Sowmya surrendered to the longing. She did not notice that her costume, damp with sweat, was sticking to her legs or that a bell from her anklets had torn off and flung out on the floor. She only saw the sound, only heard the dance: the leap she would make, the pause for a fraction of the beat before landing with elegance of the antelope. There was nothing else in her vision. She summoned to her face all that was needed to communicate the agony, the bliss, the sacred story, the mystical moment. It will cleanse your audience, redeem! Her feet, weightless, flew over the ground.

Kita-thaka-dharikitathom! Kita-thaka-dharikitathom! Kita-thaka-dharikitathom!

 From the novel Desire of the Moth

 A dance demonstration of a Varnam, an item of dance, by the students of Kalakshetra , Chennai, India.

Sowmya arched her brows, knitted them, and
learned to make her whole upper body shimmer while her
feet danced.

“Subtlety in facial expression,” Mallika said. “It should
arise slowly, fade and give way to something else to rise,
leave space for a thought, poetry to form. This is what defines
this art, the abhinaya. Take fury. Fury yes, but with
compassion, this is what it’s all about.”

— from the Desire of the Moth

A production by Satyajit Ray on dance demonstrated by the great dancer Balasaraswathi.