Music: The Past for the Present

Sir William Rothenstein, president of London's Royal College of Arts, felt justified in feeling peeved that day in 1923: his star pupil was deserting him. Young Uday Shankar, who had come all the way from India to study painting, was about to join Anna Pavlova's ballet troupe. "Please, persuade Mme. Pavlova not to do this," Sir William begged a friend. Replied Pavlova: "Please tell Sir William that Shankar is a born dancer. He must dance. Oh, he must dance."

So Shankar danced. He danced in Vienna, Paris, New York, and all over India. He stuck close to his country's classical traditions,...

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