Lecture: Demonstration – Cosmologies of Bharatnatyam

Dr. Srekala Bharath
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Cosmologies of Bharatanatyam are presented by Kalaimamani Natya Acharya Dr Srekala Bharath, a prominent disciple of the legendary Guru K J Sarasa. As the Founder and Director of Thejas School of Performing Arts (1999) in Chennai, she has over 900 stage performances and has published a book Yatra on her dance journey spanning over 50 years.

She performs alongside Hema Priya Bhawaneedin and Roshani Kulendran, both being senior disciples of Guru Sri Prakash Yadagudde of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London.

Cosmologies dwell on the dance form that encapsulates the socio-cultural history of India and sheds light on imaginations and perspectives in Indian religion grounded in popular beliefs and oral tradition that have an enchanting universal appeal.

With her inimitable style, nimble footwork and exquisite abhinaya, Srekala’s invocatory Shadakshara Kauthuvam, chanted in different names, explains the beauty and grace of Lord Muruga. Varnam in praise of Lord Shiva (the god of dances) shows how the devotee’s divine ‘darshan’ is entrenched in emotive desire to unite with the Lord. Jayadeva Ashtapadis transport the viewer to the esoteric domain of love based on Krishna consciousness; the tales of Radha with the gopikas are reminiscent of the Jeevatma seeking union with Paramatma.

Abhang composed by Samartha Ramdass Swami showcases the song’s lyrics inscribed inside the Pandaripur Temple, thereby linking this unique dance form to cosmic ideals enshrined in India’s tangible heritage.

Convened by Dr Sanjukta Ghosh, SOAS South Asia Institute and SPICMACAY.