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I write this month's message, I learn of the earthquake in Nepal. That,
alongside the dance-quake that occurred throughout India on April 29th
(World Dance Day) would have been enough for an entire month of
contemplation and recouping for body and spirit.
It is precisely when these natural calamities happen close to the heels
of performances that we are called to question the place of the
arts in our lives. In Nepal the earthquake devastated temples, precious
memories of history and civilization and more than 6000 lives. (The
death toll is climbing as you read this). Around the world more than
20,000 dancers must have celebrated WDD in some way or another. Social
media was groaning with the avalanche of images from dancers who were
celebrating in so many ways. Bangalore and Delhi were in the national
spotlight with large scale events and flash mobs took shoppers in
Chennai and Bombay by surprise.
In the USA, none of the major dailies or TV channels even mentioned the
event. While dance is highly valued and given an independent stature in
North American societies, April 29th came and went in a blur of
political debate about Hillary Clinton and her push for the Presidential
nomination. Hillary has a huge task ahead of her. While there is a deep
divide about her political future in the White House, American TV and
Film seem to be ahead of the curve about rising female power in public
life. Remember the 2002 character David Palmer in the hit TV series
"24"? He was an African American President and was hailed as the marker
for the entry of Barrack Obama into the White House. It was widely
referred to as the DAVID PALMER EFFECT. Now TV is flooded with powerful
You look around and women are ruling the roost. VEEP, SECRETARY OF
STATE, SCANDAL, REVENGE, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, DIVERGENT, the
HUNGER GAMES series, THE REAL HOUSEWIVES series, Detective Kate Beckett
in CASTLE... it goes on and on... Yet in the land of the free and home
of the brave, yours truly has been already slapped with increasing
racism on the streets of liberal California and eclectic New York. While
drifting through a farmer's market with my friend on a lazy Saturday in
Los Angeles, a cowboy boots and Prada carrying white woman walked past
me (I was wearing jeans and a sweater) muttering "Brown b... ch" and in
New York's Chinatown, a middle aged white man asked me how I spoke such
good English being an Arab since my eyes were lined with kajal. Now
A few years ago, I had obtained from the Archaeological Survey of India
the measurements of the traditional halls attached to temples, the
mandapas of Tamil Nadu that are also called natya-mandirs elsewhere. The
results showed that except for the two Brihadesvara temples at
Thanjavur and Gangaikonda Cholapuram that were indeed very large, the
rest were usually between 200 and 650 square feet. They could thus
permit audiences of only some 30-40 to a maximum of 80 or so. Thus, had
it not been for the liberation of these arts from the temple or the
kothi-haveli, they would never have been viewed by many hundreds or even
a couple of thousand at the same time. It is needless to say that the
dance steps and floor plans had also to be edited and modified to suit
the needs of a front-facing audience that the higher-level Western
proscenium stage demanded, rather than carry on the earlier
(‘Salvaging and sanitising classical dance’ by Jawahar Sircar, The Asian Age, April 28, 2015)
In the news
- The Dept of Performing Arts at Alliance University, Bangalore,
bestowed NRITHYA SARASWATHI award on Chitra Visweswaran, Lakshmi
Vishwanathan, Ananda Shankar Jayant, Dr. Anuradha Jonnalagadda and Geeta
Chandran. The NRITHYA BRAHMA on Vempati Ravi Shankar, NRITHYA
VACHASPATI on Dr. Sunil Kothari, on 27 April 2015.
- On April 26, 2015 at Mumbai, Rachana Sansad / Brahmnaad Academy
conferred BRAHMA RATNA on Hema Malini and Dr. Kanak Rele; BRAHMA PADMA
on Darshana Jhaveri, Dr. Sunil Kothari, Ashit Desai, Dr. Sandhya Purecha
and Dr. BM Sundaram; KANAK RATNA on Deepak Majumdar; KANAK BHUSHAN on
Keertana Ravi, Rupak Mehta, Mugdha Mane and Neha Muthiyan
|- Artistic India in Agartala by KK Gopalakrishnan
Natya Samagama showcased contemporary theatre practices and diverse cultural expressions.
- Beautiful movements by Sharmila Basu Thakur
Anita Ratnam’s latest solo dance-theatre, A Million Sitas, was staged as part of Pratibimb at G.D. Birla Sabhagar.
- Indian culture in every muscle, from eyelid to fingertip by Alastair Macaulay
Watching Indian dance, this Westerner can only miss nuances obvious to many Indians, while making other connections.
