In south India the most celebrated dancing girl was Muddupalani.  A devadasi turned courtesan, she adorned the royal court of one of the Nayaka kings of Tanjore, Partapsimha (1739-1763), a great patron and lover of music, literature and the arts.  Accomplished in music and dancing,  Muddupalani was also a talented scholar well versed in Sanskrit and Telugu.  Hailing from a family of devadasis with a literary heritage, she was an eminent poet, honoured and rewarded by her royal patron.  In her time she played mentor to young upcoming writers who proudly dedicated their literary work to her.
(‘Famous dancing girls from the pages of Indian history’ by Pran Nevile, The Asian Age, July 25, 2018)

Once, as Balasaraswati was dancing the Bhairavi varnam “Mohamana,” Kuppuswamy Mudaliar gave the mridangam a forceful beat and the skin on the right side of the instrument split. In the half hour that it took to procure a replacement, Bala continued to dance, holding on to the line she was singing and offering variation upon variation. It was instant choreography at its best.
(Exhibition on Bala by Museum of Performing Arts (MOPA) Foundation at Music Academy, Chennai, Jan 2019)

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