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August 2015
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Will dancers stop to think about the annual Music Academy awards that are given out in December? This year the prestigious Sangeeta Kalanidhi is being awarded to Carnatic vocalist Sanjay Subramaniam and the Natya Kala Acharya to Bharatanatyam artiste Alarmel Valli. The second award has been instituted less than 15 years ago and shows the schism between dance and music. Did you know that Balasaraswati was the only dancer to be awarded the Sangeeta Kalanidhi title by the Academy in 1973? Why has there been no dancer since to merit this award? Why has music been dislodged as an inseparable component of the dance learning and practice? With greater attention to the body, line, technique and the ephemeral "perfection" that is being sought, recorded music and ready make solutions seem the easy go-to option.

More and more young dancers in India and certainly in the USA lack the awareness and choreographic imprint of one particular style or teacher. We are witnessing a generation of generalists - dancers who flit from one workshop and weekend tutoring from a large smorgasbord of visiting performers, grazing at everything and digesting nothing. This emerged from my conversation with contemporary dancer Mandeep Raikhy at the GATI premises in New Delhi.  Every year many apply for the opportunity to be mentored in contemporary dance techniques by a roster of respected professionals. Each passing year elicits less engagement and responses to the basic questions about choreography and intention. The malaise is everywhere. Less interest in process and more attention on the final product. Learn one "dance item" and drop that into the dance menu box. Next! With these trends, maybe it is time to reconfigure the familiar guru-sishya relationship. Guru Purnima Day should now include not just the first dance or music guru but the various  teachers, mentors and life coaches that populate our creative lives.

Is there a true community of dancers bobbing about in our minds but not in reality? Is the idea of a dance community a mythical entity, floating in our minds but not a reality? Social media is filled with dancers posting their events on several dance pages but the question is WHO IS READING THEM? Are dancers discussing their friends' performances or even recommending other shows to watch? I don't see much interest on these pages except for self serving notices about who is dancing when and where along with a stream of missable comments. Can the newly formed DANCE UNION by GATI begin to address these lacunae in Indian dance? Can we engage within ourselves and other interested entities to create a web of dance lovers, supporters and dance advocates? We have to hope that it will be possible.

One topic that is sweeping across tongues in India is the return of Akram Khan. This British-Bangladeshi superstar of contemporary dance was first seen in 2000 at THE OTHER FESTIVAL at the MUSEUM THEATRE in Chennai. I remember meeting with Akram's manager Farookh Choudhry at the South Bank Cafe in London to discuss his India visit. I had been blown away after watching Akram and Mavin Khoo in NO MALE EGOS, a duet that brought the NAVADISHA 2000 conference in Birmingham to a close. THE OTHER FESTIVAL, India's first annual contemporary arts festival had just begun in 1998 and Akram was THE rising star of British dance.  Inviting Akram was the natural option and he graciously said YES. I recall him rehearsing on the uneven stage of the Museum Theatre, smiling as we scrambled to create the most professional atmosphere and delighted as we watched the audience rise to their feet in a unanimous standing ovation. 

Read more....


ROVING EYE: A section of impressions, images and inspirations
Curated by Anita Ratnam

Anita Ratnam presents Neelam: Drowning in Bliss
Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Sept 3, 2015 Mumbai

- Shyamala Mohanraj (1941-2015), senior most student of the legendary T Balasaraswati, passed away in the early morning hours of July 14, 2015 in Chennai. She had been ailing for several months. She is survived by a son. Shyamala was a sensitive and outstanding interpreter of the abhinaya tradition made famous by her guru, the iconic Bharatanatyam performer and musician, T. Balasaraswati. For several years, Shyamala retreated from the performance scene until she was coaxed into returning by some students and scholars of the traditional form.

- Kathak exponent Surendra Saikia passed away in a Lucknow hospital on July 16, 2015. He was a recipient of the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and a senior guru of Kathak Kendra, Lucknow.

