnect remains between the old school newspaper critics and the new school online writers and bloggers that does breed contempt for each other; instead, though, we need to be reconnected. In short, we need to create a symbiosis between experts who can provide experience and meaningful content and Internet experts who can provide exciting frameworks and delivery systems for it.
Proving my point about readers being part of the problem, Weisz told me, “The delivery system is there but people are reading less amongst the younger generations, and the older ones still do not use the internet as their primary news source. Our picture stories get five times the viewing over a text based article.”
So what we now have is a shotgun wedding between traditional arts journalism and the many new models offered through new technologies. Can we make this marriage work? We better keep trying, if only for the sake of the children.
- Merilyn Jackson in 'Rethinking Dance Writing' for The Dance Journal

"Art is nothing tangible. We cannot call a painting 'art' as the words 'artifact' and 'artificial' imply. The thing made is a work of art made by art, but not itself art. The art remains in the artist and is the knowledge by which things are made."
- Ananda Coomaraswamy

"As soon as one decides to perform a piece in public, the audience must be taken into consideration in the concept itself. After all, my performance is addressed to the public - otherwise I might as well stay home and perform for myself. If I want to convey something, then I must also think about how I can best convey it, without 'betraying' myself or my project and without making lazy compromises.
It is less about being 'understood' and more about remaining 'readable' so that sympathy, feelings, associations, questions, wonder and even uncertainty can be provoked. I believe that dance as a body language may and should appeal more to the senses and the sub-conscious than to the intellect. We live in a highly intellectualised society that wants everything explained and we are being taught increasingly to work with reason. Our instinct, our senses and our feelings are diminishing. I value it when an artwork penetrates into the deeper layers of my being."
- Choreographer Antonio Bühler
('Exploring the inner universe' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 25, 2013)

“When you cannot hold the body still, you cannot hold the brain still. If you do not know the silence of the body, you cannot understand the silence of the mind. Action and silence have to go together. If there is action, there must also be silence. If there is silence, there can be conscious action and not just motion.”
- BKS Iyengar

"Dance can be a profession, it can lead to stardom. Of course it can. But it can also be a process of meditation. It can be therapeutic. It can be a way to grapple with our own inner fears and demons. It can be a purely physical endeavour. It can be a purely mental journey. It can be a self-realisation of one's cultural roots. It can lead to spiritual fulfillment. Indian classical dance is all this and so much more! Little wonder that even the gods danced in India. They too probably realized that it added value to their bliss in heaven!"
- Geeta Chandran
('The two different worlds of stagecraft,' by Geeta Chandran, New Indian Exps, Dec 15, 2013

In the Upanishads, five signs of sat guru (true guru) are mentioned.
"In the presence of the satguru; Knowledge flourishes (Gyana raksha); Sorrow diminishes (Dukha kshaya); Joy wells up without any reason (Sukha aavirbhava); Abundance dawns (Samriddhi); All talents manifest (Sarva samvardhan)."

The devadasis took a lot of care to maintain their body and flexibility. Says Annabatula Lakshmi Mangatayaru, “We were massaged with a home-made herbal oil, after which the waist was tied tight with a cloth and we were asked to turn turtle early in the morning on an empty stomach. Then there was a ritualistic daily bath full of sandal paste and other herbal remedies for supple skin. We were staunch vegetarians as most of our gurus were Brahmins. This helped us retain a good figure for long time. From top to toe, we were taught how to take care of the body and keep it in form.”
('Survivor of a lost legacy' by RK, The Hindu Fri Review, Aug 12, 2011)

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win."
- Mahatma Gandhi

"If there is a problem, it is with the fashion of being a dancer, the pride that comes with knowing a little, the trendiness of it, the assumption that you can use it whichever way without in-depth knowledge of it or of oneself. The excessive talk about it at various 'informed' forums where the dissection of it does not match up to what the speaker does on stage."
- Leela Samson
('Art of the matter' by Tapati Chowdurie, The Hindu Fri Review, July 4, 2014)

"The more you know, the more you know you don't know."
- Aristotle

"As a performer no one guaranteed me a performance, good musicians or a good stage when I started out. As a guru, which is the next stage, there is again no guarantee that you will have students. You may lose your best student abruptly to marriage or education. So what's definite? Today everything is very easy - you can learn anything online, for instance the youtube. But my generation carries the values imbibed from our guru. So, there is always a constant battle in my mind - is shortcut good for the art and the artiste or is the traditional method of learning better? Today, you are also competing with young dancers who use so much technology in their dance."
- Vyjayanthi Kashi
('Giving it the womanly touch' by R Shilpa Sebastian, The Hindu Friday Review, March 7, 2014)

“The line of the dancer: If you watch (Mikhail) Baryshnikov and you see that line, that's what the poet tries for. The poet tries for the line, the balance.”
- Maya Angelou

"There is a crying need for an exercise and diet regimen for dancers, who must consider preserving their body as the highest priority in this profession. Whether it is just self indulgence or ignorance, which makes dancers so neglectful of their instruments the body, it is time to inculcate in all practitioners of dance the need to keep this body in tune, for like an instrument not 'in sur', a disproportionate body needs urgent attention."
- Leela Venkataraman (Delhi Diary, Nartanam, Jan - March 2014)

"Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics."
- Fritjof Capra

"Bharatanatyam, in my opinion is not just a fine art to which children are exposed as a routine. It is a way of life which nurtures many related subjects which the average child may not come across in a school curriculum. Dance teaches them the core of our civilisation. They learn mythology, music, spirituality and languages. The body becomes a tool for expressing our culture in its myriad forms. When dancers as young as those I saw performing, walk through a temple, they learn about sculpture, painting, architecture and heritage. The lessons they learn are not from text books, but are experiences of Art. This augurs well for a future which can rely on a large number of youth who, having gone through the discipline of learning dance, will learn to respect all art forms. They will certainly stand up for a wide range of important aspects of culture which are getting slowly eroded with massive ignorance and indifference. They will be the custodians of our heritage, not just dance, because they have been exposed to the links that have held many streams together."
- Lakshmi Vishwanathan
('Everybody is dancing,' The Hindu Friday Review, March 7, 2014)

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
- Albert Einstein

"As soon as one decides to perform a piece in public, the audience must be taken into consideration in the concept itself. After all, my performance is addressed to the public - otherwise I might as well stay home and perform for myself. If I want to convey something, then I must also think about how I can best convey it, without 'betraying' myself or my project and without making lazy compromises.
It is less about being 'understood' and more about remaining 'readable' so that sympathy, feelings, associations, questions, wonder and even uncertainty can be provoked. I believe that dance as a body language may and should appeal more to the senses and the sub-conscious than to the intellect. We live in a highly intellectualised society that wants everything explained and we are being taught increasingly to work with reason. Our instinct, our senses and our feelings are diminishing. I value it when an artwork penetrates into the deeper layers of my being."
- Choreographer Antonio Bühler
('Exploring the inner universe' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 25, 2013)

"You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts, no paintings, no poems, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive."
- Merce Cunningham

"The argument is that the youth cannot relate to a 'traditional' notion like waiting by the moonlight for a lover's arrival. The youth of today, it is argued, connects to waiting by the phone. Neither can the youth relate to a nayika adorning herself with jewels, self-made flower garlands, sandalwood or rosewater and wearing a sari in preparation for the man's arrival. It was here that I wondered - have we, the youth lost our power of interpretation and the use of our imagination? Have the youth lost their ability to perceive dance imaginatively?

I agree that the youth of today do not wait for their beloveds in a moonlit forest, but rather next to their mobile phones. But the anxiety, excitement and nervousness that embodies both these activities is the same isn't it? Those feelings have not changed over time. The phone and the moonlit night are secondary; it's the anxiety of that wait that is central. As long as that has not lost its relevance, how can we say classical dance has?

Similarly, a young girl today may not apply a bindi, wear traditional jewels, sprinkle rose water on herself and wear a sari to look beautiful in time for her beloved, but the modern-day 'nayika' does certainly adorn herself before going out 'on a date'. The raw materials maybe different - perhaps today it means getting a manicure, spraying designer perfume to smell good, wearing lipstick and spending hours in front of the wardrobe deciding what to wear. But again, the sentiment is the same - beautifying oneself in preparation for the lover's arrival - and that is what is central, not the sari or the manicure."
- Aranyani Bhargav
('Bridging the gap,' the Hindu Friday Review, Jan 30, 2014

"Dance is the melody of the body. Dance and music flow on to the canvas of the stage with the most unselfconscious brush strokes."
- Swapnasundari
('Voice of Vilasini Natyam' by Hema Ramani, The Hindu Fri Review, Jan 17, 2014)

"In order for a company to break even on a production, ticket prices would skyrocket. Dancer pay, venue rental, designer pay and equipment, marketing costs -- they don't come cheap. And if they do come cheap, they look cheap and that is a complete disservice to the dancemaker's work. Company directors are so concerned that people won't pay a certain price for a dance performance, not because it's not worth the dollar amount, but because there is a culture of underselling ourselves in the name of making dance accessible.
….Let's look at some actual math. It is well documented that dance and the arts generate revenue for local economies. They tap into tourists' pockets and add a caché of culture and sophistication to a city. The performing arts also create jobs. And I don't mean just the jobs of dancemakers and performers. The technical crew, the artistic collaborators, the venues, the technical equipment rentals or purchases, the restaurant down the street from the venue, even the taxi driver that got you to a performance. Those are all real jobs from which people take home a paycheck and go on to spend buying groceries or clothes."
- Nora Younkin
('Dance and Capitalism: A Love-Hate Relationship,' The Huffington Post, Jan 16, 2014)

"Nelson Mandela's life is a reminder that a gentle soul and a calm spirit can contain a fierce torrent of persistence and resistance in the face of evil, fascism and hate. May his life and words remind us of the potential of humanity and the possibility of peace."
- Dr. Anita R Ratnam

