Sometimes I see something I want to share but I have no time to write a blog post on it. I realized today that I could just, simply, share the quote and its source, and then trust that if you are inspired, you will seek out more on this topic and will, hopefully, comment thoughtfully below!
The short quote:
"Dance belongs to the people as an ecstatic practice that expresses the Divine, and not just to the universities or art schools as a cultivated art form to be performed by the few."
Part of a much longer section from the chapter To The Dancer Belongs the Universe from the book Women Healing Women by William Keepin and Cynthia Brix. The speaker in this longer quote is Ila Tiwari. I don't believe that this perspective is a comment only on Indian classical dance, but that is the specific movement form of the speaker.
Here is the whole quote:
"Dance is not just an art form reserved for the cultivated and the elite. It is for everyone. Dance inspires the soul, and through dance, the human body becomes transformed into a temple inhabited by the gods. We are in grave danger of losing the depth and true purpose of our profound dance heritage in India. As the Western dance forms and attitudes gain ever more prominence here, our tradition of classical dance is eroding and vanishing, or else it gets watered down into some glamorous performance spectacle...
It is through our dance heritage that the true spirit of India comes fully alive. We must preserve this tradition and pass it on so it can sustain and inspire all those who embrace and practice it! Dance belongs to the people as an ecstatic practice that expresses the Divine, and not just to the universities or art schools as a cultivated art form to be performed by the few...
The true purpose of dance is not to show off oneself or one's talents, but to allow the Divine to reveal itself, using the human body as its instrument. For that, the dancer's self-importance and personal ego have to go. Yet much of what's happening today in professional dance is just the opposite - building up the dancer's ego. Indian classical dance is thus in danger of becoming an outer spectacle of artistic glamour and technical virtuosity, rather than an inner communion with God."