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Monthly Newsletter
February 2021


Don't worry.
The heart knows the way through
There may be high rises, checkpoints
Armed soldiers, massacres, wars
And those who will despise you
Because they despise themselves

Watch your mind
Without training it might run away
And leave your heart for the immense human feast
Set by the thieves of time
Do not hold regrets.
Cut the ties you may have
To failure and shame

- Joy Harjo, American Poet Laureate

Are we in February already?
The days continue to whirl by and the blur of the hours passing seem almost like a monotonous hum. How long can we continue to pretend that dance and the breathing, dancing body can find a hybrid space via the digital platform?

Meanwhile, there has been quite a ferment in politics and art.
As the Capitol building was stormed in Washington DC by white supremacists, India's national flag was dishonoured by a group of protesting farmers on Republic Day.

Rumbles in Andhra land as Kuchipudi dancers resist attempts to prevent their paid recordings from being used for online performances.

Collaborations across communities in 20th century Tamilnadu occurred even during the seismic events of the independence struggle. An occasional series begins this month.

The world's largest vaccination drive begins in India as millions line up to get vaccinated against the sneaky Corona virus that has successfully mutated into more 'avatars'.

Read on...


Andal by Bindu Rajendran
Andal - art by Bindu Rajendren

Specially curated and presented by Dr. Anita Ratnam and on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, the morning presentations of Margazhi month starting from Dec 16, 2020 titled ANDAL'S GARDEN featured verses from Andal's THIRUPPAVAI, while the evening presentations titled 'ANDAL'S GARDEN: The Love Letter' were devoted to verses from NACHIYAR THIRUMOZHI, a lesser read masterpiece by the 9th century poet saint Andal, the only female Azhwar.


ANDAL'S GARDEN: The Love Letter

Anita Ratnam in conversation with Dr Vasudha Narayanan, Prof of Religious Studies, University of Florida.


CHITRA SUNDARAM honored with the MBE (Member of The Order of The British Empire) for services to the South Asian dance sector and AAKASH ODEDRA honored for services to dance with the BEM (British Empire Medal) in the Queen's list of honours for the New Year.

Dr. I Wayan Dibia, from Denpasar, Bali, is to be awarded the Padma Shri. He is a distinguished scholar on the performing arts of Bali and heads his own dance company, GEOKS, acclaimed for its inventive dance creations.

GEETA CHANDRAN has been invited to join the Advisory Board of the World University of Design.

The Alumni Association of Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts presented the title GEM OF KALAI KAVIRIANS to MOHANAPRIYAN THAVARAJAH on Jan 24, 2021 for "his impeccable growth and establishment in this divine field of Bharatanatyam."

The Nalanda Dance Research Centre's NALANDA NRITYA NIPUNA AWARD for 2021 goes to Lekha Prasad (BN), Krishnendu Saha (Odissi), Vaishnavi Hazari (BN), Vaishali Varma (BN), Nayana Prakash (Mohiniattam), Meenakshi Venkatraman (BN) and Soumya Shrivastava (Kathak). A panel of judges chose them based on their participation in the Online Festival.

UMN Dance Program launched the book 'Heat and Alterity in Contemporary Dance: South-South Choreographies' by ANANYA CHATTERJEA, on Jan 29, 2021.

PRAKRITI DANCE presented a virtual FESTIVAL OF KUCHIPUDI from Jan 29 to 31 featuring eminent names like Rathna Kumar, Jaikishore Mosalikanti, Vyjayanthi Kashi, Swapnasundari, Anupama Kylash etc in performances and talks.

On Jan 31, Bharatanatyam dancer-choreographer MADURAI R. MURALIDARAN presented the '50 Jati Challenge,' that he choreographed and taught over 3 months, in an online event featuring more than 125 dance students from around the world for the India-Asia Book of Records.

NCPA is ready to welcome rasikas back with performances across genres from this February.

Baryshnikov Arts Center will feature the premieres of seven commissioned video works starting with BIJAYINI SATPATHY's 'Vibhanga' on Feb 1.

KUTTI KAHANI has been selected by Doordarshan for its mainstream broadcast. This is a huge honor for ANANDA SHANKAR JAYANT and NATYARAMBHA. Broadcast dates will be announced later in February.

The dance commissions for Sangam at Dancehouse includes two international artistes SOORAJ SUBRAMANIAM and KASI AYSOLA and 5 Melbourne based artistes who will be featured in March for SANGAM FESTIVAL 2021, Australia.

SAPPHIRE CREATIONS reached out to nearly 30 dancers, puppeteers, technicians, backstage persons from 10 districts namely Howrah, 24 Parganas, Bankura, Midnapore, Basirhat, Purulia, Bardhaman just before the Durga Puja to motivate them in little ways through donations given by friends, well-wishers and patrons of art.


Enviable magnanimity
- V. Kaladharan
At least in the later years of his life, Sunilji revelled in mandana vimarshana (constructive criticism).

Remembering Sunilji
- Jai Govinda
He was an institution into himself, an intimate witness of 60 years of the history, development and evolution of the many Indian classical dance forms. There will never be another one like him.

The irrepressible Dr. Sunil Kothari
- Datuk Ramli Ibrahim
Datuk Ramli Ibrahim pays tribute to the late Dr Sunil Kothari, a prolific dance historian and critic who was a giant in the history of Indian dance for the last six decades.

Tribute to Dr. Sunil Kothari
- VP Dhananjayan
His erudite and research oriented scholarship is evident in all his books, especially Marg publications on various Naatya forms of Bhaarata.

Candid with the Ghantasalas
Online Interview with Dr. Anita Ratnam

Boundaries 1.2
This is the piece that dancer-choreographer Astad Deboo was working on before he died. Boundaries 1.2 marks the apotheosis of his remarkable artistic development that nothing, not even lockdown during the pandemic, could affect.

Vanasthali, Anjika & Curious 2021
Cultural stories and myths that speak of bonds between humans and their environment allude to a oneness linking every living being together.

Murmuration | Tutting | project 64 (1) + Backstage

30 Essential Dance Movies
As seminal dance film 'Save the Last Dance' turns 20, we look at the best dance films ever made... and why the Julia Stiles favorite is just a bit too off-beat to make the cut.
Rasanubhava presents Jathiswaram

Povzunets by the Ukrainian National Dance Company Virksy
The name of the dance is Povzunets, which translates loosely as "the crawler" which refers to the fact that the dancers never stand up throughout the entire dance! Choreographed by Pavlo Virsky.

This free online festival showcases the crème de la crème of the U.K. dance scene
- Emily May
As most theaters across the world remain closed, London's contemporary dance hub Sadler's Wells and cultural broadcaster BBC Arts have come together to produce a day-long digital dance festival on January 28.

Dance Vivid
India's first livestreamed dance concert series along with the launch of TV Sapphire, Sapphire's own YouTube channel.



The Sunil I knew and will miss
This is not a lament, but a recapture of events during the years I knew him, placing before you the man as he was.


Surreally virtual!
The monthly editions of Sapphire Creations spearheaded by Sudarshan Chakravorty, seems to spur on the team's dancers on a direct encounter with the unwelcome visitor and let loose the youthful band to confront the visiting scourge.

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