Art of Kathakali Hardcover

Art of Kathakali Hardcover

$30.00

About the Book:


Kathakali literally meaning "story-dance" is the pantomimic dance-drama of Malabar comparable to a great extent with the European ballet in the West with an additional advantage of having rich gestural code necessary to convey the theatrical pleasures to the spectator.


This book is a detailed analysis of the dance and art of Kathakali, its origin, technique, the costume, make-up and the gestural code, with a separate chapter on "Evolution of Kerala's Art" by Krishna Chaitanya.


This edition has been completely revised and enlarged and contains new set of illustrations to further facilitate understanding and appreciation of the Art.


Foreword

IN making a critical study of the art and dance of Kathakali, the ancient dance-drama of Kerala, Gayanacharya Avinash C. Pandey a has produced this comprehensive book of an unparalleled nature. I feel no less pleasure than great honour that I am invi- ted to express a few words on it.


So far none has dealt with this subject in any language so elaborately and so systematically as this young authority on Indian music and dancing has. He has presented the entire technical subtlety in a lucid style making it to rank as the first book on Kathakali literature, dance and art. Its authenticity as the first today and the first tomorrow shall ever guide all dancers, students, commentators and contemporaries of all ages.


The book deals with the origin of Kathakali, its art and dance, rasas and costume and make-up, and gestural code; and makes wide study on the origin of Mudras-their permutation and combi- nation. The interesting chapter on its mime-make-up and cos- tume-vividly reinforces the intricacy and artistical development which this kala gained within a short evolutionary period of a little over 200 years.


The writer has taken great pains in tracing out those neglected pieces of this art which were hitherto unknown and unmined. While dealing with hand poses in use in Kathakali, Gayanacharya has tabulated the connotation of groups of ideas which each mudra represents. It will help considerably all dancers to remember various expressions express able by them.


Kathakali is "an interpretative dance-drama to the accompani- ment of music." The highly specialised form of pantomimic representation makes this art to depict the actual life of our gods and people.


While tracing the origin of Kathakali, the author has made an interesting survey of those human factors which can contribute in the evolution of dance. Guided by regional effects, habit, custom, and tradition, Gayanacharya believes that Kathakali has taken its birth to connote "poetry in their (dancers) figures." The wide appeal of sentiments and emotions helps the Kathakali actor to depict an object or a thought in alively and realistic colour. The author has been successful in giving the basis and importance of the use of various colours in Kathakali make-ups. The unique feature of the book lies in the discussion and analysis of "Kathakali Dance Exercises" and the" Talas used in Kathakali" I ts practical utility has been enriched and enhanced by these.


The work presents a scholarly exposition of every art of Kathakali and is an invaluable companion with everyone interested in matters Kathakali. It is the first authoritative work in my opinion.


Introduction

LIFE in itself is a composition of arts, peculiar to its own measures.


There is in every living creature an instinct to make one or the other movement of the body which a dancer calls "gesture". Gesticulating, he recalls to memory the sacred life of the great Hindu avatars (incarnations) and the people. To him, dancing lies at the root of all processes towards bhakti (worship and devotion) and attainment of salvation. He visualises creation of the universe as a result of the ecstatic dance of Brahma, the Creator. He ascribes every kriya (action) of God to a creative dance in which man forms the minutest dancing atom. Every human action, as that of an animal, has a direct command of the soul and that action is termed dainik nrtya (every-day dance). The existence of the supreme power of the abstract life, or, of God, in every kriya of the living being in a latent form helps in developing the various dynamic forces of the human nature, and the awakening of these forces leads man to "dance".


Nrtya is the outcome of five kriyas of God, viz., srsti, or, Avirbhava (Universe or creation), Isthiti (Preservation or Protection), Samhara (Destruction), Tirobhava (Veiling, Embodiment, Illusion or Giving Rest) and Anugraha (Release or Salvation). These subjective and objective actions, in turn, are the different forms of Brahma, Visnu, Rudra, Mahesvara and Sadasiva. "In the night of Brahma, Nature is inert, and cannot dance till Siva wills it; He rises from His rapture and dancing sends through matter pulsing waves of awakening sound, and lo! matter also dances appearing as a glory round about Him."


Siva, the greatest of all our deities, is depicted in the cosmic pose of a dancer who perpetually stands for an image of reality and truth, the keys to the complex and complicated tissues of human life and lives in general, which form an independent theory of Nature, not simply satisfactory and adaptable to a single clique, race, or nation, nor acceptable or worthy of consideration to the philosopher, thinker, and worshipper of one century only, but universal in its appeal to the votary, the worshipper, the mediator, the philosopher, the thinker, the lover, the gametic and the artist of all ages and all countries.


The four significant actions of Lord Siva connote that the universe is created, protection is granted, release is offered and destruction is undertaken, all at the will of God : The drum stands for creation, fire for destruction, protection proceeds from the hand of hope, the foot held aloft gives release.


