From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Kalashetra, Bharatanatyam
Mains level : Classical dances of India
The Central government has appointed 12 eminent artists and musicians to the board of the prestigious institution.
- It is an arts and cultural academy dedicated to the preservation of traditional values in Indian art and crafts, especially in the field of Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music.
- Based in Chennai, India, the academy was founded in January 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale and her husband George Arundale.
- Under Arundale’s guidance, the institution achieved national and international recognition for its unique style and perfectionism.
- In January 1994, an Act of the Parliament of India recognized the Kalakshetra Foundation as an “Institute of National Importance.”
Who was Rukmini Devi Arundale?
- Devi (1904 –1986) was an Indian theosophist, dancer, and choreographer of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam, and an activist for animal welfare.
- She was the first woman in Indian history to be nominated a member of the Rajya Sabha.
- The most important revivalist of Bharatanatyam from its original ‘sadhir’ style prevalent amongst the temple dancers, the Devadasis, she also worked for the re-establishment of traditional Indian arts and crafts.
- She espoused the cause of Bharata Natyam which was considered a vulgar art.
- She ‘sanitised’ and removed the inherent eroticism of Sadhir to make it palatable to Victorian British morality and Indian upper-caste elites.
- Bharatanatyam previously called Sadhir Attam is a major form of Indian classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu.
- It is one of the oldest classical dance traditions in India.
- It has been nurtured in the temples and courts of southern India since the ancient era.
- It is one of eight forms of dance recognized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi (the others being Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Manipuri, and Sattriya).
- The word Bharata is a mnemonic, consisting of “bha”–”ra”–”ta”.
- According to this belief, bha stands for bhava (feelings, emotions), ra stands for raga (melody, framework for musical notes), and ta stands for tala (rhythm).