Indian classical dance. Kuchipudi style.

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The interview with Eleonora Levanskaya for the sahaja yogi’s creative alliance project "Art of the awaked spririt".

Question: What does dancing give personally to you?

Answer:  In the world of dance only newcomers can answer this question clear and simply. If you practice classical dance art seriously for quite a long time you will plunge in this culture like it or not, it means that you begin to watch the world with other eyes. For me dancing is the way of life, I live it, but I do not just practice it.


Question: Is it easy to teach Russians how to dance Indian dance?

Answer:  Russian people are very talented. It was repeatedly noticed not only by my Russian colleagues but also by Indian ones. During our performance everybody think that we are Indians, nobody have a thought that we are Russians. But studying classical dance can’t be easy both for Russians and Indians neither for anybody. There are very complicated beats in classical tradition; moreover calisthenics is very unusual as movements of hands are intricate. Everybody dance in plies (half-sitting position). It’s a huge physical load. Besides very often during the dance hands are doing one thing, legs are doing another, and your face is changing emotions in accordance with the meaning of the song.


Question: How often do you perform and where the concerts usually take place?

Answer: We perform regularly. One of our direct places – is The State Museum of Oriental Art. We conduct lecture-concerts there, it means that we are not just dancing but also explain the meaning of the dances and speak about Kuchipudi tradition. In The Orient Museum we have our audience mostly there are people who are interested in Indian culture and philosophy, they know about different styles of the classical Indian dance. Also we participate in concert programs in a common with other styles, for example, in Moscow International Performing Art Centre.


Question: Why Muscovites are interested in Indian dance?

Answer: In my opinion Indian culture is quite close to Russian one. Just remember popularly beloved Indian films. Who doesn’t know Raj Kapoor? India is very colorful and cheerful country with deep religiously–philosophical roots. As well as in fact temple dance is quintessence of the culture on the one hand and dynamical yoga on the other hand. I suppose, it attracts truth hunters.


Question: How much time does it take to study dance to show it to spectator? Are Indian dances easy to study?

Answer: On the average it takes 2 years to study basic movements (steps and jathis) and first required dances – Puja and Jatisvaram. Of course as long as student regularly practices in class and works at the material at home. After that the student is ready for the scene. But sometimes we meet solely talented people who can master basic material for 1 year and begin to perform.  Every next ensuing dance is studied for a half a year to have digestible view for the scene, but grinding of it will continue until the man dance. There is no limit to perfection.


Question: I would like to show Puja and Krishna Shabdam dances, to speak about them.

Answer: Puja dance is greeting dance which is devoted to Lord Shiva and in which the dancer pays compliment to all Lords, Teachers and Spectators. Every performance always starts with it. Krishna Shabdam is a traditional Kuchipudi dance, in which on example of the love between Radha and Krishna the idea of higher love of the Individual Soul to God is provided in symbolic form.


Question: Tell me an anecdote about Indian dance.

Answer: It’s very easy to study Indian dance – you just need to spin a lamp with one hand and stroke a dog with other.


Question: Tell me about your project with Irish dancers, why did you decide to take the floor with them?

Answer: It’s because we used to practice in the same centre on Dubrovka, we met each other every day. They are very bouncy and cheerful and they have the same music. In one moment we decided to check how Irish beats combine with our Indian movements. Irish basic beats are 3-beat and 4-beat, we have the same. We chose the music and only had to spent time. It was very interesting experience of the culture exchange. Just imagine it, Russian dancers dance Irish and Indian dances to a French language song! Moreover, turned out that Kuchipudi dancers can dance almost with every music, in every culture they can find sophisticated beat. But other school’s dancers find it very hard to dance with a traditional Indian music. This year we made a joint act with step-dancers (American step), after the concert they admitted that it was the hardest beat in their life.


Question: Tell me about your plans?

Answer: We have only one plan – dance, dance and dance. We don’t need anything else, do we?

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