- Story in Bones by Shanta Gokhale
In Across, Not Over, choreographed by Preethi Athreya, performed by
Vikram Iyengar, two forms of dance interact to produce a third, equally
- Bold storytelling in ‘Naga Women’ brings the heroines of mythology to life by Terence Toh
Experienced theatre actresses show us why Helen of Troy and Puteri Saadong shouldn’t be messed with.
- Sanjali’s Pravaha Festival by Poornima Gururaja
Sanjali Center for Odissi Dance and its director Sharmila Mukerjee
hosted the Pravaha festival at Bangalore’s Seva Sadan on 19th
- Dancethon on World Dance Day
Ashish Khokar and Alliance Francaise de Bangalore created a "dancethon,”
a non-stop 12 hour daylong event featuring over 108 dancers in a single
- To fall is to rise
by Supreeta Singh
Called ‘Watershed’, Sapphire Quarterly Series presented its 20th quarter
completing five glorious years on March 27 at ICCR, Kolkata.
- A night of spirituality and tradition
by Neha Nataraj
‘Vibhava’ was hosted by Three Aksha in collaboration with senior dance Guru C. V. Chandrasekhar.
Workshops & Announcements
- Nadam and Ananya organize
Abhinaya workshop by Bragha Bessell
May 1 - 7, 2015 Bangalore
- Mahagami hosts
Sadhana-17th Residential Gurukul Camp
May 1 to 15, 2015 Aurangabad
- Tridhara presents
International Odissi Dance Workshop
May 1 - 29, Bhubaneswar
- Smitalay presents
Odissi Workshop by Jhelum Paranjape
May 8-10, 15-17, 2015 Mumbai
|- Attakkalari presents
Bharatanatyam workshop by Minal Prabhu
May 11 – 22, 2015 Bangalore
- Lshva presents workshop
Tala Analytics 2 by Kiran Subramanyam
May 15 – 17, 2015 Bangalore
- Gati presents
Underwater Workshop with Kitsou Dubois
May 25 – 27, 2015 New Delhi
- Manasa presents Odissi dance workshops
by Sharon Lowen
June 14 – July 5, 2015 Delhi
Register by May 31, 2015
Eye: A section of impressions, images and
Curated by Anita Ratnam
This section reflects my
inspirations and moods as my feet and mind
travel this amazing planet. Thank you all for the positive response to the
earlier editions of Roving Eye.
Enjoy.. If you have something interesting to
share, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Anita Ratnam presented A Million Sitas
On April 18, 2015 at Desmania Design Studio, New Delhi
Photos: Aryaman Prasad
Base Notes by Shanta Serbjeet Singh
- Sangeet Natak Akademi’s New General Council
By the time this edition of Base Notes is up, the new Governing Council
of the national Sangeet Natak Akademi would have been constituted and
Seen and Heard by Lakshmi Vishwanathan
- Facial distractions
I see all around nowadays dancers doing their best to assume expressions
which are either unaesthetic, exaggerated or simply ugly.
- Magic in the air
Dance and Chidambaram are an inseparable concept.
Roses & Thorns
- Some questions need to be asked by Madhavi Puranam
Can you ask questions, raise issues, and seek answers? No, you dare not.
The powers that be will come down hard and reduce you to the status of a
pariah, a social outcast, an English word of pure Tamil origin.
Ratikant Mohapatra calling...
- Life after Guruji
Circumstances did not give me the opportunity to mourn in private, the death of my father and my guru.
Obit / Tribute
Karunambal G Pillai, daughter of Kuppiah Pillai, sister of Guru T.K.
Kalyanasundaram Pillai and wife of A.T. Govindaraj Pillai, of Sri
Rajarajeshwari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir, Mumbai, passed away on April
29, 2015. She was the fourth generation of dance gurus tracing her
lineage which started from Venkatakrishna Nattuvanar. She taught dance
along with her husband from the day the school was founded in 1945. She
trained many brilliant students. Damayanti Joshi, Kamini Kaushal, Nalini
Jayawant, Guru Mani of Kalasadan, Praveena Vashi, Sudha Chandrasekher,
Lakshmi Iyer, Jayam and Asha Amarnath are some of her well known
- Remembering Maya by Madhu Nataraj Kiran
Photos courtesy: Natya Institute
- Education in spiritual values through Bharatanatyam: Part VII
Art of teaching: Some methods and approaches by Chandra Anand
Dance teaching consists of demonstrating the use of gestures in specific
ways for indicating or expressing one’s emotions and feelings.
