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Temple Dancers



* 30 Apr 2022
The most important piece of repertoire mentioned in Rasikajana Manollasini is the ritual dance known as the Ashtadikpala Pushpanjali. Venkatasundara mentions each of the eight cardinal gods, followed by Eeshaana (the abstract form of Shiva) as being propitiated with different types of white flowers including jasmine, hibiscus, lily and tuberose. She incorporates ritualistic actions into the dance such as prokshanam (sprinkling of water to sanctify space) and even performs a small shlokam with specific mudras, movements and postures (karanas and charis). She uses the term ‘Bharatha Natyam’ to refer to her dance, by saying “Someshwarasya agre sthitham Bharatha Natyam karayeth” (performing Bharatha Natyam at the Someshwara temple).
Source:  The devadasi who wrote about dance by Gayathri Iyer, The Hindu, March 03, 2022


* 30 Apr 2022
Venkatasundara Sani was born into the hereditary dance community that performed in temples, and is believed to have lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Proficient in music, dance, poetry, and languages such as Sanskrit, Telugu and Kannada, she had also studied ancient treatises and movement systems. In 1908, under the aegis of the Mysore Trading Agency, Venkatasundara Sani published a book titled Rasikajana Manollasini, also known as Sarasangraha Bharatha Shastra.
The book is a stunning revelation about dance of the early 20th century. Only four chapters survive, yet they cover a wide range - poetry, dramatics, music, gesture, posture, and temple rituals. Venkatasundara employs precision in her codifications, several of which are similar to those found in the Natyashastra and Abhinaya Darpana. The book is written in a complex combination of Kannada, Sanskrit and Telugu, often mixing phrases and vocabulary from each language in interesting ways.
Source:  The devadasi who wrote about dance by Gayathri Iyer, The Hindu, March 03, 2022


* 30 Apr 2022
B.L. Rice’s Mysore Gazeteer published sometime after 1873 is an important source of information and mentions two temple dancers, Mariya Sani and her daughter Venkatasundara Sani, who were associated with the Ulsoor Someshwara temple.
Source:  The devadasi who wrote about dance by Gayathri Iyer, The Hindu, March 03, 2022