"When you are fifty, you're neither young nor old; you're just uninteresting. When you are sixty, and still dancing, you become something of a curiosity. And boy! If you hit seventy, and can still get a foot off the ground, you're phenomenal!"
- Ruth St. Denis

"Odissi and sacred arts in general can be compared with the great rivers like the Ganges. They have flown for ages absorbing and discarding in the process. There is invincible power in this great tradition to flow into the future through every threat, very much like the rivers do. However, like nature, even art forms need conscious effort from mankind to survive. It is important that these old traditions speak to the new generations and the latter relates to them instead of thinking of them as boring or uncool."
- Bijayini Satpathy
('A leap of faith in Odissi's journey' by Diana Sahu, New Indian Exps, Dec 8, 2013)

"Choreography is simpler than you think. Just go and do, and don't think so much about it. Just make something interesting."
- George Balanchine

"Choreography is not weaving together gestures and expressions. It's an individualistic point of view. It's the outcome of your understanding and assimilation. It's creating your niche. I restrict choreography mostly to modern pieces and like to perform classical works as they have been done over the years. You relive tradition through the classical arts and reflect the 'now' through contemporary creations. Challenges spur me. Art is continuum. It has to be inclusive."
- Ramli Ibrahim
('Stepping across borders' by Chitra Swaminathan, The Hindu, July 19, 2013)

"The artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist."
- Ananda Coomaraswamy

"Dance is an immediate art form. Who knows how many great works could never be appreciated only because they did not match the taste that characterized the time or because they were poorly conveyed? Dance cannot be compared with literary or plastic work. The potentiality of these works can be discovered much later too and can be appreciated."
- Antonio Bühler
('Exploring the inner universe' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 25, 2013)

“Take kala (art) as the root word. All other art forms are interlinked. If dance is the root, then vocals, instrumental, painting, are also its branches and leaves.”
- Pt Birju Maharaj

"Like elsewhere, Indian dance and music too struggles with the obvious: studio space, financial resources, press coverage, petty rivalries, petulant critics and grandstanding older generation of artists and so on. But here in the U.S., classical Indian forms like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi or Kathak have an added burden (to say nothing of Kathakali, Manipuri or Koodiyattam). They have to extract their art from a wilderness of meaninglessness. The U.S. instinctively reduces all to its functional essence. This talent is both the genius behind its material successes and precisely what makes this society banal. Dance, in this schema, is reduced to stream of attractive movements and nothing more. But Indian dance emerges out of a culture that suffuses these adavus, mudras and kritis with meaning and metaphysics. The Indic cultural infrastructure - temples, sabhas, festivals, mythologies, families - fuels that meaning with a meaningfulness. That infrastructure which creates meaning is alien to the cultural geography of America..... Even performances in Mylapore or Matunga run the risk of being nothing but powdered pantomime. This is a problem of what to think of artistic efforts when the world out of which these arts emerged no longer exist. The U.S., as usual, puts this slow creep towards the absurd on steroids."
- Keerthik Sasidharan
('Madhuvanti in Manhattan,' The Hindu, Sept 21, 2013)

"Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life."
- Picasso

"Classical dancers today face challenges from sponsors who want something novel, from audiences who can't understand its sangeetam or sahitya (music or muse/literature) and government bodies which are under pressure to survive and deliver. Post-Independence India needed to revive its submerged dance forms, suppressed due to long alien rule. We salute the pioneers who left their villages and came to cities like Madras and Delhi and Bombay to propagate art and young dancers who left their families and all to learn an art form. Today, there are just too many dancers who think they are great artistes! They have barely learnt for few years and helped by PR type critics and reviews, aided now by FB and Twitter outreach, blogs and self-promotional tools, they arrive centre-stage and after few years of success, fade out. In each generation only two or three names in each form have always ruled the roost. True art stays forever.
Reputation takes years to build, on a national basis. Dancers ideally desire not only captive audiences but also captive critics!"

- Ashish Mohan Khokar
('Steps in time' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu, July 18, 2013)

"You relive tradition through the classical arts and reflect the 'now' through contemporary creations."
- Ramli Ibrahim

"Many dancers now are expanding the horizons. Research and choreography are popular. Dance therapy and dance to address specific needs are also ways to continue one's relationship with dance.
There is a concept I find very interesting. Since dance is a composite art encompassing literature, history, mythology, aharya (costume design, jewellery, stage design, props), music, and science (human physiology, anatomy and psychology) - why can't we integrate it into our education system to enhance it? In fact, dance is possibly the only link through which children can learn about our traditional and cultural heritage. A dancer aware of human anatomy and physiology can consciously teach dance to increase endurance, stamina, concentration and relaxation techniques to help improve one's quality of life. Actually, these are works of universities teaching dance as a subject. The teachers there should come up with curriculums and courses which would empower dancers, and not just teach dance techniques.
- Sharmila Biswas
('Revolution, evolution and resolve' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu, June 27, 2013)

"Few people have the wisdom to prefer the criticism that would do them good, to the praise that deceives them."
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

