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E. Russell Lynn and Jan Irene Miller

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E. Russell Lynn
“Ashoka Dance”
Created using Jan Irene Miller’s story (below) as inspiration

Dance in India
By Jan Irene Miller

Curt Sachs refers to dance as the mother of the arts because unlike painting, sculpture, architecture, or music, dance exists at once in time and space. The dancer and the dance, the creation and the creator become one and the same. The bonds of our physical being are momentarily broken in total immersion of our bodies in rhythmic motion – in ecstasy we become merely the receptacle of our souls. Through our innate sense of rhythm, we may loose the exhilaration of our inner beings through organic motion. In doing so we close the gap between the two worlds, physical and spiritual.

The dance in India is most significantly associated with their religion. Its functional aspect has for centuries been not only for socializing, but also for religious ceremony and ritual. Through dynamic movement of the body in rhythmic measure together with the elaborate language of the sculpturesque gestures the Indian dancer shares the divine nature of our innermost being.

Ritualistic dance and music have been noted in the Vedas and Puranas dated 1500 B.C. Later in the Hindu and Buddhists periods, dance became a form of entertainment in palaces and royal ceremonies.  The dance was patronized by kings and practiced by royal and aristocratic families. Paintings and sculpture at Ajanta, Bagh, Elura, Elephanta, Khajuraho and Bhuvanesvara suggest the importance of dance in cultural history.

As a spiritual practice, dance techniques are based on the pursuit of release (moska). In the positive sense, release suggests recognition of unity or communion with that which is unchanging or absolute. This ecstatic state of being (ananda) may be achieved through discipline in which a dancer acquires a sense of harmony with the universe. Life on this higher level through the extinction of the subject – object duality adds the necessary elements in the quest towards understanding and recording the high aspirations of the great artists of India. It is through great discipline that one might have this aesthetical experience and momentarily loose the bonds of the mortal body.

The symbol that unites the spirit and the form of Indian art (as much as dance itself is a synthesis of all aspects of creative activity) is Shiva, Nataraja. Shiva is the king of the actors and dancers. With his dancing he perpetuates the rhythmic flow of the cosmic energies and by doing so releases men from the voids of illusion. Within this image is symbolized the great stage of the world in balance between creation (production) and destruction (extermination). Shiva bestows peace among his people as he points out the path to release through the submission of ignorance and illusion. In his vibrant activity Shiva is encompassed by the vital organic processes of nature and simultaneously emanates truth. The pulsating motion of Shiva’s body is in contrast to his serene face which points to the paradox of the repose of the ocean and the rushing stream (eternity and time). We and the divine are one and the same.

The theory and technique of Indian dance cannot be studied as an isolated art but instead as a complete synthesis of the arts of literature, sculpture and music. In combining all of these arts dance becomes the beautiful and significant symbol of the spiritual and artistic aspirations of the Hindu mind.

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Lynn

E. Russell Lynn
“Green Spike, Red Square”
Inspiration piece provided to Jan Irene Miller

Untitled
By Jan Irene Miller

The shadow of the past stands out in front and begs for attention. Do something with me! Stop this madness and my desperate attempt to be seen, touched and dealt with. The imbalance is killing us all! What an unhappy madness to sit with! What happened to our bright shiny plan with hopeful aspirations of passionate love and life’s celebrations?

What sense is it to push aside and diminish our burning passion and bury our heads in shame or hopes of comfort until death? Is that living? Could we all just notice that human beings are STILL amazing and get started with the re-engineering of the situation. There is plenty of gratitude rooted and centered in the outrageous beauty and mystery of life filling our universe with limitless joy. Dance!

What? There is room for all that we are and our history too? There’s the possibility of embracing this maddening, agitating state of affairs and accepting it and moving on?   Nothing to be discarded? No events and emotions to be hidden? Just continuing down the path to find the arrangement, the connection, and the ways that all of this makes sense? Is it possible we are all part of the unique tapestry of the unfolding of the unknown composition? Is it possible we desperately need each and every one of us to complete the complex weaving and wafting of the final product?

Shall we surrender to sharing and possibly touching? Is there room for the broadening array of our unique differences? Our complete history?

Suddenly we give legs and wings and a dancers spirit to the shadows and passions and imaginations that we embody. Here we’ll find the rhythm they share. Give them the permission to be untamable, let their wildness wonder off to find their new place, the new cubby, their new abode for the next scenario of life’s complex cycles.

Madness is averted for now. Agitated maybe, rearranged and ready for the next beginning. All parts counted for. A new cycle begins in our constant composing and choreographing. Dance with me!

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