By Rustom Bharucha
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Additional info for Chandralekha, Woman Dance Resistance
Also there was a greater camaraderie among the performers, much less competition and backbiting. This is what made it possible for two seeming 'rivals' like Rukmini Devi and Balasaraswati to honour the 'opening night' of a young dancer's choreography with their gracious presence. Perhaps, it should also be remembered that Harindranath Chattopadhyay was personally known to both these artists, and as master of ceremonies for Devadasi, his invitation to attend the performance must have carried additional weight.
She decided to watch their nocturnal movement by sleeping on the terrace at night. Ever so often she would wake up to see if any buds were flowering. ' And Chandra herself' used it as a fable of sorts when she had the privilege of seeing one of the great masters of Noh drama perform in Japan. When she expressed her appre ciation backstage, the master merely smiled in a formal way. Chandra realised that every tourist was probably paying him similar compliments, so to convey the depth of her appre ciation, she recalled the movement of flowers on her terrace to the Noh master and told him that his 'walk' was as silent and invisible as their nocturnal growth.
To this the master did respond with deep appreciation of Chandra's sensitivity. Once again, the story with the Noh master seems to be 'made up,' resembling a Zen parable where life imitates art. I think it also reveals Chandra's capacity to respond cre atively to someone's art, thereby revealing her own sensi bility. Many years later, as I imagine it, the 'invisible movement' of the flowers continued to haunt Chandra's imagination as a choreographer. And to my mind, it has nurtured her understanding and use of vi/ambit kaal (the slow tempo) most notably in Prana where the dancer's yogic movements are like astral rhythms corresponding to the sustained measure that holds the production together, almost in one continuous breath.