"No matter who the composer is, the dancers should take care that they have the correct text before them, and its correct meaning. A singer can get by, knowing the general trend of the song. Not so the dancer, who has to match the stance, the hasta and the facial expression, word to word. The right pronunciation is imperative. The difference between 'ga' and 'ka' is minimal in Tamil. In Telugu, they give opposite meanings. 'Allari Cheyagara' means, 'Come to be naughty' and 'Allari Chayakaram,' means 'Come without being naughty.' A knowledge of the implied nuances is also essential."
- VAK Ranga Rao

"The truest expression of people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie."
- Agnes de Mille

"I feel, in many ways, the human body is the point of reference. Across any culture one recognises and reads gestures, gazes and positions in a human body and compares notes with what one knows to be beautiful or ugly or elegant or profound or meaningful. Funnily enough in different cultures across the globe, certain things can be read very differently. In that sense, one needs a lot of empathy, openness and be ready to learn new things when looking at art from elsewhere. These dancers might just come with a very different set of art principles and it can at times be confusing. In this day and age, because of the Internet and the global connections and an overflow of information, it is easier to realise something elsewhere might mean something else. I've noticed that art migrates a lot, it travels and elements that we found beautiful at a certain place and a certain time might, five years later, suddenly re-emerge elsewhere as profound or ridiculous. It is a strange process of taste and fashion, and I've seen that only a small minority of people sees through the element of fashion. I don't think it's wrong or right, I just notice it happens often. On the planet, I don't consider one place more advanced than another ever in art, I do recognise there are places where people are more open or feel curious for other experiences in art from abroad. Prejudice is a danger always in anything human, if people think they know what they will feel before they allow themselves to experience it."
- Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
('Dancing away divides' by Devina Dutt, The Hindu, Apr 27, 2013)

"Movement, then, in and of itself is a medium for the transference of an aesthetic and emotional concept from the consciousness of one individual to that of another."
- John Martin

"My biggest responsibility, of course, is to be as sincere as I can in practising and preserving and nurturing this rare vidya. Traditions/practices have to evolve constantly and simultaneously grow deeper roots. The growth of tradition has to go both ways simultaneously. I am not comfortable with excluding the traditional practices for being contemporary. If an art touches/moves a person living in today's world, if a person living in the contemporary world feels passionate about the practice of a tradition, the tradition is already contemporary."
- Kapila Venu
('A life less ordinary' by Nita Vidyarthi, The Hindu, Jan 25, 2013)

"Dance should always only suggest. Dance is always about the completion of the idea in the mind of the audience."
- Methil Devika
('Giving a fair perspective' by Nita Sathyendran, The Hindu, March 8, 2013)

"For serious artists, the need to re-invent their repertoire is as important as their understanding of the aesthetic values. Our rich literary heritage can be explored for nuggets of beauty when it comes to presenting new items. Many do not understand that it takes time to shape a dance piece to perfection. Instant creations just do not often click even with generous inclusion of the fire-works of pure dance sequences. Rasa is not merely a theory to be studied and debated on. The aim of a mature artist is to be creative with restraint in order to do something memorable. Whether it is a verse from Kalidasa or Kulasekara Azhwar, a deep study of the text can make our exploration worthwhile in our quest for that impression we strive to leave on the viewer."
- Lakshmi Vishwanathan
('Women and bhakti,' The Hindu, Nov 30, 2012)

"Dance is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing. It's the rhythm of your life. It's the expression in time and movement, in happiness, joy, sadness and envy."
- Jacques d' Amboise

"Mallika Sarabhai, a dancer and activist in Gujarat, has faced 'censorship' of sorts for having viewpoints that didn't fit well with people in power. On a more 'aam aadmi' level, the police now imposes restrictions on dancers who wish to perform publicly. Of course, the banning of live music (which had a profoundly devastating impact on local musicians and bands) in Bangalore as well as the banning of dancing in pubs has caught quite a lot of media attention a few years ago. But even for 'serious performers of dance' in India, a very subtle form of censorship disguises itself as a 'performance license'. Amongst several things that the performer has to agree not to do, the vague statements could potentially restrict the freedom of any kind of creative expression - the performance must not have “any impropriety of language”, “indecency of dress, dance, movement or gesture”, or “anything likely to excite feelings of sedition or political discontent”. The basis on which impropriety or indecency, or in fact, the expression of political discontent is to be measured is not mentioned anywhere, potentially limiting the creative freedom of a dancer to speak, dance, or dress a certain way. So, when the best of circumstances do not present themselves to a creative person, these killers of creativity make the creation of art an even more difficult task than it was to begin with."
- Aranyani Bhargav
('Killers of creativity,' The Hindu, Feb 7, 2013)

"In a flurry of activity, the suggestive charm of Bharatanatyam is forsaken for overt narratives which play to the gallery. After all, much of dance is, at present, a community activity."
- Lakshmi Vishwanathan

"The character I play haunts me even after the performance, because I approach it through my heart.
With whatever knowledge I have of the aesthetics of art and the traditional way in which I have imbibed the spirit of enlightenment, I have innovated and contributed to Kathakali in trying to make it more popular. I have blended the stylised Kalluvazhi tradition with the more flexible semi-realistic emotion filled southern style technique. Kathakali without the elaborate costumes is easily comprehensible and so it is a good idea to initiate in people the love of Kathakali without the costume to start with. When rasikas have understood the finer nuances of Kathakali, then the costume assumes its place of importance. I personally would prefer the traditional approach and would not like to compromise on the finer aspects."