- Senior Bharatanatyam Guru Jayalakshmi Alva (81), a student of Dandayudhapani Pillai, Swarna Saraswati and Mylapore Gowri Ammal passed away in Mangalore on July 21, 2015.  Fondly called Alva amma, she was instrumental in popularizing Bharatanatyam in Bombay and Mangalore where in 1974 she created her dance institution Sridevi Nrithya Kendra along with her husband Ramakrishna Alva and continued to teach and  promote Bharatanatyam. Among her celebrated students are Sonal Mansingh and film actress Waheeda Rehman. She was awarded the attendance Lifetime Achievement award in 2013. The film compiled on her for the occasion by Ashish Mohan Khokar, remains the last updated record of this genial, gracious guru. With her death, an era comes to an end.

- On 24 July 2015, Natyarangam - the dance wing of Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai - presented OBUL REDDY ENDOWMENT AWARD to dance duo V Balagurunathan and Gayatri Balagurunathan, VASANTHALAKSHMI-NARASIMHACHARI  ENDOWMENT AWARD for talent promotion to Bhavajan Kumar, SUDHARANI RAGHUPATHY ENDOWMENT AWARD to K Rajasekaran (vocalist and nattuvanar).

- Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai, will honor Neena Prasad with NRITYA CHOODAMANI and Saroja Vaidyanathan with ACHARYA CHOODAMANI in December 2015.

- The Dhananjayans will be honored by Swami Dayanand Saraswati with ARSHA KALA BHUSHANAM for their contribution to Bharatanatyam and teaching on November 4, 2015 at Kikani Auditorium, Coimbatore.

- Geeta Chandran has been appointed Member of the Philatelic Advisory Committee, Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications and IT (for 2 years, 2015-2017).

- Arsha T.S, disciple of Guru Kalamandalam Remani Haridas, got FIRST PRIZE in the Dance Competitions held in connection with the 48th Shri Jagannath Rath Yatra Mahotsav held on July 23, 2015 at Shri Jagannath Mandir, New Delhi.


- My guru, my faith... by Jyotsna B Rao

- Rare videos of Uday Shankar

- Arushi Mudgal presents Theruvil Varano

- The Science behind Yoga and Stress

- Sai Arts International presents
Sai Nrityotsav 75

NGMA Auditorium, 10am-6.30pm
August 1, 2015 Bangalore

- Rangoli Dance Company presents
Sacred Geometry

Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 7pm
August 1, 2015 Los Angeles, CA

- Natya STEM Dance Kampni
USA tour

August 1 - 16, 2015

- Nrityantar presents
Naman 2015

ADA Rangamandira, 4.30pm
August 2, 2015 Bangalore

- All Warmed Up: New Propositions in Dance
Gati Summer Dance Residency
7th Edition

August 7 - 9, 2015 Delhi

- The Spanda Dance Company presents
Spanda 20 Seminar ‘The Varnam’

Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, 6pm
August 24 & 25, 2015 Chennai

- Chinmaya Naada Bindu presents
Music workshops

Aug 2 -5, Rajkot
Aug 8-9, Mumbai
Aug 14-16, Delhi

- Lashva presents
Tala analytics
By Kiran Subramanyam

Aug 7 - 9, 2015 Bangalore

- Nrityayatri presents
Workshop on Sound Editing
For music lovers

August 21 - 23, 2015 Pune

- Manjeeram presents
Udbhav: workshop on Origins

August 22 & 23, 2015


- SUNAINA invites Applications
- For BAL KALA UTSAV (Oct 26 – Nov 1, 2015)
Apply by Sept 30, 2015
- For INDRADHANUSH DILLI 2015 (Oct 30 – Nov 1, 2015)
Apply by Aug 15, 2015

Meet the artistes - SANCHARI.. More on the arts

July 22 - August 9, Lima, Peru
Ileana Citaristi conducts Odissi Workshop, Lec-Dem on Odissi abhinaya and Talk on History of Odissi Dance at Lima, Peru. Organized by Center of Art and Dance of India in Peru.

August 1, Colombo
Students of Usha Raghavan perform at Ramakrishna Hall, Colombo, 6pm to 8.30pm

August 1, 2 & 9, Mumbai
Schedule of Smitalay & Jhelum Paranjape.
- August 1 & 2, 10am to 1pm: The FELDENKRAIS METHOD WORKHOP conducted by Frenchman Michel Casanovas  at Smitalay - Group Sessions (Awareness Through Movements) at Smitalay, Sane Guruji Arogya Mandir, Santacruz West
- August 9, 11am: Performance on the occasion of Kranti Din for Rashtra Seva Dal at Patkar Hall, Churchgate.

August 2, Coimbatore
Deepa Sashindran & Rekha Satish present Kuchipudi duet concert.
At: Pollachi Tamil Isai Sangam, Mahalingam Kaliarangham, 7.15-9pm

August 2, Mumbai
Nrityanjali presents dance drama CHAITANYA MAHAPRABHU for Bhakti Kala Kshetra. Conceptualised, choreographed & directed by Guru Dr. Tushar Guha, featuring Tushar Guha as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Anonna Guha Dutta as Radha and Baby Aditri as baby Chaitanya. Also featuring Girish Dalvi, Anil Singh, Nivedita Damle, Mansi Damle, Komal Waingankar, Krishna Sawant.
At: ISKCON Auditorium, Juhu, 3pm.

August 2, New Delhi
Gati Dance Forum in collaboration with British Council presents STILL GOING, a dance performance by Marina Collard.
At: British Council Theatre, British Council, 17 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, 4pm

August 4 & 5, Abingdon, Virginia
Janani Hari, Suma Chaparala and Uma Chetty from Apsaras Arts Dance Group perform on Aug 4 and present workshop on Aug 5 for Virginia Highlands Festival.
Venue: Virginia Senior Center Ballroom, 7.30pm 

August 7, Chennai
Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company - Drishtikon Dance Foundation presents SAMVET for SVANUBHAVA 2015.
Venue: Rukmini Arangam, Kalakshetra, 9pm

August 7, 2015 Mumbai
Dr. Tushar Guha’s Nrityanjali conducts a workshop on folk dances for IIT Bombay - Utsav, Celebrations. The workshop will be led by Nrityanjali’s lead dancers Dr. Anonna Guha, Girish Dalvi and team. It will culminate into the launch of IIT Bombay’s ‘Roots’ on 15th August, where the participants will showcase their learning of folk dance forms. Dr. Tushar Guha will also speak on Dance, Modernity and Globalisation on the occasion.

August 7 - 29, Kolkata
- Aug 7 & 8: Rhythmosaic supports DANCE BRIDGES FESTIVAL at Kalamandir, 7pm. Prasanna Saikia from Rhythmosaic presents his award winning choreography DIABOLIQUE, a psycho physical journey through self.
- Aug 28: Rhythmosaic  Sengupta Dance Company performs at Alliance Francaise Du Bengale featuring DIABOLIQUE by Prasanna Saikia. SCOPTOMA by Rhythmosaic Repertory Team - Arun Charles Ram, Priyanka Paul, Shaptarshi Ballav, Prenkha Saha.
- Aug 29: Solo Performance IF I COULD by Dr. Mitul Sengupta at Saturday Club, 8pm.

August 15, Mumbai
Bharatanatyam dancer Shashikala Ravi presents compositions of Swati Tirunal. This program is organised by Vashi Fine Arts Society (VFAS), Mumbai.
At: Jhulelal Mandir Hall, Sector 9A, Vashi, Mumbai, 6.15pm

August 21, Chicago IL
Natya Dance Theatre presents AVATAR - INCARNATIONS
Venue: Pritzker Park, 301 S State Street, Chicago, 5pm
August 22, Los Angeles
Natyasaraswathi’s national dance festival Nrithyabharathi 6th edition (Travelling Dance Festival) goes international this year. It is a tribute to India’s Independence Day through dances of India.


August 1, Palo Alto, CA
Ridhi Ravichandran, disciple of Mythili Kumar, Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose
Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, 5pm

August 15, Zionsville, IN
Jwala Priyadarshini Rejimon, disciple of Mangala Anand, Nritya Bharathi
Zionsville Performing Arts Center, 4pm

August 16, San Jose, CA
Ananya Subramanian, disciple of Mythili Kumar
School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza, 4pm 

August 22, Vancouver, BC
Lakshmi Menon, disciple of Jai Govinda, Jai Govinda Dance Academy
Norman Rothstein Theatre, 7pm

August 22, Palo Alto, CA
Amrita Rajan, disciple of Mythili Kumar
Cubberley Community Center, 6pm

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