Friday, December 20, 2019

How the Indian Icon Nataraja Danced His Way From Ancient History to Modern Physics

By Harish Pullanoor
Breathing life into existence.
Dancing before a corpse wasn’t a new idea to me. Discovering a god in it is what left me stunned. Decades of watching movies in multiple south Indian languages had not prepared me for it. Neither had tripping on koothu, the dance form popular among cinema-lovers in that part of the country. Yet, here I was one September day in 2018, searching for hints of lord Nataraja, the fountainhead of most Indian dance forms, in this most unruly of performances, Saavukoothu—“death dance.” A street dance practiced by some Tamils when they accompany the departed to the final resting place, Saavukoothu doesn’t demand any of the refinement of the more evolved classical traditions like Bharatanatyam or Kathak. There is only one rule: Let go completely. [More]