Vol. 61 No. 4, June 2010, pp. 68-77
Chandralekha (1928 – 2006) was a rare artist who, in all her choreographic works, consistently explored areas of femininity, sexuality, and the erotic. Her aesthetic questioned the reduction of the body to merely something pretty or ornamental or decorative. Her last few productions focused on a complex idea of “femininity”. Her central premise remained, of the essential unity of the body and, within it, the indivisibility of sexuality, sensuality, and spirituality. It was with Angika (1985) that she had proclaimed the need for reintegrating diverse Indian physical traditions and exploring new directions for dance in India. Today, her body of work is the yardstick by which new and contemporary dance from India is being measured. In the excerpt from the last recorded conversation with her friend and collaborator Sadanand Menon, she speaks movingly about her ideas and concerns.