View the newsletter in your browser and SHARE

February 2023


I use Dance to give expression to my inner vision
It is not mere exercise nor as escape to get away
From the harsh realities of life.
Its significance goes much deeper.
The physical exercise and the mental discipline
Are means to realising the highest experience given to man
This is the real meaning of dance.

- Sri Lankan cultural icon GURU CHITRASENA

Anita Ratnam

And we quietly slip into the year of the Rabbit.

After much tumult, I welcome the leaping out of the year of the Tiger as the Rabbit hops its way in! The Tiger definitely roared, pounced, clawed (and occasionally purred) its way through 2022. After the last several months of daring adventures, we are more than ready for the kind hearted rabbit to get going.

Read on...

Hema Rajagopalan, Artistic Director, Natya Dance Theatre, Chicago, has been a member of Narthaki since 2006.
Hema Rajagopalan
In the early eighties when dancers all over the world struggled to be connected to resources much needed, Narthaki appeared as a treasure in the form of a simple directory of artistes and support resource people. This was the only worldwide directory which was consistently updated by Anita and team. Today it has developed into the ONLY online portal for every kind of resource, news, reviews and notes from stalwarts and announcements of performances. Narthaki is a complete platform which satisfies every need of a dancer whether it be resources or visibility!
Congratulations to Anita Ratnam and Team Narthaki for this unique gift to the dance world!


Bharatanatyam exponent Geeta Chandran was bestowed with love and reverence by her students in the form of 'A to Z+ OF GEETA CHANDRAN', a volume published by Natya Vriksha on January 15, 2023. Enriched with wonderful photographs, the articles in the book are both an analysis of the unique pedagogical processes that Geeta Chandran employs at Natya Vriksha and also the impact that Natya Vriksha has had on students (both past and present), parents and others. Many of the tributes are in the form of paintings, drawings, and poems. The book has been aesthetically designed and printed by Niyogi Books.

UK based dance practitioner DIVYA KASTURI is the winner of South East Dance's bursary for the 2023 Doing Dramaturgy program, led by Lou Cope of the Centre for Applied Dramaturgy, which is designed to bring together choreographers and dramaturgs to dig deep into the why, where, how and who of their practice.

Natyacharya V.P. DHANANJAYAN's project 'Nava Karana' or 'Noothana Karana' - one of the 18 Karana panels was unveiled by Governor of Tamilnadu on the 30th Dec 2022 during the Bharata Kalanjali Sangeethotsavam.

NYC based THRESH headed by Preeti Vasudevan, has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a Grants for Arts Projects award. This grant is one of the 1,251 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling nearly $28.8 million that were announced by the NEA as part of its first round of the fiscal year 2023 grants.


Veteran Bharatanatyam Guru Kalyanasundaram Pillai receives the PADMA SHRI award for 2023.

The annual NEILA SATHYALINGAM MEMORIAL ENDOWMENT AWARD 2023 goes to Bharatanatyam dancer Nithiyasree Nadeson. The award was instituted in 2019 and is presented annually at the Remembering Neila Sathyalingam Festival presented by Apsaras Arts Dance Company, Singapore.

Nalanda Dance Research Centre's NALANDA KANAKA NARTANA PURASKAAR were given on January 15, 2023 in Mumbai during the Nrityotsava.
For 2020-2021: Madhuri Deshmukh (Mohiniattam), KNP Nambisan (percussion), Mysore B Nagaraj (Kathak), Usha RK (Arts promoter) and Pt Rajendra Gangani (Kathak)
For 2021-22: Debi Basu (Odissi), Helen Acharya (Arts promoter), Meenakshi Iyer-Gangopdhyay (BN), Rajashri Shirke (Kathak) and Sandhya Purecha (BN)
For 2022-23: Sathyanarayana Raju (BN), Shubhada Varadkar (Odissi), Pt Kalinath Mishra (tabla), Lata Surendra (BN) and Bhawana Somaya (film historian, critic)

The annual NALANDA-BHARATA MUNI SAMMAN for 2022 was given to Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan for dance, Rohini Hattangadi for theater and Purushottam Upadhyaya for music on January 15, 2023 in Mumbai.

With effect from 26 January 2023, NARMATHA RAVICHANDHIRA is awarded OAM of the Order of Australia for "service to the arts in music and dance". She is the founder and artistic director of Bharatha Choodamani (Australia), School of Indian Classical Dance and Sruthi-Laya Kendra (Australia), School of Indian Classical Music.

Saraswati Educational Cultural and Charitable Trust presents the KASHINATH GHARIYALI AWARD to Dr. Raghavendra (managing trustee, Ananya) and the INDIRA GHARIYALI AWARD to Smitha Rajan (Mohiniattam), Padmini Ravi and Aarathy Shetty (Bharatanatyam) on Feb 1, 2023 at Seva Sadan, Bangalore.


