Famous Indian dancer Alarmél Valli performs in Yangon


Bharatnatyam Dance Performance by Ms. Alarmel Valli at Sule Shangri-La in Yangon on 2 May 2016. Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima

“Dance is a kind of language the dancer has to use to write her own poetry”, said Indian dancer Alarmél Valli. As a famous representative of traditional Bharatanatyam dance, she has had performances all over the world - except Myanmar. “It was always a dream of mine to visit Myanmar”. Now, her dream has finally come true.  

Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest classical Indian dance styles, with more than two thousand years of history. It used to be a temple dance, only performed by women to express religious themes and devotion. Before 1930, it was not brought to the public stage. “I am very happy to begin the New Year with this classical dance”, Indian ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya said at the National Theatre. “Because this performance represents, what is most profound in Indian culture.” 

Alarmél Valli started with Bharatanatyam at the age of six. She composes her own choreographies and trains students in Bharatanatyam. Now, she is the second Indian artists to visit Myanmar during the Festival of India that takes place in 2016.

Her performance contains four different dances and includes a classical Indian orchestra with violin, flute, percussion, cymbals and singing. It is a kind of mixture of dance and acting. AlarmélValli uses body, gestures and mimicry to tell a story about nature, love and devotion. Her arms are flowing like water, her body spins and turns while the vibrating bells at her legs are moving with her every move. “The dancer sings with her body and the music dances”, AlarmélValli said about Bharatanatyam.

In the dance "A drink of water" she tells the story of a young woman and her turn to adolescence with scenes of building sandcastles and snatching flowers while she switches between the roles of the young woman, her mother and her friend from childhood. A very humorous and joyous performance.

There are nine basic emotions, that are expressed in Bharatanatyam, like romance, anger and grief. The ambition of a dancer is to reach perfection in every state of these emotions and to transfer the audience to that state of emotion. When Alarmél Valli dances it seems like she would see something very beautiful and stunning only she is able to see it and she tries to convey it to the audience by dance. The viewer cannot help but feel touched by her soulful dance. It is quite exhausting to watch four of these dances in a row as strong emotions always exhaust the mind.

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