Dancing for the Gods

Shantala Shivalingappa in her Kuchipudi solo Bhairava. Photo: Christopher Duggan

Shantala Shivalingappa's "Akasha," a program of new Kuchipudi solos, at Jacob's Pillow, July 4 through 7. It was at Jacob’s Pillow in the 1960s that I first saw examples of two dance styles that I’d never heard of: Odissi and Kuchipudi.  Indrani, that beneficent performer and promulgator of Indian dance, was giving a master class and had brought with her two male dancers, each of them … [Read more...]

Krishna to Krishna: “Damn You!”

Surupa Sen in Krishna's Lament. Photo: Nan Melville

The Hindu god Shiva is sometimes pictured in Indian art and philosophy as half-man, half-woman. One beguiling interpretation of this vision is that he ceded half of his body to his beloved consort, Parvati, to show how much he loved her. In Hinduism, the union—or desired union—between masculine god and desirous female soul is the subject of many ravishing poems and dances. But as the three members … [Read more...]