your gateway to the world of Indian dance

August 2020


Writing the history of the Devadasi with "white ink" is problematic.
When the word DEVADASI was substituted with ISAI VELLALAR, the women stepped back and the men stepped forward.
The English language is a privilege and a burden.
We need a new glossary of terms with which to discuss the dance history of South India.
Pass the mic but don't stop speaking.

- Quotes from Prof. Avanthi Meduri's Facebook conversation with Dr. Swarnamalya Ganesh on DEVADASI- HISTORY, IDENTITY, POLITICS, PRIVILEGE, July 30, 2020


There is a beautiful image as imagined by PATANJALI, the originator of Yoga.

STHIRAM and SUKHAM - - Stability and Ease

It stems from the pose of Vishnu reclined upon the serpent Adisesha while floating on the milky ocean. How adeptly the serpent has to adjust the coils so that the Lord can continue to sleep. For Mahavishnu to experience SUKHAM (ease), Adisesha has to practice STHIRAM (stability-balance).

How does one flow in the YOGA OF DAILY LIVING using these two images?
How does one live life with these two words as metaphors or gateways to harmony?

We now know that these past 4 months are going to last for at least another 8.
That this year should now be referred to as #DELETE2020.
That we are now locked in a DIGITAL EMBRACE into the first quarter of 2021.

So how do we even begin to consider the ideas of STHIRAM and SUKHAM?
How can we even fathom these qualities when everything around us is being thrown into disarray?
We are off balance more than ever.
There is less and less inspiration and motivation to continue to feel optimistic and positive about life and art.
So how can we even begin to understand SUKHAM?
The cheerleading squad who proclaim that "Dance can surmount anything" now sound weak and unconvincing.
We see depression, melancholia and listlessness all around and even the best and strongest among us are feeling vaguely unsettled.

No matter how hard we exercise, rehearse, write, sing, paint, sketch, teach and talk over Whatsapp groups, Zoom and Google Meets and via phones and tablets - this pandemic is getting to us.
And it has been only four months and we have 8 more to go!!!!

August is the month of marking India's 73rd Independence Day. We spoke to several dance seniors and asked them to share a memory of what that day was like!
Read the words and thoughts of many revered names in the dance world in our special article AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT

I would like to share thoughts - not about the zillion Webinars and online events, but on issues that are emerging during these past months and especially during July.

Read on...

BOXED made a creative buzz in the performing arts transcending nationalities, channelling artistic energies relevantly and timely during the lockdown. The energies culminated in such diverse points of views and engaged audience from across the globe. It was an incredible effort of coordination and the performers came out of BOXED brilliantly articulate and totally and elegantly unboxed!
The Boxed series came to a close with 2 sessions - The best of BOXED! - Popular Choice and The best of BOXED! - Critics' Choice
Check out the top 9 presentations of each session and relive the magic of creativity!

There are some creative spirits that cannot be buttonholed or contained. They will float and fly at will, creating ripples or waves that may dampen or drown the faint hearted. Dancer Zakir Hussain is one such artiste. From his modest beginnings in a small town in Tamilnadu, this maverick has a storied journey that rivals the most gripping of soap operas! Be it Bharatanatyam, his love and fluency in Tamizh and Dravidian politics, his total surrender to ANDAL and Vaishnavism, Zakir's thoughts are irrepressible.

We are delighted to share this award winning artiste's diary, written in the first person, and first premiered on his own Facebook page. The original "voice" of Zakir is in Tamizh, the language that he is most fluent in. The English translation featured here are by Dushy Gnanapragasam.

We are sure that the readers and followers of NARTHAKI.COM will enjoy reading his thoughts as much as I have.
- Dr. Anita R Ratnam

Read all the parts here

The contribution of Kathak exponents Dr. Puru Dadheech and Vibha Dadheech
In the world of classical Kathak, the names of Dr. Puru Dadheech and his wife Vibha Dadheech's names are taken with great respect. In Madhya Pradesh Kathak world they are legends.

My early association with Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra
I owe my introduction to Kelubabu to Babulal Doshi. It was in 1958 All India Dance Seminar held by Sangeet Natak Akademi at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi, where a galaxy of pioneers of Indian classical dance had got together, taking stock of the dance in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Early memories of encounters with Birju Maharaj
Achhan Maharaj's son Birju Maharaj had displayed extraordinary ability to grasp the art of his father. It was most unfortunate that Achhan Maharaj passed away when Birju Maharaj was barely eight or nine years old.

