When I dance, I sing with my body

Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer, Alarmel Valli, on her dance form and her performance, titled Only Until the Light Fades, at the Nakshatra Dance Festival. Read on to know about the versatile dancer.

art and culture Updated: Oct 10, 2010 15:34 IST
Charlene Flanagan
Charlene Flanagan
Hindustan Times

The symphony of words, melody and movement is the epitome of Indian classical dance. It is the union of body, mind and soul, encompassing the very essence of life. This can be explicitly seen in the performances of noted Bharatanatyam dancer and choreographer, Alarmel Valli. “The key to my intuitive understanding of dance is the close inter-relation between movement and music,” explains Valli.

“When I dance, I sing with my body.” Valli, who performed at the ongoing Nakshatra Dance Festival organised by NCPA, is among a number of reputed dancers who are taking to this platform for a variety of captivating and eclectic performances.

On Stage

Her performance, titled

Only Until the Light Fades

, brings to life the treatment of love in a subtle, deeply internalised dance poetry. In collaboration with Arundhathi Subramaniam, Valli explored this theme with poems in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and English. Her recital includes interpretation of the pre-Aryan Tamil verse, medieval Sanskrit poetry, from the 19th century




and even

contemporary poetry. “What unfolds is a celebration of Indian classical dance,” says Valli. “I begin with a Shingara, an invocation on love. What I’ve tried to do is to weave together three distinct layers—words, melody and movement. Keeping the theme of love intact but also bringing in other colours of emotion was extremely difficult. I’ve tried to bring out love through dance and poetry.”

Happy feet

The Nakshatra Dance Festival is aiming to create a galaxy of sorts, with India’s finest dancers glistening across its stage. It holds a twinkling promise in store for all dance aficionados. Says Valli, “I’ve been associated with the NCPA for decades. I’ve had many happy memories here. It only seemed natural that I be a part of this festival.”

First Published: Oct 10, 2010 12:20 IST