August 2021


Dancers are athletes of the spirit.
- Martha Graham, American modern dance icon

And so, we have arrived at month #18 of our confined existence. April 2020 to August 2021.

Do not believe the stories that the world has opened up and that people are running around the beaches without masks. It may be happening in the USA where rules rarely seem to matter when it comes to personal liberty, but everyone is steeling themselves for the Delta or Lambda variant and the Third Wave.

Many eyes turned away from dance platforms to watch the stunning opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. And, of course to cheer the brave efforts of Manipuri weight lifter Mirabai Chanu who scored India's first silver medal. How many more honours will come our way is not the only question. Besides cricket, does our country actually care about any other sport?

Dance gurus are exhilarated as so many of their students have shone brilliantly in their school final exams. What a double delight to have a good dance student who also excels in academics! The turning point arrives when girls turn 18, and leave for brighter financial horizons! The only hope is that the experience of 10 years in a dance environment has sensitized them as individuals and future rasikas.

So, this editorial is about the lesser revealed and not so glamorous work that some dance advocates are immersed in. While thousands are rehearsing, filming, posting videos of themselves in warm up sessions and weight training, I am sidestepping this nonstop barrage of videos to write about what caught my eye and mind space.

Read on...

Sangeet Sattra presented RASHESWAR SAIKIA BARBAYAN SATTRIYA AWARD for 2021 to Dr. Dilip Ranjan Barthakur (tabla artiste), Gobinda Saikia (Sattriya artiste) and Nani Baruah (musician) at Sangeet Sattra auditorium, Guwahati on July 8, 2021.

CHICAGO'S CULTURAL TREASURES announced $14.4 million in grant funding to 40 organizations that contribute to the history, culture, vibrancy, and identity of communities of color in greater Chicago. Hema Rajagopalan's NATYA DANCE THEATER is one of the organizations selected for this honor.

Delhi's IGNCA moves from sprawling 25 acre campus to 4.4 acre hotel space amid Central Vista plan
The refurbished building of the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA) was inaugurated earlier this month in Hotel Janpath.
Located in Telangana, RAMAPPA TEMPLE, a 13th century temple (located in the village of Palampet about 200 km north of Telangana's capital Hyderabad) named after its architect Ramappa, gets WORLD HERITAGE recognition. The decision was taken at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO held on July 25, 2021 in China. The temple's sculptures of high artistic quality illustrate regional dance customs and Kakatiyan culture. Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna, who recreated the glory of Perini dance, and poet Dr. C Narayana Reddy, showed the uniqueness of this temple to the world.

Ramappa temple, Telangana (Photo: Veejay Sai)

Recently UNESCO certified the Rudreshwara Ramappa Temple in Telangana as a world heritage site. Built in the 13th century in Palampet, on the outskirts of the city of Warangal, the Ramappa Temple is one of the finest examples of the Kakatiya architectural heritage. Inscriptions date the temple to 1213 AD built by a general Racherla Rudra Reddy under the reign of King Ganapati Deva. The inner sanctum is dedicated to Lord Shiva while there are several smaller shrines around the temple complex. Some of the best preserved sculptures of dance can be found in this temple. It was in the Kakatiya kingdom that Jayappa Senapati authored the famous 'Nritta Ratnavali', a comprehensive treatise on classical dance. The exquisite dance sculptures in different parts of the temple complex tell us about the thriving culture of patronage towards dance in the Kakatiya kingdom.
- Veejay Sai



Fond remembrances of selfless Guru of Jaipur Gharana - Guru Kundanlal Gangani
Conceived and organised by Jaipur Gharana Kathak dancer Prerana Shrimali, as a Kalaavart initiative, virtually observing the death anniversary of Kathak guru Kundanlal Gangani, was one of its kind, rising above mundane thanksgiving to a departed guru


Breaking gender barriers
'Chitrangada: The story of a Hermaphrodite' presented by Santoshpur Anuchintan considered the whole question of human sexuality in an imaginative format of choreography, mimetic action, music and painting.

Mahatma through dancers' prism
As a conscious citizen, Sharmila Biswas kept a note of some of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi over the past couple of decades.

Surrender to the Supreme
KANHOPATRA featured in the online Geeva Arts Festival 2021, is a digital work-in-progress of the UK based Bharatanatyam dancer Divya Ravi, in collaboration with her musician husband Dr. Sharan Subramanian.


Dance Matters and how!
Dance is centre stage once again. Thanks to the concerted efforts of a few. Topping that list or making it are a few who kept the flame going in Karo-Na Kaal.


Nehru Centre director LH Kazi passes away
- Vijay Shanker
LH Kazi, cultural director of Nehru Centre, Mumbai, passed away early morning on 20th July 2021. He was 67.

Ace sets and lighting designer passes away
- Vijay Shanker
Thane based sets and lighting designer Pathikrit Mukherjee passed away on 27th June 2021.

Tribute to Guru Pt Anupam Rai
- Vijay Shanker
Mumbai based veteran classical music and Kathak dance mentor, choreographer and composer Pt Anupam Rai left for his heavenly abode, early morning on 27th June 2021 following a cardiac arrest. He was 62.


Celebrating 100 years of Yog Sunder Desai
A Century of Life and Dance

- Papiha Desai
Yog Sunder Desai, a pioneer who ventured into the world of Indian Dance in the pre independence era, was born on July 16, 1921 in Limbdi, Gujarat into a princely family of Gujarat.

Natyacharya K. Muralidhar Rao
- Dr. Shrividya Muralidhar
It is an honour to reminisce about the late Natyacharya K. Muralidhar Rao, whose 98th birthday is on August 2nd. He was like a Kala Muni of the 20th century.

Taalam Talkies S03 E01 - Travancore Sisters
Dancer Aniruddha Knight talks about their work with anecdotes from his personal memoir.

Taalam Talkies S03 E02 - Travancore Sisters
The second and the final episode of Taalam Talkies with Aniruddha Knight.

Work from home, dance from home
Concept, voice & illustrations by Akshay Ayre
BA3 Commissioned Works / Divya Kasturi
'Sleepless' is part of a growing body of work by Divya Kasturi with and for conservatoire students.

T'aint nobody's biz-ness if I do
From "Bullets Over Broadway"

Write to us at
Subscribe / Unsubscribe
to the Narthaki monthly newsletter