- Kalamandalam Gopi
('Art from the heart' by Tapati Chowdurie, The Hindu, Dec 14, 2012)

"The most immediate way we experience the universe is through our body. This is why contemporary dance is the most honest expression because body movement, as they say, cannot lie. Even if you are pretending, it shows."
- P Jayachandran
(In 'Let your body feel' by Harshini Vakkalanka)

"Kudiyattam is profoundly, perhaps uniquely, therapeutic. But you shouldn't think that this classical art is a “slow” one; in my experience - and by now our team has seen some seven full-scale plays, each one stretching over many nights and weeks - every moment is intricate, action-packed, resonant with a whole body of pre-existing texts, and irreplaceable. If you want to understand the whole, and to be moved as only the completed whole can move you, you can't afford to miss even a single night of the entire performance. Some things in life - the best things - can't be truncated or compressed. If it takes an hour or two to “speak,” that is, to enact in the language of gesture, a single lyrical line from a Sanskrit poem, so be it. If it takes twenty-nine nights to sculpt a fully formed reality out of empty space, or to explore the subtleties and inner meanings of longing and loss, so be it."
- David Shulman
(In 'Creating and destroying the universe in twenty-nine nights')

"Dancing is a very living art. It is essentially of the moment, although a very old art. A dancer's art is lived while he is dancing. Nothing is left of his art except the pictures and the memories--when his dancing days are over. "
- Martha Graham

"The historical weight of traditional forms (in India) provides both a firm technical base to train in, and a firm place from which to launch into new territories. 'Distinctive Indian style' is arguably more about the diversity of styles than anything more unifying.
From my individual Western viewpoint as a theatre programmer and producer, I see a lack of professionals to help link artists and their work with the right audiences. It is extremely testing for artists to do the fundraising, marketing, press and publicity and contractual negotiations - as well as have the energy and focus to create fresh, stimulating work."

- Emma Gladstone
(In 'New shores, uncharted waters' by Parvathi Nayar, The Hindu, Nov 17, 2012)

"Every art is the expression of the 'here and now' when you celebrate its natural dynamics. Dance is movement, literature, archaeology, mysticism, music, painting, poetry and drama. It is a window to a larger life and culture."
- Chitra Visweswaran

In his erudite introduction to a volume on Rukmini Devi Arundale on the occasion of her birth centenary in 2004, former President R Venkataraman, as chairman of the Kalakshetra Foundation, wrote: “Aesthetics have been relegated to a margin in our life today. The springs of creativity do not well up as before in our people as a whole. We can boast of more painters, musicians and dancers than before. But, as a society, we seem to be less sensitive than earlier generations to the appeal of the aesthetic. Life has become prosaic; the daily routine is severely functional. The resultant monotony is sought to be relieved, therefore by diversions that are garish and high pitched, be it in colour or in volume. The quiet beauty of our traditional arts and crafts, the gentle repose and tranquility they engendered, are at a discount. A non-aesthetic life can all too easily degenerate into a violent and strife torn life. That eventually must be prevented.”

"Dance, (Indian or otherwise), like sport trains the body, increases its potential for physical intelligence, accuracy, strength, speed, alignment and develops kinaesthetic awareness. There is style in sport just as there is athleticism in dance."
- Shobana Jeyasingh (in 'Dance celebrates its role in Olympics ceremonies whilst dance leaders respond to David Cameron's comments,' Dance UK news, Aug 23, 2012)

"We have also developed some kind of a disconnect with our past. For instance what does natya mean? Is natya only natak? Natya is something that comes out of a nat. Who is a nat? A nat is somebody who is able to speak to you through his or her total polish - through angik, vachik, aharya, satvik (means of expression) and by all the subtle expressions of movements of hands and body of any kind. Then a dancer, a poet is also a nat, a film actor like Amitabh Bachchan is also a nat and Bhimsen Joshi is also a nat. So all those people who present something to a set of listeners or audience using the four genres is a nat. The Indian definition of Natya therefore is not just drama, not just music, theatre or poetry, it is everything, all of it together and therefore whatever activity the nat does is Natya.
Shastra is that methodology which ensures that when you do these things in such a manner then the result will be ensured. There will be 'siddhi'. The audience will be pleased, the Gods will be pleased and the art would have succeeded. So that is Shastra. Hence the two words Natya Shastra. So the method of achieving an effective performance, predictable performance, in the field of any performing area is Natya Shastra."
- Bharat Gupt on the Natya Shastra
('Applied success' by Nita Vidyarthi, The Hindu Friday Review, Aug 31, 2012)

"Dance is as competitive as sport, where only the fittest, strongest, most strategic thinking, most diligent practitioners survive. Dancers are athletes of the highest calibre"
- Charlotte Vincent
('Dance celebrates its role in Olympics ceremonies whilst dance leaders respond to David Cameron's comments,' Dance UK news, Aug 23, 2012).

