The Resurrection Of Sadir: excerpts of messages from the future

The Resurrection Of Sadir: excerpts of messages from the future

All Rights Reserved ©2010-2019

The year is 2118; the city, Neo Madras. While researching for an in-depth article about the troubled state of the classical dance, Sadir, a writer and connoisseur of classical dance goes through several cultural reports of the previous century...

Thursday October 18, 2035. The Madras Observer: From the Classic to the Obscene
Bharatanatyam is no longer considered to be a classical dance, and it is no longer perceived as being respectable. These days, a proliferation of Bharatanatyam clone dancers, carbon copies of dance gurus, perform a dance filled with showmanship. The adavus or basic dance units push the limits of the physical to the gymnastics in an attempt at covering of space. These stylized adavus are cut into pieces and infused with gyrations from Indian film dance, kalaripayattu, yoga, martial arts, ballet. And without including natural traits or properties of mind in the Art of Abhinaya.

Saturday August 12, 2037. Dance Art Reviews: The Rise & Fall of the Clone
Although Bharatanatyam has lost its classical dance status, Neo Madras and other cities still have performances by clone dancers. These clone dancers insist in announcing their “artistic freedom”. However, the mindless sameness that replaced the earlier individuality of a dancer has left the connoisseurs of dance and art lovers confused and uninspired, only to have them leave the theatres indefinitely.

Sunday, November 7, 2047. Bharatanatyam Banned: ‘Offends Public Sensibilities’ claims AIBP Act
Over the last decade, several anti-Bharatanatyam movements have turned their attention to stopping performances of Bharatanatyam in public places. These movements concentrated on shaping public opinion and having the public refuse to attend such performances. Last month, for example, on October 9, 2047, the ‘All India Bharatanatyam Prevention Act’ banned all public performances of Bharatanatyam.

Sunday August 30, 2048. The AIBP Act: A Clean Sweep?
The AIBP Act of 2047, popularly known as the “Bharatanatyam ban”, effectively prevented clone-gurus and clone-dancers from teaching and performing dance. As a result, they are now being forced to close down their dance school factories. Unfortunately, as a result of the AIBP Act, several master gurus too, who carried on the age-old tradition of teaching students in the form of apprenticeship, have been swept away into obscurity.

Can we break new ground and find a way to reinstate those dedicated but much-maligned practitioners? Can the old dance emerge as a new relevant avatar and regain its original respectability? That remains to be seen…

Wednesday June 28, 2049. MAD Dance: A revival in the offing
Less than two years after Bharatanatyam was abolished by law, some revivalists and prominent thinkers are starting to plead for the revival of Bharatanatyam. These revivalists seek to re-appropriate Bharatanatyam dance traditions, and bring those into a context that would be perceived as being respectable. They say that their goal is to preserve and transform the art of Bharatanatyam by purifying it. To achieve these revival goals, the revivalists have planned to seek out some skilled practitioners, who survived the ban that was enforced nearly two years ago. It is believed that these practitioners returned to their villages to lead withdrawn and reclusive lives.

Thursday March 18, 2052. The Madras Times: Return of the Native
With a focus on presenting a new transformed and revived dance soon, highly skilled Bharatanatyam teachers, who survived the AIBP act, are being much sought after – to be appointed to “purify” and teach dance with a holistic approach. The focus would be on each disciple’s individual ability. Plans are afoot to introduce many modifications to the dance. One major change would be the restoring of the dance margam to a prominent repertoire of love or erotic (sringara) songs. The dance is also to be recodified to reintroduce the full execution of the adavus, or basic dance units. Manodharma is being reintroduced as an inseparable concept of Abhinaya.

The “new” skilled teachers are being renamed, nattuvanar – masters of dance art. They will be exclusively dance composers and performance conductors.
And the most visible restoration? Bharatanatyam will now be called Sadir.

Tuesday January 9, 2057. Friday Folio: Glory Regained
To encourage public interest in the revived classical dance, Sadir, revivalists of the dance and the nattuvanars or dance masters have introduced several outstanding dancers to the proscenium stages of the city. Art patrons, such as the Neo Dance Academy Madras, are giving full support. And so, slowly but surely, the city’s theatres are filling once again with audiences full of eager expectations.
The glory of a bygone era of royal courts and temples is being regained…

Monday, 26 December 2067. Madras Dans Magazine: Return Full Circle?
With the popularity of classical dance performances, many upper-class girls and boys start to learn how to dance and perform the classical dance, Sadir. As they decide to compose, experiment, and teach the dance themselves, they seem to be ousting the nattuvanar, the masters of dance...

Published by
Sathir Dance Art Trust
All Rights Reserved© September 2018
"The Ressurection of Sadir"
First published in 2010
This article may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the prior written permission of the publisher.
With Many Thanks to: RM