Continuing from my previous post:
The next 5 reasons to learn:
#6 Indian Classical Dance requires intense and perfect body and mind coordination. e.g the variations in footwork -are based on rhythm/beat (Taala) cycles which run into mathematical multiplication & combinations. This develops higher mental abilities and students have been seen to perform well academically (in non-arts subjects) as well, despite having less time on hands than others.
#7 The traditional compositions are to songs written by the Bhakti poets (Tyagaraja, Dikshitar, Jayadeva, Annamacharya ) and later. These poets especially Tyagaraja were Saints for whom music was a spiritual calling and their work reflects their spiritual progress towards Mukti (the final release/salvation). Hence if performed with a sense of awareness about the depth of meaning of the literature (sahitya) and with devotion (bhakti), Indian classical dance is form of worship and a spiritual path in itself (validated in The Vedas themselves).
#8 As with other extra curricular activities, learning and doing well in this field gives the student a sense of individual identity and confidence. Besides owing to the cultural and traditional origin of dance, it also provides a feel of cultural identity (and hence has become so popular among NRIs) and rootedness.
#9 Dance is a form of expression. There is a more or less fixed grammar and vocabulary of expressions in classical dance, but the expressions themselves (abhinaya) can be as vast as the human heart can feel and express. So one can choreograph to any kind of music and any of content. That is why while many dancers after learning the forms break the mould to explore different forms (of movement and expression (e.g. Astad Deboo, Chandralekha, Mallika Sarabhai) , equally many choose to stay more or less within the mould and explore the boundaries (e.g. Birju Maharaj, Yamini Krishnamurthi, Malavika Sarrukai) . The latter find that there is enough to explore in this life and many more to come.
#10 If you dance for yourself, as well as you can (whatever your given constraints), and for no other reason than to make yourself happy – Indian Classical Dance is a way of life and perhaps the best.