By Anjana Anand
The Silappathikāram of Ilango Adigal (1AD) is a treasure-house of cultural information from the Tamil land of almost 2000 years ago. A Grammar of Dance looks closely at the third canto, Arangētru kādhai, which talks about the arangetram or debut performance of Madhavi, a courtesan in the Chozha court in Puhar. Ilango Adigal outlines the merits of a trained dancer, which include detailed knowledge of the technique of Kūtthu and its allied art forms.
While Ilango Adigal briefly alludes to these aspects in this epic which traces the star-crossed lives of Kovalan, Kannagi and Madhavi, it is the commentaries by Arumpada Uraiyasiriyar (10 AD) and Adiyarkkunallar (12 AD) written a thousand years later that shed more light on the technical terms mentioned in the Arangētru kādhai.
A Grammar of Dance is the first published English translation of Ilango Adigal’s Arangētru kādhai along with its commentaries. These commentaries contain detailed insights which will allow connoisseurs of dance and culture to immerse themselves in a rich art form that is millennia old, and yet preserved for posterity through careful documentation.
Please contact Sahrdaya Foundation ( +91 9499926649 ) to collect your copies.
Price: Rs 500 (courier charges applicable)
An alumna of SIFAS, Singapore and Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts, Chennai, Anjana is a Bharatanatyam performer and teacher presently under the mentorship of Sheejith Krishna. Anjana is the co-founder of Sahrdaya Foundation.
Her interest in academics led her to complete a Masters in Fine Arts (Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli). She is currently working on a Ph.D. in dance studies with a focus on rasa theory under the guidance of Dr. S. Raghuraman (Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore).