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February 2016
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It is the season for "Paddu Akka" all over again. Padma Subrahmanyam is being featured on two magazine covers in the same month. DRISHTI, an initiative of dancer Anuradha Vikranth and NARTANAM edited by scholar Madhavi Puranam. Finally, a long overdue assessment has begun of Paddu Akka's pedagogy, scholarship, costume innovations, choreographic and musical imprints, solo dance theatre inventions of BHARATA NRITYAM and finally her ambitious vision for BIFAC- Bharata Ilango Foundation for Asian Art and Culture, a centre outside Chennai. At 75, this compelling dancer-actor continues to win audiences in the various avenues she continues to explore.

A generation before her was the dance maker, iconoclast and pioneering genius MRINALINI SARABHAI. Her final breath, at age 97, was heard around the world. With her passing on January 21, 2016 several generations of dancers and scholars felt bereaved. Her brilliance seemed to have no limits. Choreography, writing, poems, environment, women's rights, scientific enquiry- the questions were endless and the themes were poured into choreography. Daughter Mallika Sarabhai wrote on her Facebook page, “My mother has just left for her eternal dance,” thus announcing Mrinalini “Amma's” moment of transition.  At her funeral Mallika performed the beloved song KRISHNA NEE BEGANE, a favorite of Mrinalini “Amma”. Accolades continue to pour in from across the globe, with an overwhelming accumulation of personal memoirs and anecdotal recollections of how she influenced thousands and thousands through her dance and ideas. This portal was honored to have featured her column ASK MRINALINI for 7 years. Until she was no longer able to, Amma patiently answered all the questions, no matter how banal or trivial. This month we feature some archival questions / answers from the past.

Mrinalini Sarabhai- what a life! What an artiste! At 97, she had seen so much. But most importantly, the birth of a nation, 15 Prime Ministers, 13 Presidents, the infamous Emergency in 1975 and numerous changes of government. Still, the artiste continued her journey… creating, sharing, performing, inspiring and educating..

Read more....

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


-"AMMA IS SINKING" came the cryptic Whats App message at 10 am on Thursday morning, January 21. I was on my way to a dance conference and had to stop to call my friend who had sent it to me from Ahmedabad. Minutes later, the end had arrived.
"AMMMA HAS PASSED" my phone read. For 80 years, Mrinalini Sarabhai held her own on the centre stage of dance. The person who unlocked for me the intellectual potential of Bharatanatyam in the mid 1970s, her approach to dance, performance and allied visual arts was unparalleled. More than 19,000 students have been trained at DARPANA, the academy she started in 1948. Celebrated, awarded, honoured and praised, Mrinalini, lovingly called AMMA by thousands of dancers, is irreplaceable.
Her guest column ASK MRINALINI will forever carry her thoughtful replies to sometimes banal and irrelevant questions.
- Anita Ratnam

- Guru Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai's senior most disciple Padmini Ramachandran, director of Natyapriya, passed away on January 17, 2016 at Bangalore. She was 71. In her younger days she has made appearances in films like Dil Hi To Hai (Hindi), Iruvar Ullam (Tamil) and Narthanasala (Telugu), mostly as a dancer in song sequences. She has also made an appearance in Ang Lee's Life of Pi. She has choreographed many dance dramas, apart from TV serials. Padmini was a recipient of Rajyotsava Award and Shantala Award (1996)....More

- Annabhattula Krishnaveni (c. 1925- Jan 16, 2016) was a senior dancer and musician in the Kalavantula community. She started to train at the age of five. She gave a number of performances before things changed drastically in the 1950s.

- The Padma awards: PADMA VIBUSHAN for Yamini Krishnamurthi (Bharatanatyam), PADMA SHRI for Pratibha Prahlad (Bharatanatyam) and Gulabo Sapera (Folk Dance), PADMA BHUSHAN for Heisnam Kanhailal (theatre).

- The New York Times lists the duet of Bijayini Satpathy and Surupa Sen at the Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in January as one of the best performances of 2015. "Surrounded by the rigid lines of the temple, the sensuous curves of their Odissi dancing and their great artistry were even more ravishing than usual," writes Brian Seibert.

- On the inaugural evening of the Music Academy dance festival, Bharatanatyam dancer Alarmel Valli received the NATYA KALA ACHARYA title and award on January 3, 2016, Chennai.

- Suganda Iyer received ACHARYA DEVO BHAVA AWARD from Sri Datta Sai temple, at San Ramon, California, on January 16, 2016.

- Dr. Ileana Citaristi (significant contributions in promoting Odissi dance) and Saswat Ranjan Joshi (significant achievements in Odissi dance) received the NALCO KHARAVELA AWARD during the 36th Foundation Day Celebrations of Nalco (National Aluminium Company Limited) on January 7, 2016 in Bhubaneswar. Ileana Citaristi also received a purse of Rs. 1 lakh while Joshi received a cash prize of Rs.50,000.

- At the Drishti Dance Festival, DRISHTI PURASKAR 2016 was bestowed on Bharatanatyam Guru Radha Sridhar and dancer Priyadarsini Govind on January 16, 2016 at Chowdiah Hall, Bangalore.

- SARNGADEVA SAMMAN was conferred on Guru C. V. Chandrashekhar by Mahagami on January 17, 2016 at Aurangabad.

- The Sruti Foundation confers the E KRISHNA IYER MEDAL on Bharatanatyam Guru Indira Rajan and VELLORE GOPALACHARIAR MEMORIAL AWARD on musician Suguna Varadachari on February 6, 2016 at Chennai.


- Ananda Shankar Jayant
Performance and lecture tour

February 5 - 24, 2016 USA

- Chinmaya Naada Bindu presents
6th Naada Bindu Festival

Feb 12 - 14, 2016 Kolwan, Pune

Apart from my dance gurus, 'Panchabhuta' is my guru. Dance is beyond creed, class or colour. I learn movements from the earth, sky, fire, water, wind. Everything is in dance. I try to relate to them in dance using my five senses of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. It is like visiting a temple where you see its architectural beauty, you get the aroma of the flowers, incense, hear the chants and the sound of the bells, you touch your head to the foreground and taste what they give you. You have to experience all the five senses to be able to understand the form.

- Kumudini Lakhia
('Moulding each dancer differently' by Tapati Chowdurie, The Hindu Friday Review, Jan 1, 2016)


- DRISHTI MAGAZINE returns with a fresh, full-colour edition. Some of the articles featured in this issue: An exclusive interview with Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, "Padam and its connotations" by scholar / musicologist Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao, "Arts in times of frenzy" by art historian Ashish Mohan Khokar, "Abhinaya in Ashtapadi" by Dr. Sonal Mansingh...

- NARTANAM - Volume. XV - No.4 (Oct - Dec 2015):
Nartanam celebrates completion of 15 years with this "Special issue on Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam".


Anita Ratnam presented A Million Sitas on Jan 24, 2016 At Western Quadrangle inside Kolkata's Victoria Memorial
Kolkata Literary Meet

Mahagami presented 6th Sarngadeva Samaroh & Sarngadeva Prasang
January 15 - 18, 2016 Aurangabad
Photos courtesy: Mahagami


Nrityayatri presents
Mayurbhanj Chhau workshop
By Rakesh Sai Babu

Feb 18-21, Pune


- A life in dance
A documentary on Mrinalini Sarabhai

- These portraits reveal the brutal beauty of dance
Photographer Rick Guest lays bare the hidden strengths of professional dance.

- A ballet company's response to one football fan's sexist insult on Facebook was epic by Eric March

- Ami Parekh - Bharatanatyam dancing on the ice

- Sexism in dance: where are all the female choreographers? by Luke Jennings
Want to be a ballerina? No problem. But any girl dreaming of a career in choreography had better mind the glass ceiling...

- You're wrong, Akram. We do need more female choreographers by Luke Jennings
Akram Khan has said that the number of female choreographers should not be increased "for the sake of it" despite industry concerns that women in dance face much greater obstacles than men. Luke Jennings, the Observer's dance critic, disagrees with Khan's analysis.

- WTF Akram Khan
I let my blood boil for approximately 45 minutes and then sat down, more calmly, to write this.

- Akram Khan backlash as 400 sign open letter following female choreographer comments

Meet the artistes -SANCHARI.. More on the arts

-Season Reports Articles

Feb 5, Mumbai
MAHABHARAT REINTERPRETED...ATEET KI PARCHHAIYAN is an aesthetic blend of Indian traditional dance forms, conceptualised and choreographed by Shama Bhate, featuring Ramli Ibrahim (Odissi), Vyjayanthi Kashi (Kuchipudi), Gopika Verma (Mohiniattam) and Vaibhav Arekar (Bharatanatyam).
At: Tata Theatre, 7pm

Feb 5 - 23, Mamallapuram, Odisha
Schedule for Ileana CItaristi
- 5th Feb, Mamallapuram: Ileana CItaristi presents solo Odissi recital in Mamallapuram Dance Festival, 6.30pm
- 12th Feb, Bhubaneswar: Presentation of Ileana CItaristi's book 'My journey, a tale of two births' at Bakul Library, 6pm.
- 19th-23rd Feb, Koraput: Ileana Citaristi conducts 5 days of Odissi workshop demos in Koraput dist. for Odisha Govt residential tribal schools, under the auspices of Spic Macay Bhubaneswar chapter.

Feb 6, Mumbai
Dr. Tushar Guha's Nrityanjali presents inaugural creative dance NAANDI for the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival followed by HUM EK HAIN that weaves the cultural magic through folk dances from different provinces of India, popular dance and quintessential Bollywood. Kaikottikali from Kerala, Dhunuchi from West Bengal, Maharashtra's Koli and Kathak on 'Chalte Chalte' from Pakeezah and the closing dance 'Hum Ek Hain' depict Incredible India.