- Audience: The tug of the credulous and the credible by Ramaa Venugopalan
Audience – the most important factor for any Bharatanatyam performer. We grouse about the audience a lot.
- An African spell by Priti Mastakar
6’ 2” I thought, the hair was in dark long locks; the dance moves had
the feeling of controlled, tightly coiled energy, smooth and effortless.
- ‘Salvaging and sanitising’ classical dance by Jawahar Sircar
Several dance forms were considered ‘sleazy’ for elitist audiences but reformers repackaged and made them acceptable.
- Evolving group choreographies in India by Sharon Lowen
Artistic possibilities of a group add other ingredients to the available options to delight an audience through dance.
- Are British dancers really outclassed on the world stage? by Judith Mackrell
Akram Khan, Hofesh Shechter and Lloyd Newson have complained about the
quality of graduates of the UK’s top dance schools. But a good dance
education is not only about performance.
- Nartanam XV No 1 is a special issue on FOLK DANCES OF ODISHA. This
issue has 50 colour plates to showcase the vibrant folk colours.
- “Indian Classical Dance: The Renaissance and Beyond”
By Leela Venkataraman
Published by Niyogi Books
- Prof. A. Janardhanan compiled by Lalitha Venkat
Aryambath Janardhanan is a well known exponent of Kathakali and Bharatanatyam.
Look out for
- An impressive young lady
9 year old Amira Willighagen from Holland
- FAQ: Copyright and Dance by Ranjana Dave
After speaking at ‘Joining the Dots 2015,’ Lawrence Liang compiled a list of FAQs on copyright and dance.
- Dr.Vempati Chinna Satyam’s Kuchipudi dance demonstration in USA in 1984
Padmalakshmi, the protagonist with her yogic powers creates 5
indomitable mercurial yoginis. Her preceptor Adishesha assists her in
- Interview with Davesh Soneji
Davesh and Tiziana Leucci have co-organized an international conference
entitled ‘Temple, Court, Salon, Stage. Crafting Dance Repertoire in
- Let's talk Dance by Rajlaxmi Arora & Violet Vaz
Four artistes closely associated with dance as performers,
choreographers, lecturers or therapists, start a dialogue on the art
- Dance sans borders by Liza George
Paris Laxmi on her dance, change in name, films and more.
- A seeker’s odyssey by Nita Vidyarthi
Bharati Shivaji on Chaitanya’s influence in Mohiniattam and her journey in the dance form.
Meet the artistes- Ant, Interrupted by Ranjana Dave
It is hard to let one’s guard down while watching Mandeep Raikhy’s mystifyingly named ‘A Male Ant Has Straight Antennae.’
- This Singh has got Kathak moves by Vagesha Mahajan
21-year-old Simerpreet Singh Sokhi has no qualms admitting that he is in
love with a dance form that requires delicate and feminine movements.
|- The Dutch angle by Kausalya Santhanam
Historian, scholar and Bharatanatyam dancer Liesbeth Bennink is keen to spread awareness about the Chidambaram temple.
- I am like a mountaineer: Ileana Citaristi
Ileana Citaristi, who has spent years in India learning classical dance
forms and has now made the country her home, says she is tough and
likens herself to a mountaineer.
May 1, Orcha, Madhya Pradesh
Odissi dance drama SHRIRADHA written by Ramakant Rath and choreographed
by Suprava Mishra. Organised by Madhya Pradesh Sahitya Academy,
performed by Suprava Mishra and group.
At: Orcha, 7pm
May 1, Mumbai
Traditional Odissi performance by Jhelum Paranjape & artistes of
Smitalay during the Maharashtra Day Celebrations of Sane Guruji Arogya
At: Sane Guruji Arogya Mandir Hall, Santacruz West, 11am
May 1 - 12, USA
Kuchipudi exponent Dr. Saraswathi Rajathesh tours USA for workshops and performances.
May 2, Chicago, IL
Natya Dance Theatre presents EXPLORATION OF TRADITIONS, narratives from mythologies of India.
At: Indian Boundary Park, 2500 W Lunt Avenue, 6 – 7pm.
May 2, 22 & 24, Thane, Thrissur & Bangalore
Samved Society for Performing Arts celebrates RAJAT JAYANTI MAHOTSAV, 25th Pt. Durgalal Festival.