"Most of our dance forms be it Bharatanatyam or Odissi were born in the temple. But there is a difference between the Devadasis in Odissi and the dancers who danced in the temples of Manipur. The priestesses used to dance and this was born as a form of worship and not entertainment. Scholar Kapila Vatsyayan has said beautifully in her book that Manipuri is the ancient most form and yet at the same time a very modern form."
- Priti Patel ('Bhakti is the soul' by Archana Nathan, The Hindu, June 1, 2012)

"The next time you look into the mirror, just look at the way the ears rest next to the head; look at the way the hairline grows; think of all the little bones in your wrist. It is a miracle. And the dance is a celebration of that miracle."
- Martha Graham

"Forty-four years and more than 100 dances later, I am still hoping to get it right, really right, at least once before I finish. But it doesn't really matter whether I do, or do not, do it perfectly. I probably can't. But what does matter is that in the arts it is the “struggle itself” for perfection that counts and lifts people the world over to take inspiration from a place where idealism and the search for beauty reign supreme. I thank the mother of all creation, or whomever is in charge of all of this, that I have been allowed to be a part of that action. In addition to that, I have had the good fortune of spending my life in the company of dancers, many hundreds of them by now, and that has always been an enormous source of inspiration - each of them a most splendid and unique vibration in a universe made of music."
- Lar Lubovitch in 'The Big Bang, Quantum Physics and the drive to make Dances', Dance USA, May 30, 2012

"Dance is a vibration of the spirit that stirs the body to move when music is being played. By that definition, it is not unreasonable to conclude that if the quantum universe is made of music, then we are all dancing right now."
- Lar Lubovitch

"I ask my organisers everywhere I perform whether I can do Kuchipudi but they want to see this new revived dance (Vilasini Natyam). I learnt Bharatanatyam from the age of 5. I learnt Kuchipudi from three sampradaayams. As a Brahmin, I revived the dance of the devadasis. People accuse me of neglecting Kuchipudi but I don't believe that art and caste has anything to do with each other. As a dancer if I don't perform what a dancing community performs then what should I do? Kuchipudi is not a dance followed professionally by women in Andhra. It was done part-time by Brahmins who were agriculturists."
- Swapnasundari
('Dancer as cultural activist' by Priyadershini S, The Hindu, May 20, 2012)

"I will make an average man into an average dancer, provided he be passably well made. I will teach him how to move his arms and legs, to turn his head. I will give him steadiness, brilliancy and speed; but I cannot endow him with that fire and intelligence, those graces and that expression of feeling which is the soul of true pantomime."
- Jean Georges Noverre

"The attitude Now is to learn 'items' for a hefty fee, pay to get performance opportunities, pay to get written about, and generally “market ones danceability”! Packaging dance and presenting it have become more important. There are thus thousands of dancers in this metro and mediocrity is rampant. The serious dancer today is in a dilemma as Sheen has now become more important than the Substance. This mad rush to perform 'asap' on stage has led to many malpractices.
All the players in the field of dance - whether they are dancers, dance teachers, musicians, organizers, or critics, must have a passion for the dance form and realize that they are all part of a composite whole. Unless we believe in and understand what we are doing, and do it with devotion, dedication and sincerity, we will only add to the corruption and falling standards. Each component must work for the betterment of the art. The dancer is certainly the most important component, for - without the dancer, there is no dance!"

- S Janaki in 'Socio-Economic Issues of Dancers: Now'

"I think the qualities that are looked for in an étoile (star) have changed over the years. The notion of a great classical stylist is no longer sufficient at the Opera. Today you need to be stylistically adaptable to dance 'La Bayadère' one night and 'Mats Ek' the next, and the director needs dancers who are incredibly strong technically and very reliable, because the repertoire is so much more diverse than it used to be and harder on their bodies. I think in the past perhaps a dancer's technique didn't have to be as solid if they were interesting artists, there was more room for individuality and personality."
- Ariane Dollfus in 'The complicated road to becoming a dancer Étoile' by Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times, March 29, 2012

"Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you're perfectly free."

- Rumi

"I think the qualities that are looked for in an étoile (star) have changed over the years. The notion of a great classical stylist is no longer sufficient at the Opera. Today you need to be stylistically adaptable to dance 'La Bayadère' one night and 'Mats Ek' the next, and the director needs dancers who are incredibly strong technically and very reliable, because the repertoire is so much more diverse than it used to be and harder on their bodies. I think in the past perhaps a dancer's technique didn't have to be as solid if they were interesting artists, there was more room for individuality and personality."
- Ariane Dollfus in 'The complicated road to becoming a dancer Étoile' by Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times, March 29, 2012

"It dances today, my heart,
like a peacock it dances,
it dances.
It sports a mosaic of passions like a peacock's tail,
It soars to the sky with delight, it quests,
Oh wildly, it dances today, my heart,
like a peacock it dances."

