Posted on November 3, 2023 by Rolando Ramon

Join Rama Vaidyanathan and co. for a fresh take and exciting performance of the Margam in traditional Bharatanatyam dance!

NOVEMBER 8, 2023 – UTSA Arts’ En Vivo Guest Artist Series continues on November 9 with an exhibition of South Indian culture in downtown San Antonio at the Carver Center. Sponsored by Tat Tvam Asi and the Rajam and Somayaji Ramamurthy Endowment for Indic Dance at UTSA, New Dimensions to the Margam features dancer Rama Vaidyanathan and a team of expert dancers and musicians for a performance that takes a modern approach to the popular classical Indian dance form, Bharatanatyam.

Rama Vaidyanathan, known for her fresh approach to the dance form and unique choreography, is one of the most prominent classical Indian dancers of the modern era. She has managed to translate Bharatanatyam to the modern era while staying rooted in its core principles and traditions. This will be the first time the university hosts her for an in-person demonstration, following two previous online workshops held in 2021 and 2022.

Joining Vaidyanathan on New Dimensions are fellow Bharatanatyam dancers Kavya Ganesh, Reshika Sivakumar, Shubhamani Chandrashekar, and Vaishnavi Dhore. Taking a contemporary approach, the dancers will utilize time, space, music, and movement to explore a fresh perspective on the Margam, incorporating new themes in different languages never seen in traditional Bharatanatyam dance. The show’s music will be entirely performed by live musicians, featuring percussion instruments unique to Indian culture, such as the nattuvangam, kanjira, and mridangam, as well as the violin and vocals.

Originating from India’s southern Tamil culture as one of India’s oldest classical dance traditions, Bharatanatyam traces its roots to Hinduist spiritual temple dancing as a spiritual expression before it became mainstream in India during the early mid-20th century. The “Margam,” which means “the path” in the ancient South Indian dialect of Sanskrit, is the foundational dance repertoire that provides the bedrock for a dancer to grasp Bharatanatyam’s core principles and intricacies.

New Dimensions to the Margam showcases what Bharatanatyam should be in the 21st century and the possibilities that lay ahead for the dance over the following decade.  Vaidyanathan hopes to inspire dancers and dance lovers to balance tradition and modernity in their work. The exhibition also offers a great introduction for those who are unfamiliar with India’s culture and its classical dance.

The evening's performance will be open to the public with free admission at 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday, November 9, 2023, inside the Carter Community Cultural Center at 226 N Hackberry St, San Antonio, TX 78202.

— Rolando Ramon