your gateway to the world of Indian dance

February 2020


My friends, let's grow up
Let's stop pretending we don't know the deal here
Or if we haven't truly noticed, let's wake up and notice
Let's grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings
But please, let's not be so shocked by them.
Let's not act betrayed.

Impermanence is Life's only promise to us,
And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability!
Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth,
She strips away the unreal to show us the real
This is the true ride - let's give ourselves to it!
We are not children any more
The true human adult gives everything for what cannot be lost
Let's dance the wild dance of no hope!

- Anonymous

Before I begin to express battle fatigue at the never ending dance season in Chennai and elsewhere in India, let me wish the 4 PADMA SRI dance awardees all best wishes for the honour bestowed upon them by the Government of India - - Shashadhar Acharya (Chhau), Indira PP Bora (Sattriya), Vajira Chitrasena (Kandyan dance, Srilanka) and Purushottam Dadheech (Kathak).

Significantly, there were no awards for Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi and Manipuri. The bulk of the awards went to unsung heroes who have worked silently and tirelessly in their social and medical spheres. However, the special delight was to see the name of 85 year old matriarch of Kandyan dance, VAJIRA CHITRASENA in the honour roll. I have watched VAJIRA play the drum almost daily at the evening dance classes in Colombo. Such energy, dedication and passion are rare qualities and it is a wonderful gesture to honour great artistes from our neighbouring countries. Ramli Ibrahim was also a PADMA SRI recipient two years ago.

So, to all those dancers who were busy rushing to Delhi, brown nosing political scavengers and wearing orange in their costumes to curry favour - here is a piece of advice. Dance well. Dance brilliantly. Focus on excellence and minimise the IN YOUR FACE PR campaigns. Or perhaps, one needs both these days, but mere PR has to work doubly harder to camouflage mediocrity!

Read on...

ROVING EYE: A section of impressions, images and inspirations
Curated by Anita Ratnam


NARTHAKI, Global Portal for Indian Dance will receive the 1st CHINMAYA NAADA BINDU PURASKAR for dance, instituted by the Chinmaya Naada Bindu Gurukula in 2020, as a milestone to mark the 10th year of its Naada Bindu Festival. It is a citation award to recognize organizations / individuals for their enriching contributions and globally unifying initiatives in the field of Indian dance and music.
"NARTHAKI has been chosen for being the first of its kind digital platform, creating a unifying space for Indian dance practitioners, dance-educators, event organizers, critics, scholars, and aspiring young students, from around the globe, and for consistently providing a healthy forum for free and bold debates and dialoguing, without fear of censorship, about issues that concern dancers and the dance community.
This Citation Award also offers special recognition to Anita Ratnam as Narthaki's founder and managing editor both for creating and managing Narthaki, as well as for her other vital contributions to the dance field, namely:
1) Reviving the lost temple dance tradition of 'Kaisiki Natakam' in the Azhagiya Nambi Temple in her ancestral town of Tirukurungudi
2) Creating an annual mentorship and interdisciplinary training program for upcoming dancers from various parts of India, through Arangham Trust
3) Opening up her home to present creatively unique performances through her Arangham Studio Series.
Through this Citation Award, CNB also applauds Narthaki's indefatigable editorial team, Lalitha Venkat (content editor) and Sumathi (webmaster) who, through their meticulous work, keep the dance world connected month after month. We wish NARTHAKI and its team the very best for its continued growth and service to the global Indian-dance community."
The award ceremony will be held on February 7, 2020, on the opening day of the 10th Naada Bindu Festival, in the Sudharma Auditorium, Chinmaya Vibhooti Ashram, Kolwan, Pune.

The Padma awards have been announced. The PADMA SHRI for dance goes to Shashadhar Acharya (Chhau), Indira PP Bora (Sattriya), Vajira Chitrasena (Kandyan dance, Srilanka) and Purushottam Dadheech (Kathak).

The prize winners of the Madras Music Academy dance festival 2020: Rama Vaidyanathan (senior category); Apoorva Jayaraman (sub-senior) and Dakshina Vaidyanathan Baghel (junior).