- Rabindranath Tagore

"I take care to teach my students that the kalari (practice stage) and the arangu (performance stage) are not the same. What is taught in the kalari is not what is performed on stage. In the kalari, there is a frame to be kept - a sort of uniformity, whereas in the arangu there is unlimited scope to explore emotions and individuality."
- (Margi Madhu in 'The kalari and the arangu are not the same' by Nita Sathyendran, The Hindu Friday Review, Sept 25, 2009)

"Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can."
- Martha Graham

"All dance has expression. If there is no expression, I prefer the circus. The performers do more dangerous, more difficult technical things than we do. But we are dancers. We have to express and we have to project."
- Luis Fuente

"Culture tourism, if evolved with care, can spread not mere awareness of the dances of our country, but also give visitors a glimpse of our living heritage. If small village temples can entertain bus-loads of tourists with the most esoteric dances in the island of Bali, why can't our destination spots be used regularly and more imaginatively to promote dance programmes? Incredible Indian dances all the way!"
- (Lakshmi Viswanathan in 'Heritage at the crossroads,' The Hindu, Dec 1, 2011)

"To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim."
- Oscar Wilde

"I am glad that I have become a Bharatanatyam dancer. I think it is the most evolved and classical of all our dance forms. The sheer variety in Bharatanatyam is astounding. And there is so much to choose from - even for traditional pieces. I often feel that I just have to dip my hand in a pot and pick something from it to perform….. Sometimes I do feel we tend to experiment too much with tradition. I believe whatever we do in Bharatanatyam, it shouldn't be at the expense of the basics….In Delhi, you are exposed to all kinds of dance and art. And you also get a lot of exposure as a dancer. However, gaining respect from the dance circles in Chennai was not easy. They were, I believe, a bit skeptical. Here was a girl from Delhi, who was half-Malayali trying to do Bharatanatyam! But slowly, they began to appreciate me as a dancer."
- Rama Vaidyanathan ('Alluring artistry' by P K Ajith Kumar, The Hindu Friday Review, Oct 21, 2011)

"Winners never do different things, they do things differently."
- Shiv Khera

"In my days, dance in cinema was dignified. It was a blend of tradition and some modernity. They were complete dances. We had to dance in one take. If someone made a mistake it went all over again. Today there is so much technological help. Everything is cut and paste, even dance. That's why you see girls, who are not dancers, seemingly dancing so well. Dance seems to have lost its soul."
- Vyjayantimala Bali
('Dance and Vyjayantimala' by K Pradeep, The Hindu Metroplus, Nov 2, 2011)

"Only the fallen have an opinion. The risen have transcended the need to have an opinion."
- Anonymous

"You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life."
- J Krishnamurti

"I wish to bring to the dance, a vital energy that speaks in the present tense; this I owe as a practitioner of a great tradition that can rejuvenate itself by adapting to flux. Else, it will lose its vitality……
Many streams of aesthetics, poetry, philosophy and emotional impulse, flow together to create the item. Art experience is about encountering metaphors and making creative leaps. And critics and others who merely look for a literal 'understanding' of the piece, I think, lose out on the richness of the experience of rasa."

- Malavika Sarukkai
('Quest for deeper resonances' in the Hindu, Jan 13, 2006)

"There are three kinds of dancers: first, those who consider dancing as a sort of gymnastic drill, made up of impersonal and graceful arabesques; second, those who, by concentrating their minds, lead the body into the rhythm of a desired emotion, expressing a remembered feeling or experience. And finally, there are those who convert the body into a luminous fluidity, surrendering it to the inspiration of the soul."
- Isadora Duncan

"Actually, there are two kinds of audiences for new plays. One set observes them without any pre-conceived notions about Kathakali and accept it as a way forward for the art form. Then there are those self-proclaimed 'critics' who believe that it's their moral right to question why I've had the gall to change something - why Vavar, for example, doesn't follow a particular style of vesham. I don't believe in compromising the aesthetics of plays or characters to suit so-called traditionalists."
- Sadanam Harikumar
('Heralding change' by Nita Sathyendran, The Hindu Friday Review, August 4, 2011)

"One is born to be a dancer. No teacher can work miracles, nor will years of training make a good dancer of an untalented pupil. One may be able to acquire a certain technical facility, but no one can ever 'acquire an exceptional talent.' I have never prided myself on having an unusually gifted pupil. A Pavlova is no one's pupil but God's."
- George Balanchine

"Like most classical arts in Kerala, it's the youth festivals that are keeping Mohiniyattam alive among the younger generation. Youth fetes are a good thing but they are just not enough for the future of performing arts. Now that they've taken out the Kalaparthibha-Kalathilakam titles and started awarding grades instead of first place, second place…in competitions, I find that it is actually a little demoralising for the young performers. After all, who doesn't want to win? They would have worked hard enough for it as it is. The government needs to be much more proactive. Much like they help sportspersons get placements, why can't the Government support those who choose performing arts as a career? Not only would such a move be an incentive for people to take up performing arts but it would also ensure that the arts sustain themselves."
- (Kalamandalam Vimala Menon in 'My students are my wealth' by Nita Sathyendran, The Hindu Friday Review, June 24, 2011)

