Dancer Jagyaseni Chatterjee introduces Bharatanatyam to children through her new book


The pandemic has shown us that learning a new art form does not require the physical presence of a teacher. Almost all the classes had moved online to continue with the lessons. But even before that, the abundance of apps and YouTube channels went a long way in helping people learn the art of their choice without much hassle.

Bharatanatyam dancer Jagyaseni Chatterjee has brought out a new book, Learn dance with Suki, (published by Giri) for children. Illustrated wonderfully by Keshav Venkataraghavan, Suki, a parrot, takes the readers through the history of Bharatanatyam, introducing them to mudras and adavus. With a lot of dance-based activities, the book aims to help children gain a better understanding of the dance form.

With a red beak and salangai on her feet, Suki’s tuft looks like the katakamukha mudra. The author, a trained dancer herself, is the student of Lakshmi Ramaswamy, hence the attention to detail is unmistakable.

Ideal for kids below 10 years, the first few activities in the book look at what goes into being a dancer and the basics of Bharatanatyam. Suki also regales its readers with stories from mythology, which makes for an interesting read.

The book requires parents to have some knowledge of Bharatanatyam, as it’s a bit tedious to navigate through the book without guidance. While some basic aspects are elaborately explained, the book suddenly jumps levels leaving the reader confused. However, it should be said, fun activity books such as this one on our classical art forms are a good way to reach out to the young.

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