On January 12, 2020 Nalanda Dance Research Centre presented Nalanda's KANAKA NARTANA PURASKAAR to Ashish Khokar, Daksha Mashruwala, M.S. Gireesan, Swapnokalpa Dasgupta and Uma Dogra, at Kanaka Sabha, Nalanda Dance Research Centre, Mumbai.

NATYA MAYURI title was conferred on Bala Devi Chandrashekar by the Pontiff Poojya Shri Vidyadheesha Teertha Shripadura of Udupi Krishna Matha on 4th January 2020 at Udupi.

DHS proposes steep artist visa fee increases and policy changes
Important for all visiting artistes and their visa sponsors. Advising all visiting artists to apply ahead in time. Minimum 8 months ahead of show date is advised.


Kuchipudi guru Bhagavatula Yagna Narayana Sarma passed away on January 12, 2020 at his residence in Vijayawada. Born on 5 September 1931 in Kuchipudi, Andhra Pradesh, Yagna Narayana Sarma received his initial training in Kuchipudi under Vedantam Raghavaiah, and was later a student of Chinta Krishnamurthy and Vempati Chinna Satyam. Commencing his career as a performer in traditional Yakshaganas, he soon received acclaim for his role as Lohitasya in 'Harishchandra,' Lavudu in 'Lava Kusa,' Prahlada in the play of the same name, and Narada in 'Gayopakhyanam.' In 1952, he established the Shri Nritya Art Academy in Vijaywada, where he trained numerous students in Kuchipudi dance and dance-dramas. He gained wide respect both as performer and teacher. Sarma has been featured in several documentary films on Kuchipudi Yakshagana. He has also acted in the film 'Rahasyam' directed by his guru Vedantam Raghavaiah. Sarma received the central Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Puraskar, apart from innumerable awards from the Andhra Pradesh government including the Andhra Pradesh Department of Culture Award (2006), award of the Potti Sriramulu Telugu University (2009), and a cash award of the Andhra Pradesh State Cultural Council (2011).

Seniormost Odissi dancer, actor in Odia cinema, educationist and scholar Dr. Minati Mishra passed away on January 6, 2020 in Switzerland, aged 88.
Born in 1929 in Cuttack, Odisha, Dr. Mishra started learning Odissi dance and music at an early age under the tutelage of Kabichandra Kalicharan Patnayak and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. In 1954, she joined Kalakshetra of Rukmini Devi Arundale, on a scholarship from the Government of Odisha, and learned Bharatanatyam for one year. Minati Mishra was awarded a doctoral degree in Indology from the Philipp University of Marburg, Germany. From 1964 to 1989 she was the Principal of the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Bhubaneswar. She was also a Grade A artiste at All India Radio. She was a recipient of Sangeet Prabhakar title for Hindustani vocal music, the 1975 Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Kalinga Shastriya Sangeet Parishad Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2000, and the Padma Shri in 2012.


TAALAM: Column by Leela Venkataraman

Naachiyar Next - A delectable breath of fresh air
Premiered by Anita Ratnam as a changed version of the original, by a now more experienced choreographer, at the Krishna Gana Sabha, as elegant and refreshingly different from what one is normally treated to - amidst countless dance works woven round the theme of Nachiyar /Goda and Andal's Tiruppavai.

Nirikshana: Natya Kala Conference marks its 39th year of celebration-1
The 'pay for the Arts' drive of the convenor Rama Vaidyanathan and Aalaap, the creative collaborator, would seem to have fetched handsome results, for rarely has Krishna Gana Sabha's annual Natya Kala Conference (Dec 26-30, 2019) attracted the kind of 'sold out' auditorium experienced this year....

Nirikshana: Natya Kala Conference marks its 39th year of celebration-2
Alarippu Adventures was an exciting session offering an excellent example of youngsters pushing the creative envelope with discoveries, egged on by their unbound curiosity. They found an excellent fellow traveller in mridangist Ramamoorthy Ganesh who provided the ideal rhythmic arithmetical springboard.