Of all the arts, the art of dancing first expresses itself in human person. Music, acting, poetry form a single compartment of human personification, while sculpture, painting and all other arts of design proceed in another stream. There is no primary art beyond these two arts, and their origin is much earlier than man himself-and dancing came first. It may be that earlier to human existence, dancing and architecture were the result of the same impulse. Edmund Selous suggests that the nest of birds is the chief early form of building and the creation of nest may have first arisen out of their ecstatic sexual dance."


All forms of dances have their histrionic background of evolution. Topographic conditions, climate, language, deport- ment and mise en scene of folk dances indigenous to a nation and the physical built of the people are the main guiding conditions for the suggestion of a particular type of dancing. The striking example is of the dance-forms prevalent in the plains of the Indus, the Ganges, and the Brahmaputra rivers, Rajasthan, Tanjore and Kerala. There is considerable difference between the artistic representation of one form of Bharat Nritya (miscalled "Kathak") dancing in the Gangetic and the Indus plains and the other in Rajputana; between Manipuri dance of Bengal and of Assam; between Sadir dance of Tanjore and Dassiattam of Tamilnad ; between Bharat Natyam and Kathakali between Garba, the folk- dance of Gujerat and Rasa Lila, the folk-dance of Uttar Pradesh, etc.


Nrtya, Gita and Vadhya are the three essential factors of our Sangita. Dancing (Nartana) has three off-shoots, viz., Natya, which essentially represents a theatrical performance; Nrtt, which conveys rhythmic movement of the body without alluding abhinaya or bhava and, therefore, largely drawing its art from the footwork; and, Nrtya, meaning rhythmic movement of the body anent some bhava stipulated in a piece of abhinaya, thus alluding some story. The joyous strokes of the feet of children or the rise and fall or the philosophers' thoughts, all are governed by the same law of rhythm. If this law of rhythm, lying at the root of all Indian dancing, is overlooked, one would fail to understand the supreme manifestation of physical life-life not only in the external space of human action, but also in the internal space of self-realisation, The significance of dancing lies, in its truest form, in a single and an intimate, concrete appeal of a general rhythm-that general rhythm which does not merely mark life, but the universe in its wide sense; and if one is still persistent to consider it a narrow suggestion, it is the sum total of all cosmic influences which reach and affect human life. It need surprise none that rhythm, ever tending to be moulded into a time, should mark all the physical and spiritual manifestations of life.


Dancing is the supreme expression of religion and love alike- of religion from the earliest time of human existence and of love from the age much anterior to the birth of man! Tracing the history of the origins of dancing in the human person, it is seen intimately entwined with the human behaviour in respect of the tradition of war, labour, entertainment, education, whereas some of the wisest philosophers and the ancient civilisations have con- sidered the dance as "the pattern in accordance with which the moral life of men must be woven.

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About the Book:


Kathakali literally meaning "story-dance" is the pantomimic dance-drama of Malabar comparable to a great extent with the European ballet in the West with an additional advantage of having rich gestural code necessary to convey the theatrical pleasures to the spectator.


This book is a detailed analysis of the dance and art of Kathakali, its origin, technique, the costume, make-up and the gestural code, with a separate chapter on "Evolution of Kerala's Art" by Krishna Chaitanya.


This edition has been completely revised and enlarged and contains new set of illustrations to further facilitate understanding and appreciation of the Art.


Foreword

IN making a critical study of the art and dance of Kathakali, the ancient dance-drama of Kerala, Gayanacharya Avinash C. Pandey a has produced this comprehensive book of an unparalleled nature. I feel no less pleasure than great honour that I am invi- ted to express a few words on it.


So far none has dealt with this subject in any language so elaborately and so systematically as this young authority on Indian music and dancing has. He has presented the entire technical subtlety in a lucid style making it to rank as the first book on Kathakali literature, dance and art. Its authenticity as the first today and the first tomorrow shall ever guide all dancers, students, commentators and contemporaries of all ages.


The book deals with the origin of Kathakali, its art and dance, rasas and costume and make-up, and gestural code; and makes wide study on the origin of Mudras-their permutation and combi- nation. The interesting chapter on its mime-make-up and cos- tume-vividly reinforces the intricacy and artistical development which this kala gained within a short evolutionary period of a little over 200 years.


The writer has taken great pains in tracing out those neglected pieces of this art which were hitherto unknown and unmined. While dealing with hand poses in use in Kathakali, Gayanacharya has tabulated the connotation of groups of ideas which each mudra represents. It will help considerably all dancers to remember various expressions express able by them.


Kathakali is "an interpretative dance-drama to the accompani- ment of music." The highly specialised form of pantomimic representation makes this art to depict the actual life of our gods and people.


While tracing the origin of Kathakali, the author has made an interesting survey of those human factors which can contribute in the evolution of dance. Guided by regional effects, habit, custom, and tradition, Gayanacharya believes that Kathakali has taken its birth to connote "poetry in their (dancers) figures." The wide appeal of sentiments and emotions helps the Kathakali actor to depict an object or a thought in alively and realistic colour. The author has been successful in giving the basis and importance of the use of various colours in Kathakali make-ups. The unique feature of the book lies in the discussion and analysis of "Kathakali Dance Exercises" and the" Talas used in Kathakali" I ts practical utility has been enriched and enhanced by these.


