I've not been consciously thinking about the way that the dancers have started to transform recently. I've been pleased to see them, and they seem to know what they're doing, and what they want. It was only when I got some feedback from someone that I began to consider the different ways in which they might be interpreted.
These dancers are not serious, painterly renditions that bow to the history of European/American/Greek traditions of realism. The want to stretch their bodies in all directions, to twist and turn and express that key principle of Indian Aesthetics, which is the movement of life through/in a body.
'He who paints waves, flames, smoke and streamers fluttering in the air according to the movement of the wind should be considered a great painter. He knows painting... who represents the dead devoid of life movement and the sleeping possessed of it.'
Vishnudharmottaram, 3, 33: 1-39
I like the way that these dancers play with the Indian artist's lack of interest in realism, which is so different from the European/American/Greek tradition. Whereas the European artist was, and often still is, interested in accuracy of proportion, muscular exactitude, and attention to physical likeness, the Indian classical artist didn't care if the proportions were a little different from a real physical form, or if arms or toes or hands were doing things that arms and toes and hands couldn't actually do. They were interested in the breath. For me this takes the image into a different (not better, just different) philosophical realm, which is distinct from the interest in accuracy of form. It's a different metaphysics, and a different purpose for art.
As an artist, I would get more ready strokes from people looking at my images if I concentrated on perfecting my capacity to realistically 'capture' muscle, bone and proportion. Fun as it is, now, to be starting to draw from life again, the Greek aesthetic doesn't really hold any appeal for me. There are many people already working with this aesthetic, and I don't see any need to add myself to their number.
Artists choose particular aspects of life to work with; the human form, social critique, emotional interplay, injustice, transience, death... I choose to focus on life itself; on the movement of life through people and the world.
In the face of social injustice, transience, death and futility, these dancers say 'Look! How extraordinary to be alive!' 'How extraordinary to have a body, to be able to respond to music!'. Perhaps they seem trivial compared to a mighty life drawing or a hard-hitting piece of conceptual art. But I think they know something that we need.