- May 2: Vaibhav Arekar & Group - BN, Uma Dogra & Group - Kathak.
At: Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar Mini Hall, Thane West, 5pm to 7pm
- May 22: Vaibhav Arekar, Uma Dogra, Gopika Varma - Mohiniattam
At: KT Muhammed Smaraka Theatre, Thrissur, 6.30pm
- May 24: Uma Dogra, Vaibhav Arekar, Gopika Varma
At: Nruthyakshetra, Kasturi Rangamandira, Bangalore, 6.30pm
May 3, 21 – 23, Mississauga, Toronto
Sampradaya Dance Creations starts its 25th Anniversary season from this month.
- May 3: Children’s Film Festival in partnership with FILMI Toronto, the
festival curates a series of short films, from documentaries, that
speak to children and youth across all cultures and ages.
At: Sampradaya Theatre, Mississauga, ON
- May 21-23: NIRANTARA – BEYOND SPACE AND TIME, 25th anniversary
production, choreographed by Lata Pada. Live music is composed and
performed by pianist Anil Srinivasan and Carnatic vocalist Sikkil
Gurucharan along with sarangi artist Aruna Narayan Kalle.
At: Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto
May 10, Santa Clara, CA
Abhinaya and South India Fine Arts present DWITA - DUALITY OF LIFE by Rama Vaidyanathan and Dakshina Vaidyanathan
At: Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Pkwy, 4pm
May 10, Napierville, IL
Natya Dance Theatre presents MEERA by Urmila Satyanarayana and group, with music by Rajkumar Bharati.
At: Naperville North Central College Pfeiffer Auditorium, 310 E Benton Ave, 6pm
|May 10 & 30, Basel, Switzerland|
- May 10: Das Tanzfest presents a Bharatanatyam recital by Anjali
Keshava, Sumitra Keshava and D. Keshava at Zirkuszelt, Dreispitz, 1pm
- May 30: The Association of Friends of India in Basel celebrate the
50th anniversary of its foundation with a spectacular “Festival of
India.” D. Keshava will hold a workshop on the authentic South Indian
Hatha Yoga School. Sumitra Keshava will give an introduction to
Bharatanatyam. In the afternoon, Kalasri children’s dance group will
present the traditional Bharatanatyam repertoire and folk dances. The
evening program features a North Indian concert with Ken Zuckerman and
Udai Mazumdar. With their Kalasri ensemble D. Keshava, Anjali and
Sumitra perform. The Kalasri youth Company present Indian dances.
At: Landgasthof Riehen Baselstrasse 38, 3–11pm
May 13 & 15, California
Schedule for Ramya Harishankar
- May 13: Lec-dem, Drama Dept, Uni of California, Irvine
- May 15: Family Night, Archibald Library, Rancho Cucamanga
May 15, London
Aditi Mangaldas presents TIMELESS at the Alchemy Festival 2015, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, 7:45pm
May 15 - 21, UK & Italy
Schedule for Ileana Citaristi for May 2015.
- 15 May- Leeds, UK: Ileana performs Odissi dance in Dance Double Bill,
organized by South Asia Arts, UK at Seven Arts Centre, 31 A Harrogate
Road, Chapel Allerton, 7.30pm.
- 16 May-Bedford, UK: Ileana will hold intensive 3 hrs workshop hosted
by the 21st century Education Trust – on Mudras, Abhinaya foundation,
vocabulary of Odissi
- 17 May-London, UK: Ileana holds workshop on building blocks of Odissi
technique including: bhramari, chari, hasta mudra viniyoga and arasa in
different tala. 10am to 2pm at Colet House, 151 Talgarth Road, London.
Ileana talks about her autobiography 'My Journey: A Tale of Two Births'
at Bharatya Vidya Bhavan, 4pm.
- 21 May-Bergamo, Italy: Ileana performs Odissi at Teatro Tascabile di Bergamo, Via S. Lorenzo 12/A, 9pm.
May 18, Irvine, CA
ELEMENTS OF MANIPURI DANCE by Sohini Ray
At: Dept. of Theatre, University of California Irvine, 10:50am
May 21 - 29, Chile
Janaki Rangarajan conducts workshops and presents solo Bharatanatyam performances.
May 3, Bangalore
M. Shrruthi Iyer, disciple of Sreedevi Unni, Monisha Arts (Mohiniattam)
At: Seva Sadan, Malleshwaram, 6pm
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