New York based Arts from India presented Navarasa online
In present Corona virus times, there are few enterprisers who have been active assisting dancers to perform choosing a thematic content. The live concert of Navarasa recently featured established and consummate performers.

Two post war dance stalwarts - So different yet alike
But for Ratikant Mohapatra's invitation to participate along with senior critic Dr. Sunil Kothari in a discussion under the aegis of Bhubaneswar University, I would not have had a close parallel look at the career graphs of two dance stalwart gurus, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Pandit Birju Maharaj.

Sangeet Sattra organised its annual RASHESWAR SAIKIA BARBAYAN SATTRIYA AWARD ceremony, along with the annual festival of dance and music on July 8, 2020. Sangeet Sattra presented this year's award online to Guru Sonaram Sarmah Burhabhakat, a devoted bhakat of Mul Kamalabari Sattra, Jorhat, Dr. Nita Vidyarthi, eminent dance critic from Kolkata, and Guru Kalavati Devi, eminent Manipuri dancer.
Geeva Arts Festival run by Guru Vandana Academy in its annual three-day festival honors one deserving artist with the GEEVA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. On June 27, 2020 Mohiniattam dancer Dr. Sunanda Nair received the award in an online function.

Eminent dancer and choreographer Amala Shankar (born on June 27, 1919) passed away peacefully in her sleep, at Kolkata on July 24, 2020. She was 101 years old. She did the lead role in her husband Uday Shankar's landmark film 'Kalpana' in 1948. A self taught painter, her artistry was often used in Uday Shankar's works. Amala Shankar started the Uday Shankar India Culture Centre in Kolkata in 1965. She was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Bhushan in 1991. In 2011, she was awarded Banga Vibhushan by the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government. She received honorary doctorates from Rabindra Bharati University (1999) and Presidency University (2016) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Ratna award for her contribution to dance in 2012.

How Amala Shankar witnessed the evolution of modern Indian dance and shaped it with her enthusiasm for life
- VR Devika

Amala Shankar leaves us with a promise to dance on beyond the seven seas
- Urmimala Sarkar Munsi

Kuchipudi dancer/guru Munukuntla Sambasiva, a disciple of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, died of Covid in Hyderabad on July 10, 2020 at the age of 60. He also had training in theater and at his school Nishumbita Natya Jnanapeet, many dancers honed their talents. Sambasiva authored a number of books on dance including Natyamanjari, Gateway to Kuchipudi, Hasthabhinayam, Kuchipudi Natyamitram, to name a few. Classical dance students and researchers have benefitted greatly from Sambasiva's research works.

Yog Sunder Desai: A 100 years of life and dance

Pandanallur Subbaraya Pillai
Sangeet Natak Akademi, Ministry of Culture, Govt of India presents ABHIVYAKTI series.

Vintage Odissi masters
Prakash Jha Doordarshan production on Odissi with Gurus Kelucharan Mohapatra, Mangani Das, Kokilaprabha, Hari Priya, Pankaj Das, Deba Prasad Das, Ratikant Mohapatra, Sanjukta Panigrahi, Raghunath Panigrahi. Produced, directed, edited by Prakash Jha, Associate Director Shubankar Ghose.

A talk by Farooq Chaudhry - Beyond traditional dance models
Farooq Chaudhry reflects on his journey as an international dance producer offering advice, insights and creative ways to optimize practice both as an individual artist and company.
Inspiring Quotes #2 (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- Mesma Belsare

Inspiring Quote#3 (Georgia O'Keeffe)
- Mesma Belsare

Sudha's Story - Chitra Divakaruni's poignant poems
Creating new work based on English poems was begun in1986 when Mythili Kumar was requested to interpret Sri Aurobindo's poems through Bharatanatyam.

Body Languages
Pickle Factory Dance Foundation partnered with Topcat CCU on a new series - Body Languages, where it explored movement with a featured practitioner each week.

August 1
NADAM presents CHINNA KALANADAM, from 7:30pm to 9pm IST
Online festival on Facebook Live and YouTube live.
August 1
Movement Nuances Instagram LIVE Series Episode 11 with Kathak exponent Guru Subhash Chandra at 8pm IST @rhythmotion_india
Curated by Rhythmotion and hosted by Chitra Arvind Artistic Director of Rhythmotion Bengaluru India
Promotional video link

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