Attendance awards 2012
- P Praveen Kumar, Bangalore
Photos:  Saroj K Mishra

December 6, 2012

Attendance awards are given generally on first Saturday of December each year. As an awardee in 2010, I can say I was looking forward to this unique dance event in Bangalore’s calendar. This is its 3rd year, and the 15th year of publication of India’s lone yearbook on dance, attendance ( Published-edited-designed by reputed arts administrator and cultural historian Ashish Mohan Khokar, attendance chooses interesting subjects each year and then adds significant happenings in the year, plus much more. There are rare, historical photos and illustrations from the archives of the Khokar family. Attendance is a compendium of Indian dance for art lovers.

Hence the attendance awards added since last 3 years are also significant. The whole process is transparent: members of Dance History Society can nominate their choice.  Jury remains secret and until this year, even the awardee’s name was announced only on stage, a bit like film awards! This year, there was a departure from this practice of keeping the suspense, so the names of awardees were announced much before the day of the event.

This year’s awards were enhanced by 3 additional awards:
Attendance Lifetime Achievement Award (Kathak guru Dr. Maya Rao).
Rukmini Devi Arundale Award for significant contribution to Kalakshetra bani (Prof. M.R. Krishanmurthy known as Kittu saar)
The U.S. Krishna - Chandrabhaga Devi Dance Couple Award (dance couple Shridhar - Anuradha);
The Mohan Khokar Overall Excellence in Dance award (Navtej Singh Johar)
The Ram Gopal Best Male Dancer Award (Dr. Sanjay Shantaram)
The Uday Shankar Choreography Award to Syed Sallaudin Pasha who is doing commendable work with the differently abled.

Dr. Goel, Navtej Johar, Mr. Chiranjiv Singh, Ashish Khokar, Sanjay Shantaram

Dr. Maya Rao honored

Kittu saar, Vani Ganapathy, Mr. Chiranjiv Singh

Shridhar and Anuradha

The awards are also a departure from the routine shiny shawls and long speeches. Ashish Mohan Khokar plans every event meticulously and the end result is elegance and elan. Tasks are given according to each person’s capacity and comfort. So my task was to arrange Nadaswaram and flowers.  Muralimohan Kalva and his NADAM team (Smita Srinivasan, Chandana, Arpita and other students) handled hall and logistics and Madhu Natraj read out the citations.  Ashish and Elisabeth Khokar, co-publishers and main hosts, received each member of the audience personally with warmth and enthusiasm. Madhulita Mohapatra’s tiny tots started the evening with ‘Konark’ in Odissi.

Present were Vani Ganapathy, Vimala Rangachar, Suma Sudhindra, Akumal Ramchander, Aruna Sundarlal, Padmini Shreedhar and the DG of ICCR, H.E. Dr. Suresh Goel whose presence   added luster to the event. Mr. Chiranjiv Singh, President of Alliance Francaise, did the honours.  Nadaswaram notes welcomed all. Each awardee was given just 10 minutes to share their art with us, so we had Sanjay Shantaram start with a Shivastuti; Navtej Johar sat on stage and did abhinaya to “Priye charushile” and Shridhar-Anuradha brought out the beauty of tandava and lasya as a dance couple. Syed Pasha, Kittu saar and doyenne Maya Rao had short films shown on their works. It was a meaningful, touching function.

Bharatanatyam dancer P. Praveen Kumar trained under renowned guru Narmada and now Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar. He runs Chithkala School of Dance in Bangalore. He was awarded the Mohan Khokar Award for Overall Excellence and the SNA Bismillah Khan Award in 2010.