Professional singing and dancing considered low-class
Posted on September 20, 2016
Even, say, hundred years ago, that Girish Chandra Ghosh, he wanted to introduce theatrical performances, imitating the European theatrical performances, man and woman taking part. So he wanted to invite woman artist. Not a single woman joined. Who will go to public stage to dance, respectable girl? They'll never. That is hundred years. I am speaking, say, about forty years ago. In one of our [indistinct] men, the girl was to be married, and it is the custom in India, the bridegroom's party comes to see the girl, whether she is right. Similarly, the girl's party goes to see the...
So they came to see one of my friend's daughter. The daughter is very beautiful, rich man's daughter. So one of the bridegroom's party questioned, "You know how to dance?" That was his question to the girl: "You have learned something about dancing and singing?" So she was my friend's daughter, my, that friend, Mukunda Mullik. His elder brother was there. He became very angry, that "This rascal is asking our daughter whether she knows dancing and singing." She took it as... He took it as insult, that "Respectable family, daughter should learn how to dance, how to sing?" So immediately he protested, "No, no, no, she does not know how to dance, how to sing. She's not meant for that purpose. We like, of course, a young girl dancing and singing, but we cannot teach our family members. We spend for that outside. You cannot expect our Mullik's family daughter dancing and singing. No. He is well, good[?]."
Dancing? Singing? What is this nonsense? For a respectable family? It is meant for the low-class professional. Pay them, they will dance. Or go to some prostitute. She will dance. So he said that "We have got some taste for dancing, but not that our family members should do that. We pay for that outside." So this art... And among the theatrical, Girish Chandra Ghosh could not get a single response from any respectable family. Then he had to seek some young girls from the prostitute class. They became later on famous artists, Kusumkamali Dasi, this Dasi... Nowadays it has become a fashion that aristocratic family should join this cinema and spoil their character. Otherwise it was meant for the..., no respectable man.
(Srila Prabhupada, in conversation — July 27, 1976, London)