The BEST WAY
PREDICT The FUTURE
Is To CREATE
2020 has given more to the authors of history textbooks than it has to the writers of diaries.
For all its eventfulness, 2020 has, for most of us, been a lost year. In
several senses of the word. On top of the enormous loss of human lives,
the pandemic paused many people's progress on long-plotted family and
career goals. It forced countless celebrations, festivals and family
gatherings either onto Zoom or out of existence. And it warped many
people's sense of time, causing months-long stretches to seem
interminable in the moment but like they passed in a blip in retrospect.
We have crossed over into a New Year. Like war time citizens, we too
have yearned for a return to "normal." But, like the 1815 eruption of
Mount Tambora in Indonesia, this pandemic may have far reaching
repercussions for some time to come. That volcanic catastrophe caused
major climate upheavals all across the Northern hemisphere including the
USA. Water froze in the heat of summer, agriculture was wiped out, and
snowfall was seen on July 4.
What has this "lostness" caused the artistic community? For the first
time, each of us in the creative industries was in the very same boat.
Out of work, performances cancelled, tours postponed, livelihoods
threatened. Prima donnas, divas and devas, emerging dancers, fledgling
actors, novice singers, newbie musicians - all faced a bleak scenario.
The delayed timelines, evacuation of public life, the absence of human
bodies physically present for the live arts - these characteristics have
made this lost year that we have lived through as a unique time, never
experienced before in our lifetime.
And TECH swooped in - calling out to the nimble, adaptable, flexible,
malleable bodies and minds. Nuance was out. Flash was in. Minimalism was
pushed out by the grand gesture. Read on...
ANDAL'S GARDEN is a series of curated performances celebrating the
spirit and poetry of the only female Azhwar, Godai, for 30 days from
December 16, 2020. Catch the first fortnight of performances here and
soak in the ambience!
ANDAL'S GARDEN: Part 1
TAALAM TALKIES: Welcome O! Vannegada
Dance scholar and practitioner Swarnamalya Ganesh introduces us to the
Telugu Padams and Javalis in the cinema of the 1940s and 50s, sourced by
Jeetendra Hirschfeld of Sathir Dance Art.
TA KI TA TOM
KARNATAKA KALASHREE, the State's highest
honour for dance, to be awarded by the Karnataka govt to MADHU NATARAJ
and PRAVEEN KUMAR for their contributions to dance.
Germany's lower house approved 2.1billion euro
to support culture in the coming year! The 2021 budget represents an
increase of 155m euro over this year. This underscores the
acknowledgement by parliament of the critical importance of culture in
ABHAI has reached out to 747 artists in total to a tune of Rs 30 lakhs
till date which includes Rs. 5,20,000 from the NAC Aanantham Foundation,
Chennai. This includes 140 artistes from Kerala belonging to the All
Kerala Dance Teachers Association who were all helped with the
assistance of ABHAI Kerala coordinator Aswathy Srikanth.
SCL Rhythms Research Centre (Mumbai) awarded the BEST RHYTHMITE MAESTRO,
the best teacher's award in dance (Bharatanatyam) to RADHIKA SHURAJIT.
PUSHKALA GOPAL to receive the GLOBAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2020 from Global Arts Academy.
RAVI SHANKAR UPADHYAY, a noted pakhawaj player and a teacher at Delhi's
Kathak Kendra, was arrested for alleged molestation after a complaint by
a 23-year-old student of the institute. Purported CCTV footage of the
incident was handed to the police by the director of the institute.
Critic, dance scholar and historian and an ardent rasika of the fine
arts who lived life king size, DR. SUNIL KOTHARI passed away of cardiac
arrest in a Delhi hospital at 9.15am on December 27, 2020 after
complications post Covid recovery. He was 87 and had dedicated a major
part of his life to the cause of dance through his research works and
Born on 20 December 1933, Sunil Kothari qualified as a Chartered
Accountant before turning to the study of Indian dance. His researches
in Bhagavata Mela Natakams, Kuchipudi and Kuravanji earned for him a
Ph.D. from the M.S. University, Vadodara in 1977. For his researches in
the dance sculptures of medieval temples of North Gujarat, he was
awarded a D. Litt by Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta in 1986. He
learnt Bharatanatyam from gurus T. Kuppaiah Pillai and Kalyanasundaram
Pillai, and Kathak from Badri Prasad. He authored more than 20 books
including Sattriya Dances of Assam, New Directions in Indian Dance, and
also on Bharatanatayam, Odissi, Chhau, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and Photo
Biographies of Uday Shankar and Rukmini Devi Arundale. He was a dance
critic of the Times of India group of publications for 40 years. Dr.
