This short course introduces participants to Bharatanatyam (South Indian classical dance). You will discover how the dance interlinks your mind and movements, energises your body with dynamic flowing actions, and awakens awareness of your main chakra centres.
The dance is a journey into the dimensions of weight, space and time that engages your personal imagination and creative vision, helping you to access inner stillness and expand your physical presence.
Through simple but profound actions you will taste the three layers of the temple art: nritta – rhythms, shapes and patterns; nritya – symbolic hand gestures; and natya – embodiment of the gods and goddesses.
Like yoga or martial arts, the dance involves the whole self in a moving meditation – from the soles of your feet to your fingertips and eyes. The dance is both poetic expression and quiet ritual.
Its ancient form guides us towards our centre, aligns our spine, activates our senses and calms our thoughts.
Please wear loose fitting clothes that will allow you to bend and squat: we dance in bare feet.
Teaching Artist Dr Mark James Hamilton returned to NZ in 2020 after 9 years teaching intercultural arts in London. He began yoga at the age of 12 and was initiated with mantra by Amma – Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi when he was 24. He studied bharata natyam from 1994-2005 in Scotland and Kerala with his guru Priya Ramakrishnan Srikumar and her master, Paramasiva Menon. After 10 years, Paramasiva took Mark to Mookambika Devi Temple in the north of Kerala, to dedicate his dance to the Goddess in a performance for the abbess. Mark has practiced astanga vinyasa yoga intensively (2001-2011), including lessons with its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. He trained in kalaripayattu (martial art) in Kerala (2007-2011). His doctorate explored the synthesis of yoga, dance and martial arts. Mark is experienced in Thai massage and holds foundation certificates in anatomy, counselling and te reo Maori.
Teaching Artist Daneil Peter Cunningham is an actor, director, and teacher of creative movement practices and yoga for actors. He trained in: physical theatre, at Rose Bruford School of Performance and Theatre in London); Stanislavky’s acting system, at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre; and in hatha yoga, at the Sivananda Yoga Centre World HQ in Southern India. Daneil has also practiced astanga vinyasa, Iyengar and Gitananda yoga forms with Dr. Mark James Hamilton since 2014, and is currently a student of astanga at the Auckland Yoga Academy. Daneil’s international acting career includes tours and expeditions of Spain, Georgia, France, Turkey and Scotland with Teatr ZAR (resident company at the Grotowski Institute, Poland). He founded and directed an immersive theatre company called SoundBoxed who performed across London for three years - including prestigious venues such as the Roundhouse, South Bank Centre and Barbican. Daneil was lead performer in this work. He went on to create and perform a solo work in London, Dublin and Reykjavik. Daneil has taught physical practices to build actors’ presence at four London drama schools, including Arts Ed - the UK’s oldest drama school. He led physical actor training at Identity School of Acting, which was founded to nurture black talent — their most notable alumni being Letitia Wright (Black Panther) and John Boyega (Star Wars).