It signifies absorption of an entire ethos of an art tradition over time, painting the dancer’s inner ideational landscape from which dance images are spun out.The writer is an eminent dance critic. Poetry is the “elixir of imagination”, said Lakshmi, quoting verses of the 7th century poetry of Tayumanavar, and a verse from Kamba Ramayanam describing the physical perfection of Ram — where whichever part of Ram’s body the eyes of the onlooker happened to fall on remained transfixed on that point only!

Saswati SenKathak PEEK bearings exponent Saswati Sen incisively spoke of the dance journey from Diksha (seeing and learning) to Shiksha under a teacher to the final stage of Pariksha involving Manodharma. The cream of interpretative excellence came in the Telugu Pada Varnam in Kalyani, “Sarasijakshulu nee vani” a composition of Sivanandam of the Tanjore Quartet.Lectures next morning on Manodharma saw Lakshmi Viswanathan pinpoint the intertwined nature of music, dance and poetry in Bharatanatyam. Educating oneself on the poetics of dance is a must to understand the nature of “prema bhakti” — the urgency of that nayika’s call, beyond reason, laced with layers of the erotic and the devotional.