Kalavaahini's Margazhi offer of 'Dance for Dance'
Initiated in 2013, Malavika Sarukkai's Kalavaahini Trust in its effort at positive and successful support for dance, has worked at creating a platform for art which has excellence as its guiding principle...

THE EASTERN EYE: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Dissecting society's underbelly
The ace director Sima Mukhopadhyay has looked at some vulnerable situations with great empathy and gifted the Kolkata viewers two 'clinical' studies done with an unerring scalpel.

Of dancing gene and Varnam mime
Presented on December 26 by 'Darpanee', their director Arnab Bandyopadhyay - a senior dancer in Bharatanatyam and Odissi - showed a great flair in choreography right from the word go.


Sonorous Tunes and Swaying Torsos
- Dr. Utpal K Banerjee
'Folk Traditions of Northeast India' by Biren Baruah and Suman Swaragi, takes the reader through the culture-scape, with a hand-held tour of their dance and musical heritage.

Choreographing between two worlds: India and the United States:
Column by Janaki Patrik

Laying the foundation
Life can change in a split second. Mine certainly did. I was studying Russian language and literature, preparing for a career in academia or international politics. But after seeing Birju Maharaj dance in 1963, I made an about-face.


14th Edition of the Music Academy Dance Festival
The marathon sessions

Hot on the heels of the 39th Natya Kala Conference came the 14th edition of The Music Academy's dance festival from 3rd till 9th January 2020 at their spacious and well equipped auditorium with light and sound system. This year's festival had added features......

Drishti Art Centre's Bharata Nritya Vaibhava
The present 15th National Dance Festival titled Bharata Nritya Vaibhava curated by Anuradha Vikranth featuring 15 dance styles, held on 11th January at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, was a spectacular event.

If it is December, it must be Chennai
Come December and some of us from the Capital plan well in advance to move to Chennai for the 'season' now extending from December to January and at times further extending to February also.

Commendable recitals
Anita Ratnam in association with Brahma Gana Sabha presented her A List series featuring three artists - Shanmuga Sundaram, Indira Kadambi and Mansavini Ramachandran - on January 2, 2020 in Chennai.

DANCE MATTERS: Column by Ashish Mohan Khokar

A for....
A for art, aesthetics, A grade. And in Bharatanatyam it is Alarmel Valli. And what a mature, meaningful opening to the New Year's season it was at Music Academy Dance Festival.


Feb 1 - 23, New Delhi, Pune, Patiala
Schedule for Raja-Radha Reddy and Natya Tarangini.
- Feb 1: BHARAT KE SANGEET RATNA to Drs. Raja Radha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy by The Art and Cultural Trust of India at India Habitat Center, New Delhi at 7.30pm
- Feb 1: NT disciples perform at the back drop of Qutab Minar for 'Matdaan Mahotsav' Voting Awareness Drive by District Election Office, South Delhi
- Feb 2: Bhavana Reddy performance at Maharashtra Cultural Centre's Urja Dance Festival, at Jyotsana Bhole Sabhagruha, Tilak Road, Pune, 5:30pm.
- Feb 2: Disciple Pernia Qureshi performs Kuchipudi dance on the theme of 'Upside Down' for TEDx Amritsar.
- Feb 21: Mahashivratri Concert at Raja Radha Rangmanch, Natya Tarangini, 7pm onwards
- Feb 22: Yamini and Bhavana Reddy performance at IGNCA, New Delhi
- Feb 23: Group performance at Patiala Heritage Festival 2020

Feb 2, Coimbatore
Kiran Subramanyam and Sandhya Kiran present the Rasika Dance Ensemble in BHA RA THA PALLAVI and excerpts from SHARAVANABHAVA. Concept and Choreography: Kiran Subramanyam.
At: Hindustan College Auditorium, 6.30pm