Feb 6 - 14, Japan, Mumbai
Schedule for Sadhya
- Feb 6 - 14: Santosh Nair, Artistic Director of Sadhya is invited by the Japan Foundation Asia to the Performing Arts Meeting (TPAM) in Yokohama. TPAM is one of the important international platforms for contemporary performing arts in Asia.
- Feb 8: Sadhya performs THE MYSTICAL FOREST in Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai at Cross Maidan at 8:30pm

Feb 6 - 27, Maharashtra
Schedule of Smitalay & Jhelum Paranjape
- 6th Feb: BAHINAAI & JANAAI for the Marathawada Women Literature Meet at Umarga
- 7th Feb: BAHINAAI & JANAAI for the Marathawada Women Literature Meet at Usmanabad
- 20th Feb: HARMONY, an Odissi performance showcasing religious harmony and secularism for CSSS - Centre for Study of Society & Secularism at Ferozeshah Hall, University of Mumbai, Kalina, 5pm
- 27th Feb: SAVITRI VADATEY - showcasing importance of education for Marathi Dept, University of Mumbai on the occasion of Marathi Bhasha Din at Marathi Bhasha Bhavan, University of Mumbai, Kalina, 3pm

Feb 7, Kolkata
Conceptualized by Suman Sarawgi & Sangeeta Dudhoria, Chapter One of TAAL CONNECT features percussion music by Manojit Dutta and Bharatanatyam by Rama Vaidyanathan followed by interactive session with artistes.
At: Azimganj House Rooftop, 7 Camac St, 6.30pm

Feb 11 - 21, Australia and Udaipur
- Feb 11-14: Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company - The Drishtikon Dance Foundation present WITHIN at PERTH INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
Venue: Heath Ledger Theatre, Perth
- Feb 21: Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company - The Drishtikon Dance Foundation present UNCHARTED SEAS at KUMBHA MAHARANA, Udaipur

Feb 13, Mumbai
NRITYA SHAKTI (Kathak Dance Theatre) at the KALA GHODA ARTS FESTIVAL, explores the role and function of dance in modern times. Led by Anonna Guha & Girish Dalvi, it weaves together various aspects of Kathak - history, geography, tradition, music, emotion, physics, mathematics & culminates into portraying the Kathak and Bollywood linkage. The script in Hindi and English is written by Guru Tushar Guha and choreographed by Anonna Guha under his guidance.

Feb 13, London
Divya Kasturi performs as part of Pancharatnanjali event by Sunandalayam at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 6.30pm

Feb 16 - 26, Mumbai, Maheshwar, Chennai
Astad Deboo's schedule.
- 16th Feb, Mumbai: Solo performance of DANCE EXPRESSION at the Asiatic Library, a fund raiser.
- 19th Feb, Maheshwar: Solo performance of DANCE EXPRESSION at Sacred River Festival
- 26th Feb, Chennai: RHYTHM DIVINE II - RIVER RUNS DEEP with Manipuri drummers for Kalakshetra Festival.

Feb 17, Mumbai
Dr. Tushar Guha's Nrityanjali perform SWACHHA BHARAT ABHIYAN for the Make in India Festival. Choreographed & directed by Guru Tushar Guha it depicts the concept through series of current episodes in a mix of humour, creative dance, energetic music and social issues, and gives the solution and methodology to bring Swachha Bharat dream come true. The idea has its roots in the Prime Minister's vision of 'Swachha Bharat Abhiyan' with short but powerful messages.

Feb 19, Chennai
Switzerland based dancer Sumitra Keshava presents a Bharatanatyam recital in Mysore style for the KJ Sarasa memorial festival at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore, 5pm

Feb 19 - 21, Santa Barbara, CA
Kiruthika Rathanaswami (Canada) performs Bharatanatyam with choreography by Jai Govinda, at the HH11 Dance Festival presented by Nebula Dance Lab at the Centre Stage Theatre.

Feb 21, Khajuraho
Madhu Nataraj and the Stem Dance Kampni perform at KHAJURAHO DANCE FESTIVAL.

Feb 21, Middlesex, UK
Chinmaya Mission UK presents HE DID IT on the life and vision of Swami Chinmayananda in dance form, during Swamiji's birth centenary year. The performance takes us through the life journey of Balakrishna Menon (Balan) from an atheist, freedom fighter, journalist, to one of the greatest spiritual Masters of all times. A thematic dance performance choreographed and performed by Usha Raghavan along with her dance troupe and live orchestra.
Venue: The Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 2UE, 6.30-8.30pm

Feb 25, Liverpool, UK
Sannidhi is Milapfest's Institute for Indian Arts based at Liverpool Hope University. SANNIDHI DIALOGUES offers a chance for Indian arts enthusiasts, academics and students to engage with artists off-stage to learn more about music, dance and more. This new series of open talks will feature eminent performing artists and scholars who will talk about their craft, while sharing inspirations and challenges as artists and will also explore history and important stories too.
The inaugural lecture in the Sannidhi Dialogues series will be given by Dr. Anita Ratnam.
At: The Great Hall, Liverpool Hope University, 17 Shaw Street, L1 6HP, 2.30pm to 4pm

Feb 26, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho Dance Festival concludes on 26 Feb with a special choreography by two disciples of Geeta Chandran. Sharanya Chandran and Amritashruthi Radhakrishnan present SAMYUKTA, which means "united" or "together." The dancers will showcase new-age Bharatanatyam choreography for two bodies.

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