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Documentaries Every Dancer Should Watch

Records or documentaries are the newsiest encyclopedias. a documentary stores so much of visual knowledge than any other source of records. Specially when we talk about art forms, styles, artist and evolution dance documentaries are the only source of references to the next generation.

Today I bring before you some such beautiful and thought provoking documentaries which every dancers should watch.

Bala (1976) — Satyajit Ray Documentary on T. Balasaraswati

This is a documentary dedicated to the goddess of Indian dance T Bala Saraswathi, earliest councilor of Bharatanatyam. Bala narrates the story of her journey into dance and features many legends like Uday shankar in the context. The documentary is directed by non other than Oscar winner Satyajit Ray. His narration meets with Balaama’s abhinaya is a wonder to the spectators.


The name Bharatnatyam, a classical dance tradition from Tamilnadu emerges from bhaava (expression), raga (music), tala (rhythm) and natya (theater). Deeply rooted in the Bhakti tradition, it was earlier performed in temples by Devadasis. The film Sanchari synthesizes the philosophical aesthetics of the dance form with the techniques required to perform it as well as the process involved in the transfer of knowledge from the teacher to the student.featuring non other than the legendary dancer Smt Leela Samson.

Kuchipudi Revisited

Kuchipudi, the dance, takes it name from the village of Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh where it originated and was developed as a male dance tradition. It had a certain vigour associated with it and depicted the unity of the male and female in one body, allowing the dancer to interpret and enact a male or a female role within the performance. Swapna Sundari, one of the renowned exponents of Kuchipudi, traces the origin, evolution and changing nuances of the dance form through interviews with her Guru Pasumarthy Seetharamaia, other acclaimed exponents and well known dance critics.

The Journey From Sadir to Bharatanatyam

The Film draws on the sociological aspects of the cultural history of Bharatanatyam. Directected by Viveka chauhan and Producer & Commissioning by Rajiv Mehrotra this movie got featured in International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala as well as Hague Film Festival, Netherlands . This movie takes us to the very roots of today’s bharatanatyam. Sadirattam or Sadir was the dance form which can be called as the mother of todays bharatanatyam.

Oddisi Dance in Eastman Colour

This is an educational and informative film on the subject of Indian classical dance “ODISSI” originated in Orissa many centuries ago and has now become most popular throughout the country and abroad.this movie features Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra as the narrator of the backdrop.

Mohiniattam Through the Ages

Mohiniattam, an ancient dance form of Kerala has undergone a great transformation over years. It has also enriched its repertoire over years. This film analyses the metamorphosis of Mohiniattam, the dance of the enchantress.this film tells us the initialization of Mohiniattam Into the vision of Indian art form.


Natyanubhava explores the universal and timeless appeal, as well as the diverse and evolved aesthetics of Indian Classical Dance by following its evocative narrative from ancient to contemporary India, as also as an artistic manifestation of the Indian civilization.

Remembering Ram Gopal

This is a documentary on Bissano Ram Gopal was an Indian dancer and choreographer who performed mostly as a soloist and toured extensively throughout his lengthy career. A modernist, he blended the classical Indian dance with balletic choreography,and along with Uday Shankar was among the first to showcase Indian classical dance in the West starting in the 1930s,Polish critic Tadeusz Zelenski called him “the Nijinsky of India” .As a choreographer, he is most known for his productions, Legend of the Taj Mahal, Dance of the Setting Sun and Dances of India. He is also noted for “Radha-Krishna”, his collaboration with British ballerina Dame Alicia Markova, in 1960. The movie takes us for ups and downs of the artist . a true insight into his world.

Documentary film is a vital component in holding both governments and corporations to account. In celebrating the documentaries that impact our society we help to keep the legacy of these films and their campaigns alive. The compassion, the determination and the bravery of these documentary filmmakers is breath taking. They use their art, their vision, their mastery of story telling to speak truth to power. To say that stories can change the world is nothing new but to reflect on the fact that they have such power never fails to amaze us.

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