- Vinitha Rajan
December 27, 2020
For a minute, if I can look beyond the carnage and emotional stress of 2020, I will be celebrating the role of technology and digital media in the world of art. For a dance enthusiast like me, the lockdowns have played a huge role in bringing Indian artists and talents to my living room. What was once reserved for live stage and applause miles away was now accessible.
Beyond performances and productions, there is a powerhouse of knowledge that are locked away in the minds of many. Vachika: Intimate Conversations on Indian Dance, Art and Culture presented by Sunanda's Performing Arts Center (SPARC) headquartered in Houston, Texas brought those conversations to the homes of dance enthusiasts like me. Hosted by Dr. Sunanda Nair, Vachika aims to connect Indian scholars, critics and artists with dance rasikas and students.
Dr. Sunil Kothari
Earlier in October, Dr. Sunil Kothari spoke about his journey and experience as a part of the Vachika series. Little did I know that we would lose him in less than 2 months. RIP sir. He prodded rasikas to support artistes and the art. "Attend every dance program possible." He challenged us to watch different styles of dance and soak in it. "Life is too short to watch all the performances you should be watching", he said. His prodding will ring in my ears the next time I think about making an excuse to skip a performance or practice.
In December, Vachika hosted Prathibha Prahlad who shared her insights on intellectual property copyright for artistes and artiste productions in a digital world. She spoke about the boundaries blurring between artistic license and copyright violation in an era where everything can be ripped and downloaded. Ms. Prahlad also shared with us her experiences on the rather ambiguous journey to become a professional dancer. "Dance will haunt you. You can never divorce dance from your life. You will need to support it." She spoke to us about ways we can support Indian art off-stage and the role of the Indian diaspora to support our art forms.
I am looking forward to sitting down in the comforts of my own and listen to Dr. Anita Ratnam share her insights and knowledge in January 2021.
The pandemic has opened channels for rasikas like me to connect and learn. While the year has been devastating, I think back to these conversations and smile in contentment. Vachika has given me the way to rejoice, celebrate and rejuvenate in a difficult world. Thank you, Dr. Sunanda Nair, for this opportunity.
Vinitha Rajan is a dance enthusiast and writer based in Houston, TX.