Feb 2 - 28, Odisha, Japan
Schedule for Guru Dr. Gajendra Panda and Tridhara.
- 2nd Feb, Biragovindapur: Tridhara presents Odissi dance drama BHAKTA PRAHALAD at GURUKULA ANNUAL FESTIVAL, from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.
- 3rd Feb, Balesore: Dance drama SAKHI GOPINATH at open-air, Shree Jagannath Temple on the occasion of Annual Festival, from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.
- 7th to 17th Feb, Bhubaneswar: Odissi dance production at open-air, Janta Maidan, on the occasion of INTERNATIONAL DAMINI FESTIVAL, at 6.30pm.
- 13th Feb, Bhubaneswar: Group dance production GANANAYAKA PANCHAKA at Jayadev Bhawan on the occasion of LASYA LABANYA FESTIVAL-2020, at 7.30pm to 8pm.
- 21st Feb, Bagedia, Balesore: Odissi dance production SHIVA MAHIMA at Jagar Mahotshav -2020 at Open-air, Sidheswar Temple.
-19th to 28th February, Japan: Tour organized by Tridhara, Japan
22nd and 23rd Feb, Nagoya, Japan: Folk Dance Workshop at Folk Dance Club, Led by Chisato Miura
24th and 25th Feb, Nagoya, Japan: Dance Festival at Casper Gifu Auditorium, led by Chisato Miura

Feb 4 - 20, Mumbai, Rishikesh, Ahmedabad, Vijayawada, Varanasi
Schedule for Ileana Citaristi and Art Vision.
- 4th Feb, Mumbai: Ileana Citaristi performs 'Ekalavya' from Odia Mahabharat, in Odissi style. Choreography by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Music by Prafulla Kar, At Kalaghoda Arts Festival, Cross Maidan, 6.30pm
- 6th-7th Feb, Rishikesh: Art Vision presents two evenings of exclusive Odissi group choreographies on the occasion of the 10th Indological Conference at Swami Dayananda Ashram, organized by Arsha Vidya Vikas Kendra, Rishikesh
-15th Feb, Ahmedabad: Ileana Citaristii presents Odissi solo for Nrutyotsavam Dance Festival organized by Kalalayam Nartan Academy, HK College Auditorium, Ashram Road, 6.30pm
-16th Feb, Vijayawada: Ileana Citaristi presents Odissi solo with live orchestra for Vijayawada Dance Festival organized by Sri Kiranmayuri Kala Nilayam at GVR Music and Dance College, 6.30pm
-20th Feb, Varanasi: Ileana Citaristi presents Odissi solo with live orchestra for the 29th Shivaratri Sangeeta Mahotsav, organized by Seth Kishorilal Jalan Sewa Trust at Sri Hanuman Prasad Poddar Andh Vidyalaya, Sankat Mochan Rd.

Feb 5 & 15, Mumbai
Schedule for Jhelum Paranjape and Smitalay.
- 5th Feb: Odissi by Jhelum Paranjape and Smitalay at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival from 8.30 to 9.15pm for The Kala Ghoda Association at Cross Maidan, Mumbai.
- 15th Feb: Participation in the Children's Fest organised by Daksha Mashruwala and Kaishiki presenting AAP KI KUDRAT (Importance of water and nature) at Kala Aangan Amphitheatre, Sangit Mahabharati, Mumbai at 5.30pm.

Feb 13, New Delhi
Speaker: Seetha Ratnakar, Retired Dance producer for Doordarshan.
Chair: Kamalini Dutt, former Head of Doordarshan Archives and celebrated producer of dance programmes on Doordarshan
Discussant: Dr. Arshiya Sethi, Independent scholar, former Advisor DD Bharati and long term presenter of the National Programme of Dance and Music
At: Casuarina Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi 110003, 7pm

Feb 20, Kolkata
Kalavaahini Trust in association with Sparsh Studio for Performing Arts presents 'The Dance Series- Pursuing Excellence" featuring Bharatanatyam recital by Jyotsna Jagannathan and Aditya PV.
At: ICCR auditorium, Kolkata, 6pm.

Feb 21, New Delhi
Dance Drishtikon 2020 features SAMARATRI - NIGHT OF DIVINE UNION, Kathak performance danced and choreographed by Gauri Diwakar. Presented by Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company - The Drishtikon Dance Foundation.

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