Kothari held the Uday Shankar Chair in Rabindra Bharati University, and
taught in the Dance Department of New York University as a Fulbright
Professor. He served as a member of the International Dance Council of
UNESCO and World Dance Alliance Asia-Pacific. He wrote for the Sruti
monthly, The Hindu and Asian Age and had his own column in the dance
Dr. Kothari received the Emeritus Fellowship of the Department of
Culture, Govt of India. He has been honored with the Sangeet Natak
Akademi Award (1995), the Gaurav Puraskar from the Gujarat Sangeet Natak
Akademi (2000), Padma Shri from the Govt of India (2001), and the
Lifetime Achievement Award of the Dance Critics Association, New York
(2011). Sunil Kothari was elected Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi for
his contribution to Indian dance as a scholar. He was last engaged in
penning his autobiography in Gujarati and English.
As a person who has witnessed dance history in the making over
six decades, a storehouse of knowledge with dates and anecdotes at his
beck and call, Dr. Kothari's demise is a big loss to the dance
fraternity. His contributions remain unparalleled and his presence will
be sorely missed.
Tributes to Dr. Sunil Kothari
A pioneer and icon of Indian contemporary dance, ASTAD DEBOO is no more
(July 13, 1947 - Dec 10, 2020). He passed away after a brief illness in
Mumbai in the early hours of Dec 10, 2020.
Born in 1947 in Navsari, Gujarat, Astad Deboo initially received
training in Kathak under Guru Prahlad Das in Calcutta and in Kathakali
under Guru E K Panicker. Later, he attended the London School of
Contemporary Dance learning Martha Graham's modern dance technique and
learnt Jose Limon's technique in New York. He trained with Pina Bausch
in the Wuppertal Dance Company, Germany, and with Alison Chase of the
Pilobolus Dance Company. Along with these and other experiences with
dance companies in Japan and Indonesia, he created a dance theatre style
of his own which successfully assimilates Indian and western
techniques. He experimented with a variety of forms, themes, concepts
and performance spaces and collaborated with other dancers, composers
and designers to create innovative works of aesthetic value.
Deboo choreographed for a few film directors like Mani Ratnam, MF
Husain and Vishal Bhardwaj. He worked with deaf theatre companies in
India, USA, Mexico and Hong Kong and collaborated with drummers of
Manipur. In 2002, he founded the Astad Deboo Dance Foundation which
provided creative training to marginalised sections, including the
differently abled. Always on the move, Astad personally coordinated his
programs, which stretched across 5 continents. He received the Sangeet
Natak Akademi Award in 1995 and Padma Shri in 2007. He leaves behind a
formidable legacy of unforgettable performances combined with an
unswerving dedication to his art, matched only by his loving heart that
gained him thousands of friends and a vast number of admirers.
Tributes to Astad Deboo
Bangalore based Guru G.S. RAJALAKSHMI, disciple of V.C. Lokaiah, passed
away due to pneumonia and Covid, on December 17, 2020 aged 80. She was
the director of Nataraja Nruthya Shala and was recently honored in Oct
2020 with the Kadhambari Lifetime Achievement Award.
THE EASTERN EYE: COLUMN BY DR.UTPAL K BANERJEE
Yog Sunder: The dancer extraordinary
Yog Sunder, a dance phenomenon of this land, is no more, leaving behind
an incredibly rich outcrop of dance events. He passed away just a few
months short of 100 years of age.
A taste of Kathakali
In around a 12-minute solo, Prabal Gupta established his command over
the intricacies of the classical form and proved to be a worthy disciple
of the master.
Ineffable echo from an effusive era
Unable to travel home and adopting the digital medium, Sreyashi -
groomed in Odissi and running her own dance institution overseas for
years -- felt moved to choreograph six of the vintage songs her father
wrote in the 1950s, calling it 'A Daughter's Tribute to her Father'...
DANCE MATTERS: COLUMN BY ASHISH MOHAN KHOKAR
Au revoir 2020, Welcome 2021
What a year! Whoever would've thought we will witness the most unusual and scary year, without even SEEING the enemy.
The coronavirus has interrupted and upended the performing arts, but
it's also made something clear about dance: It isn't beholden to a
proscenium stage. Its visibility, through TikTok, Instagram, YouTube
and, yes, even people on the street, has been undeniable, even with
theaters shut down. Dancers are still performing and choreographers are
still creating, be it for a premiere on video, a reinvention of a
classic or a combination of the two. While there's no denying that this
is an incredibly difficult time for dance and dance artists, it's also
been a privilege to witness such imagination and resilience.
- Gia Kourlas
('Best Dance of 2020' by Gia Kourlas, Brian Seibert and Siobhan Burke, The New York Times, Dec 1, 2020)