VASANTAHABBA - UNDER ONE SKY
by Lynne Fernandez
Feb 1 2002
February. The New year has begun, Spring is round the corner. A time when Bangalore blooms. A time when Nrityagram celebrates Vasantahabba, the Spring Festival.
Ten years after the first Vasantahabba, it is now considered the 'Woodstock' of classical dance and music in India. Where living legends and leading artists like Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Jasraj, Shubha Mudgal, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Kadri Gopalnath, Dr. Doraiswamy Iyengar, Talvin Singh, Sivamani, Begum Parveen Sultana, Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, Pt. Birju Maharaj, Raja Radha Reddy, Leela Samson, Alarmel Valli, Malavika Sarukkai, Daksha Sheth congregate under one sky. To make Vasantahabba what it is - an unmissable treat.
They start arriving by 3 pm, for an event that starts at 6.30pm. They come with families, they come with their college friends. They come from Bangalore. They come from all over India. They even come from abroad. The city dwellers come. The villagers arrive too. Because this is where the action is tonight.
They are cultured, they are aware, they are ignorant, they know everything about our culture, they know nothing about our culture. Yet they will not leave before 3 or even 6 the next morning.
The ten-year history of Vasantahabba is remarkable. From an audience of 3,000 in 1990, there were over 25,000 in 1999. And millions who witnessed the event LIVE on Doordarshan. Plus coverage on Star TV and Zee TV on programmes like the India Show and Good Morning India, amongst others.
Vasantahabba is the largest cultural happening in South East Asia that keeps our culture alive and growing. And evolved enthusiasts come thronging in larger numbers every year from Bangalore, all over India and even from various other parts of the world to settle down at the roots of their rich heritage as one people, under one glorious sky.
We believe that a cultured society is an educated society.
Nrityagram is the first and only dance village of its kind in the world. It was set up in 1990 by Protima Gauri - dancer, dreamer, visionary. To preserve and popularize the seven Indian Classical dance forms and two martial dance arts.
Where young people would master their art, guided by the greatest teachers. Where the next generation of dancers and Gurus would be created and our dying traditions would find nourishment. Where dance would be a way of life...
It is our belief that dance should be made available without any consideration of cost. Therefore, all residential students receive free lodge, board and training for a period of three to six years.
At a sensational debut in New York in 1996, the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble stunned audiences with its skill and artistry. "One of the most luminous dance events of the year!" said the New York Times. The Ensemble is regarded by critics as one of the foremost classical dance companies in the world and is an active ambassador of Indian culture and heritage. Our soloists, Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy, have been nominated faces of the new millennium. Dancers who will make a difference.
Nrityagram aspires to bring about an awareness and understanding of classical dance and music in rural and urban India. Nrityagyan (Dance Education) is a project designed to achieve this objective. On weekends, approximately 300 local village children receive free dance training at Nrityagram. Our students conduct free lecture-demonstrations and workshops at local schools. Several thousand children benefit from this service.
To take classical culture back to the people, Nrityagram hosts the Vasantahabba (Spring Festival), an annual celebration of dance and music where the greatest maestros come to perform. Entry to Vasantahabba is free.
It was one extraordinary woman's dream. To create an event where people could partake of a sumptuous cultural feast. Where the wealthy and the poor, the old and the young could enjoy FREE what they would never be able to witness otherwise.
With the help of fellow dreamers, partners, sponsors, she was actually able to realise that dream.
And because it was a great idea in the first place, we at Nrityagram and those who come religiously to Vasantahabba have kept it alive over the years.
We are looking for partners who share the vision of this one ordinary woman.
In these times of divisiveness, violence and hatred, Art is the only unifying force. It is unrestricted by boundaries and unites diverse people across the globe. Vasantahabba 2002 is dedicated to the spirit of Unity. It is a celebration of One Sky, One People, One World.
On Saturday, February 2nd, 2002 at our amphitheatre. From dusk to dawn.
Vasantahabba 2002 will feature dance performances by Aditi Mangaldas (Kathak), Smt. Padmini Ravi (Bharatnatyam); Yakshagana by Keremane Shanbhu Hegde and party. And music maestros like Aruna Sairam (Carnatic Vocal), Warsi brothers (Qawwali), Srinibas Satapathy (Flute), Brahmma featuring Ganesh - Violin and Vocals, Kumaresh - Violin, Keith Peters - Bass guitar, Deena - Keyboard, Neyveli Venkatesh - Mridangam and Mohan - Percussion (Contemporary Music).
Simply put, Vasantahabba 2002 is history in the making and possibly the biggest event in India this year. And to ensure that we reach out to people who cannot make it, plans are afoot to not only telecast the event live but to also webcast Vasantahabba 2002 on www.vasantahabba.com
We invite you to join us in our quest. To popularize and preserve our rich heritage. To propel Indian classical dance and music into the forefront globally. To create one cultured world.
Managing Trustee, Nrityagram
The Dance Village
Bangalore 560 088.
Ph: (91- 80) - 8466 313 / 4
Fax: (91- 80) - 8466 312