Shedding light on India’s eight classical dance forms, a new illustrated book by Odissi dancer and author Jaya Mehta gives children insight into the colorful world of Indian classical dances.
”Nritya Katha: Indian Dance Stories for Children”, illustrated by Moldovan illustrator Natalia Suruba, is a collection of nine stories featuring different dance forms, ranging from Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri to Kathakali, Kathak, Chhau, Mohiniyattam and Sattriya.
It is published by the National Book Trust of India.
”As a young mother and dancer from Odissi, I found many attractive picture books on ballet, flamenco and even Balinese dance. But there were no history books about the dance forms of India. To fill these gaps in children’s books, I wrote this set of 9 stories,” said Mehta, disciple of Odissi scholar Pratibha Jena Singh.
”The book is my ode to the diverse and colorful dances of India. I hope children like mine can experience the rich and fascinating context of each dance form,” she added.
Told through the intimate, magical and personal journey of a child, the stories in the book uncover the fascinating contexts of each form of Indian dance: their art, architecture, costumes and craftsmanship.
At the end of each story, the author also shares important trivia, facts, and a glossary regarding different dance forms.
For example, he talks about how Kathakali artists get their eyes red for their performance or how the Bharatanatyam dance form is inspired by the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidamabram in Tamil Nadu.
“Like my previous book, my new book also illustrates India, its traditions, culture, art, diversity and well-being, which are embedded in Indian art forms. . . Many parents and grandparents would like to buy this book,” said Mehta, who published her first book “The Poetic Saree” in 2018.
”Nritya Katha: Indian Dance Stories for Children” is currently available for sale in online and offline stores.
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