Contents: Introduction. 1. History : origins and sources. 2. Heritage: The Devadasi and her art. 3. Histrionics : structure, style and substance. 4. Pioneers: Gurus, Gharanas and Gunijans. 5. Prodigals. 6. Prima Donnas. 7. Talents. 8. Trailblazers. 9. Tailend.
"Over two centuries Bharatanatyam has evolved from a highly codified style to one affording the maximum freedom to innovate. The journey of the dance from the temple to the proscenium is a fascinating story. No other form has traversed such a long distance without losing its original content and yet being a sparkling example of creative evolution in terms of material, music, costume, etc. Bharatanatyam today ranks as a major cultural symbol of India. The heritage, the histrionics, the pioneers, prodigals and prima donnas of this dance form are what this book celebrates.
Bharatanatyam is synonymous with ‘Bharat’ – India – which dances to the eternal sounds of the drums of the universe. In that the dance is like time, a performance without end or beginning." (jacket)