The twain shall meet
- Aniruddha Knight
Tradition, in the context of hereditary dance and its music, is riddled with more questions than answers.

Notes on the photograph of Rajalakshmi and Jeevaratnam, c. 1933
- Donovan Roebert
The photograph of the Kalyani daughters, Rajalakshmi and Jeevaratnam, which was produced sometime between 1931 and 1933, is as well known as it is usually unaccompanied by any documented insights into the lives and art of these sisters.

Actor on the Lights
- Parshathy J Nath
This is first of a three part series of my experience being mentored for a year at Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Art Research in Puducherry through the Inlaks Theatre Award scholarship.

One woman's search for the Kathak dancers who were relegated to the background by Bollywood
- Malini Nair
Who were the extras in early Hindi cinema? And whatever happened to them? Researcher Siddhi Goel found some troubling answers to these questions in her work.


I perform very rarely in proscenium and as a presenter, I do not use proscenium stages due to varied reasons. Dance was never historically presented in auditoriums, especially in this country. One way of moving closer to the audiences is when a dancer realises they need to move beyond the sanctified space and perform in spaces where a blurring between the artist and the audiences can occur. The other reason is also that auditoriums are often unaffordable in our country given that dance doesn't pay here. The other reason is an artistic reason which I am very encouraged by that dance is a visual medium. So for dance, interacting with different spaces is natural to it. It isn't just because of its aesthetic value but because it opens up avenues to actually communicate with each other.

- Vikram Iyengar


Common head and neck injuries dancers need to take seriously
- Cory Stieg
From learning the nuances of Úpaulement to spotting in consecutive turns, dancers typically give their head and neck as much attention as their lower body. That said, dancers might be less aware of the types of upper body injuries that can occur in the studio or onstage.

How under-fueling can lead to RED-S-Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport
- Garnet Henderson
The physical demands of dance are intense. When they're not supported properly with enough energy from food, dancers run the risk of developing RED-S, or relative energy deficiency in sport.

Hampi, Karnataka, 14th c
Hampi, Karnataka, 14th c
Photo: Seetha Ratnakar


Lakshmi Viswanathan
LAKSHMI VISWANATHAN (27 Jan 1944 - 19 Jan 2023)

Renowned dancer, scholar and writer Lakshmi Viswanathan, passed away in Chennai on the morning of January 19, 2023. She was 79.
A prime disciple of Guru Kanjeevaram Elappa Pillai, Lakshmi Viswanathan was an exponent of the Thanjavur style of Bharatanatyam. Her dance arangetram in 1952 was presided over by E Krishna Iyer. She was especially known for her creative abhinaya presentations that have been described as visual music. She was also a trained vocalist and learnt padams from T. Mukta. She received training in Kuchipudi dance from Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam. Often described as a poetic dancer, she combined tradition with innovation without diluting the classicism.
A gold medalist in English Literature, she was the author of several acclaimed books: Bharatanatyam - the Tamil Heritage, Kunjamma - Ode to a Nightingale, Kapaleeswara Temple, Women of Pride -The Devadasi Heritage. Her film 'The Poetry of Dance' was commissioned by the Festival of India. The Mamallapuram Dance Festival started in 1991 was Lakshmi's brainchild. She served on several arts committees and was twice elected as vice-president of the executive committee of Music Academy Madras. She was the editor of Kalakshetra Journal.
As a cultural ambassador of India, she has performed extensively abroad in important festivals and earned the admiration of dancers and choreographers. Prestigious research fellowships enabled her to research the history and ethos of dance. Her scholarly lectures and demonstrations have been showcased in both Indian and international academic forums.
She has received the Tamilnadu state award Kalaimamani, the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi award, Nritya Kalanidhi award from Music Academy Madras, among numerous others. A recipient of the Nritya Choodamani, Lakshmi was convenor of Krishna Gana Sabha's Natya Kala Conference in Chennai for two years.
Passion, wit, humour and intelligence were braided in her persona.
Atma Shanti to her soul.

A wholesome vision
- Gayathri Iyer
Lakshmi Viswanathan, who passed away recently, strengthened her bond with BN through performance, research and writing.

SHYAMALA NARAYANAN, a respected and loved Bharatanatyam teacher in Temple of Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur, is no more (July 15, 1955 - Jan 27, 2023).


Choreographing SRINGAR - The Raja Rasa
For me the challenge has been to choreograph dances which realistically illustrate the physical and emotional effects of this all-powerful King of Love, and to coach dancers to reflect lovers' emotions and movements in Kathak's style of abhinaya - body and facial acting.


Triple A
A book, a film and a conversation by Annette Leday from Paris, then a book and talk on Ram Gopal by Ajay Sinha from US of A. That was the highlight of the beginning of the dance calendar here in Bangalore.

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