The Changing Face of Classical Dance in India
Leela Venkataraman - Pulse, magazine for South Asian music and dance, UK - March 18, 2018

A fast-rising bharatanatyam dancer, Meenakshi Srinivasan, has composed Sita’s Agni Pravesham, which I consider as one of the extremely well-conceived items. First is the selection of a sequence which has tremendous dramatic potential, comprising in a way a whole philosophy on the treatment meted out to women in a patriarchal society. The selected Sanskrit verses from Valmiki Ramayanam translated into Tamil by a scholar and the nuanced music composed by Hariprasad provide the right foundation. And Meenakshi’s interpretation preserves the poignancy of the episode by not exaggerating and without any didactic padding, allowing the moment to speak for itself. The concluding circumambulation of Sita by Agni, who tells Rama that his flames cannot ever touch or purify someone as blemishless as Sita, says it all. The segment from an ancient epic has a message as relevant for women’s empowerment today as then. And this is the way to underline the eternal present in myth and epic. This is the direction in which classical dance should spread.











                  "I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words." - Ruth St.Denis