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The Transfiguration of A Traditional Dance
Issue : EBook4
Published on : November, 2011


Sadir, as the traditional classical dance of the Tamil country came in be known had been brought to glory by its hereditary custodians, namely, its preceptors and practitioners belonging to the devadasi community. In the late 1920’s, a campaign to abolish the ill-reputed ‘degenerated’ devadasi system had reached fever-pitch. Proposed legislation for abolishing the system and redeeming its victims threatened to snuff the lights out of the sacred—and the profaned—Sadir. At this stage, the newly established Music Academy of Madras and E. Krishna Iyer, its knight in shining armour, stepped into the battle to help save the dance I distress and assist the transfiguration of the sullied Sadir into blessed Bharatanatyam. Significantly, the Academy staged dances by outstanding presented devadasi performers themselves to establish the beauty of the art in the public’s mind.

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