What is modern about modern dance is its resistance to the past, its response to the present, its constant redefining of the idea of dance.
- Marcia B. Siegel

"I see myself as upholding the best and highest of both the Hindu and the Christian religions. I have performed in temples and before Christian audiences in countries across the world and at every stage, themes from the Hindu tradition find place alongside Biblical themes. Well, if you ask me how the priest and the dancer in me reconcile with each other, I would say that priesthood is service and in our Indian tradition, dance is a spiritual activity where one surrenders oneself totally to God."
- Father Saju George
('A sadhana and a prayer' by Ambili Ramnath, The Hindu Friday Review, June 17, 2011)

"Dancing should look easy; like an optical illusion. It should seem effortless. When you do a difficult variation, the audience is aware that it is demanding and that you have the power and strength to do it. But in the end, when you take your bow, you should look as if you were saying, 'Oh, it was nothing. I could do it again.'"
- Bruce Marks

"Recently, I performed abhinaya in Delhi and the Kathak Kendra authorities were so mesmerised that they asked me to conduct a workshop for their students. What is a workshop? Are you producing some object in it? I don't believe in this quick method of teaching. You have to stick to a style. You cannot learn a bit of this and that and become a dancer. How can a guru teach someone for a week and begin calling that person a shishya?
Also, I feel abhinaya is dying out. There is no realism anymore. Pandit Hanuman Prasad was overweight in real life, but on stage he could make people believe he was a slim 16-year-old girl. That level of transformation has just disappeared from abhinaya."
(- Sunayana Hazarilal in 'The story of a gharana' by Ranjana Dave, The Hindu Friday Review, April 15, 2011)

"Man must speak, then sing, then dance. The speaking is the brain, the thinking man. The singing is the emotion. The dancing is the Dionysian ecstasy which carries away all."
- Isadora Duncan

"I did not have the good fortune to see real devadasis, but can imagine from the few surviving photographs that the techniques upheld today as a goal were not unknown among them. If sloppiness in one was hailed as a goal, while refinement in another was condemned, for whatever reason, perhaps we should examine the reasoning more closely, rather than the art itself. Whatever art form one undertakes, to have a command over the laws of grammar, of line, of pitch and harmony empowers one to make our art say what we mean it to say.
Kalakshetra never lacked for sringara. But there is a very thin line between art and pornography, between good and bad taste. There will always be those who want more graphic passion to be portrayed, while others are more moved by subtle expressions of desire. Certainly the dance world has changed since the beginnings of Kalakshetra, and the general views of society are ever changing."
- (Katherine Kunhiraman in 'Eyes of change' by Anjana Rajan, The Hindu Friday Review, March 18, 2011)

"Dance is the most perishable of the arts. Ballets are forgotten, ballerinas retire, choreographers die - and what remains of that glorious production which so excited us a decade ago, a year ago, or even last night?"
- Jack Anderson

"Since the male dancers perform in bare body, I warn them to keep their body in proper shape. I have observed that women are more suitable for Odissi's exclusive postures. But male dancers have stronger body and footwork that meets the demand of some exclusive characters and movements as well. However, it is easier to train a girl than a boy as in the case of the latter, the body takes longer time to be tun"
- Guru Bichitrananda Swain
('Danseur's perspective' by Shyamhari Chakra, The Hindu Friday Review, March 11, 2011)

"Dancing appears glamorous, easy, delightful. But the path to paradise of the achievement is not easier than any other. There is fatigue so great that the body cries, even in its sleep. There are times of complete frustration, there are daily small deaths."
- Martha Graham

"Some are reluctant reviewers who are sick and tired of reviewing stuff day in and day out. Considering the stuff they get to review, one does feel for them. (Even I try to get my books reviewed which thankfully, the sensible reviewers avoid.) There are health conscious reviewers who use reviews as a good therapy to get bile out of their system. There are express reviewers who review as fast as they can and in their haste, confuse one with another, and end up reviewing a completely different creation they have created. Then there are slow reviewers who never review anything. There are knowledgeable reviewers who end up writing about some great epic or movie they were reminded of and not what they were allegedly reviewing. There are elaborate reviewers who say nothing, and some who write small reviews that can kill. Some write all nice things and give bad ratings. Some write all bad things and give good ratings. Some say must watch and must read and shut off their phones before people start calling them.
All in all, I think I now understand and sympathise with the lot of the reviewers. Earlier only good books and good movies were made. Now everyone is writing and making movies, including me. Constant exposure to such toxic stuff would certainly affect anyone's judgment. Our reviewers need rest from the stuff they are reviewing - only certified stuff should be given to them. It's time we reviewed this whole reviewing business. But until then I suggest we have a review system to review the reviewers."
- Harimohan Paruvu
('It's time to review our reviewers' in The New Sunday Express' dated Jan 30, 2011)

"The dance is the mother of the arts. Music and poetry exist in time; painting and architecture in space. But the dance lives at once in time and space."
- Curt Sachs

Click here for all links
Quotes | Home | About | Address Bank | News | Info Centre | Featured Columns