The work presents a scholarly exposition of every art of Kathakali and is an invaluable companion with everyone interested in matters Kathakali. It is the first authoritative work in my opinion.


Introduction

LIFE in itself is a composition of arts, peculiar to its own measures.


There is in every living creature an instinct to make one or the other movement of the body which a dancer calls "gesture". Gesticulating, he recalls to memory the sacred life of the great Hindu avatars (incarnations) and the people. To him, dancing lies at the root of all processes towards bhakti (worship and devotion) and attainment of salvation. He visualises creation of the universe as a result of the ecstatic dance of Brahma, the Creator. He ascribes every kriya (action) of God to a creative dance in which man forms the minutest dancing atom. Every human action, as that of an animal, has a direct command of the soul and that action is termed dainik nrtya (every-day dance). The existence of the supreme power of the abstract life, or, of God, in every kriya of the living being in a latent form helps in developing the various dynamic forces of the human nature, and the awakening of these forces leads man to "dance".


Nrtya is the outcome of five kriyas of God, viz., srsti, or, Avirbhava (Universe or creation), Isthiti (Preservation or Protection), Samhara (Destruction), Tirobhava (Veiling, Embodiment, Illusion or Giving Rest) and Anugraha (Release or Salvation). These subjective and objective actions, in turn, are the different forms of Brahma, Visnu, Rudra, Mahesvara and Sadasiva. "In the night of Brahma, Nature is inert, and cannot dance till Siva wills it; He rises from His rapture and dancing sends through matter pulsing waves of awakening sound, and lo! matter also dances appearing as a glory round about Him."


Siva, the greatest of all our deities, is depicted in the cosmic pose of a dancer who perpetually stands for an image of reality and truth, the keys to the complex and complicated tissues of human life and lives in general, which form an independent theory of Nature, not simply satisfactory and adaptable to a single clique, race, or nation, nor acceptable or worthy of consideration to the philosopher, thinker, and worshipper of one century only, but universal in its appeal to the votary, the worshipper, the mediator, the philosopher, the thinker, the lover, the gametic and the artist of all ages and all countries.


The four significant actions of Lord Siva connote that the universe is created, protection is granted, release is offered and destruction is undertaken, all at the will of God : The drum stands for creation, fire for destruction, protection proceeds from the hand of hope, the foot held aloft gives release.


Of all the arts, the art of dancing first expresses itself in human person. Music, acting, poetry form a single compartment of human personification, while sculpture, painting and all other arts of design proceed in another stream. There is no primary art beyond these two arts, and their origin is much earlier than man himself-and dancing came first. It may be that earlier to human existence, dancing and architecture were the result of the same impulse. Edmund Selous suggests that the nest of birds is the chief early form of building and the creation of nest may have first arisen out of their ecstatic sexual dance."


All forms of dances have their histrionic background of evolution. Topographic conditions, climate, language, deport- ment and mise en scene of folk dances indigenous to a nation and the physical built of the people are the main guiding conditions for the suggestion of a particular type of dancing. The striking example is of the dance-forms prevalent in the plains of the Indus, the Ganges, and the Brahmaputra rivers, Rajasthan, Tanjore and Kerala. There is considerable difference between the artistic representation of one form of Bharat Nritya (miscalled "Kathak") dancing in the Gangetic and the Indus plains and the other in Rajputana; between Manipuri dance of Bengal and of Assam; between Sadir dance of Tanjore and Dassiattam of Tamilnad ; between Bharat Natyam and Kathakali between Garba, the folk- dance of Gujerat and Rasa Lila, the folk-dance of Uttar Pradesh, etc.


Nrtya, Gita and Vadhya are the three essential factors of our Sangita. Dancing (Nartana) has three off-shoots, viz., Natya, which essentially represents a theatrical performance; Nrtt, which conveys rhythmic movement of the body without alluding abhinaya or bhava and, therefore, largely drawing its art from the footwork; and, Nrtya, meaning rhythmic movement of the body anent some bhava stipulated in a piece of abhinaya, thus alluding some story. The joyous strokes of the feet of children or the rise and fall or the philosophers' thoughts, all are governed by the same law of rhythm. If this law of rhythm, lying at the root of all Indian dancing, is overlooked, one would fail to understand the supreme manifestation of physical life-life not only in the external space of human action, but also in the internal space of self-realisation, The significance of dancing lies, in its truest form, in a single and an intimate, concrete appeal of a general rhythm-that general rhythm which does not merely mark life, but the universe in its wide sense; and if one is still persistent to consider it a narrow suggestion, it is the sum total of all cosmic influences which reach and affect human life. It need surprise none that rhythm, ever tending to be moulded into a time, should mark all the physical and spiritual manifestations of life.


Dancing is the supreme expression of religion and love alike- of religion from the earliest time of human existence and of love from the age much anterior to the birth of man! Tracing the history of the origins of dancing in the human person, it is seen intimately entwined with the human behaviour in respect of the tradition of war, labour, entertainment, education, whereas some of the wisest philosophers and the ancient civilisations have con- sidered the dance as "the pattern in accordance with which the moral life of men must be woven.

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