"I am nearly 75 years old. I live in freedom
in an extraordinary city and worry about my former home and my mother's
grave in (former Soviet) Latvia. This is Putin's war, not Russia's
battle. I am not afraid to speak out and address Putin directly. This
cycle of hate and fear cannot last."
- Ballet icon and choreographer MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV in a television interview from New York.
Everything seems be on fire. Ideas. Ethics. Morality codes. Our words and actions.
Violence in several ways. Bloodshed through hatchets or by the gavel of the law.
In these turbulent and troubling times, we, the community of performing
artistes, need to ask ourselves why we do what we do. Does it merely
have a meaning for us, for our spirits and our souls? Is it a mere
palliative, dousing us with self importance and creating an echo
chamber for those who are willing to gather at our feet? Does beauty
have power? Does the act of art making have a purpose beyond spreading
positivity and hope? Is that not enough by itself?
Being away from home and the country creates a shift inside your being. I
have found that from the moment I sit in my airplane seat, my mind
begins to wander - forwards and backwards. What has just occurred and
what is to unfold. I also find myself searching for WHERE I locate
myself in the world of the Performing Arts. As someone who does not
qualify as a "busy dancer" or a "teacher/guru" in the traditional sense
of the word, I question myself as to "why" I continue on the path that I
have chosen. And then something happens, a stranger approaches me in
flight or during transit from another land, and the compliments spring
forth about a work, a comment I have made on social media or a video
they have watched during the pandemic. The self belief returns, stronger
than ever, and I am smiling - inside.
Natyarambha's TAMRAPATRA concluded its yearlong digital presentation
with Vaibhav Arekar as the featured choreographer. The monthly series
featured 12 different senior performers who taught a different
composition of 15th century Telugu poet Annamacharya.
June 27 was celebrated as the 103rd birth anniversary of AMALA SHANKAR.
'Muthulakshmi Reddy: A Trailblazer in Surgery and Women's Rights,' a
biography authored by V.R. DEVIKA and published by Niyogi Books is to be
released on July 2 at Kalakshetra, Chennai.
'Breaking Free' is a novel by VAASANTHI published by Harper Perennial
India about the varied and turbulent world of devadasis, bringing the
complexities of their history to life. The English translation is by N.
In 1981, RAMYA HARISHANKAR and her husband HARISH MURTHY moved from
Chennai to Irvine, CA. Since their early days in Irvine, with the
support of the community, they have organized performances, festivals,
symposiums featuring local, national, and international artistes,
collaborating with local presenters, universities, and community
organizations. Ramya and Harish were recognized as 'Distinguished
citizens' with a plaque on Irvine's Wall of Recognition on June 14,
2022. Since its inception in 2006, more than 400 individuals and
organizations have been included on the Wall.
The English version of abhinaya Guru G Venu's book MUDRA: THE LANGUAGE
OF KUTIYATTAM, KATHAKALI AND MOHINIYATTAM, the classical theatre and
dances of Kerala, will be available in a few months. It has notations of
1341 mudras, the world's largest collection of hand gestures.
Odissi Nrutya Alochana, the English version of the proceedings of the
seminar in July 28 & 29, 1975 was released on June 15, 2022 by
Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi. Compiled by Dr. Kalicharan Patnaik,
translated from Odia by Malabika Patel, prefaced and edited by Dr.Ileana
Katherine Kunhiraman's KALANJALI in California celebrates 47 years this year.
Attakkalari's Way of the Masters series aims to empower its students
with knowledge that lies beyond the pages of books in dynamic
interactions with the masters. The schedule for the coming months
includes intensives that will be conducted by Soni's School of Garba
Dance (Garba), Nellai Manikandan (Devarattam), MD Pallavi (Music),
Himanshu Nanda (Flute), Praveen Kumar (Bharatanatyam), Sunanda Devi
(Kuchipudi) & Bijayini Satpathy (Odissi).
En Acte, South Asian stories with universal appeal, presented 'Dum Biryani' in its ReEnActe Series, from June 6 to 16, 2022.
Kadam director and Pulse editor
Sanjeevini Dutta has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday
honours. Sanjeevini has led the Luton-based company for three decades.
Kathak Guru Kumudini Lakhia is honoured with the GURU GOPINATH NATIONAL AWARD from the Government of Kerala.
The Bharatanatyam duo Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan received the
NAATYA SELVAM award on June 6, 2022 from Muthamizh Peravai Arakattalai
at the inauguration of its 41st annual music festival in Chennai.
Sarasalaya Chennai presented the KJ SARASA MEMORIAL AWARD to DV
Kanakadurga (vocalist for Bharatanatyam & Kuchipudi), Dr.Ananda
Shankar Jayant and Kuttalam M Selvan (nattuvanar) on June 17, 2022 at
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai.
RASHESWAR SAIKIA BARBAYAN SATTRIYA AWARD ceremony (14th edition) for
2020 and 2022 will take place on 8th of July, at Srimanta Sankaradeva
Kalakshetra, Guwahati. For 2022, eminent art scholar Dr. Pradip
Jyoti Mahanta and Sattriya exponent Sharodi Saikia will be conferred the
award. The awardees for 2020 are eminent art critic Dr. Nita Vidyarthi,
Manipuri dance exponent Kalavati Devi and Vaishnavite saint of Sri Sri
Mul Kamalabari Sattra, Sonaram Sarma Burhabhakat.
Iravateswara Temple, Darasuram, Tamilnadu
Photo: Lalitha Venkat
guru of Bharatanatyam, M.K.SAROJA KHOKAR passed away peacefully on June
13, 2022 at home in Bangalore. She was 92 this year and was a benchmark
in Bharatanatyam of Vidwan Muthukumaran Pillai bani of Kattumannarkoil.
While Ram Gopal, her mentor, Rukmini Devi her patron and Mrinalini
Sarabhai too learnt from the same guru, only Saroja learnt
exclusively from Thatha as Muthukumaran Pillai was called.
Born on 7th April 1931
in Madras (the M in her initials) her story is well known. Suffice it to
say she was a star of the 50s, a seasoned artiste of the 60s and
successful one in the 70s. By 80s, she had many students abroad,
especially France, based at Mandapa, which her student Milena Salvini
had started. Guru M.K.Saroja was a distinguished artiste and maintained a
family life with a career. With four sons and many daughters or
shishyas, she was the epitome of an affectionate guru. Universally
called Mummy ji or Ma by most, her chief disciple is Vidya of Paris.
Ambika, Vani, Jyoti, Uday, Arup, Radha and Rasika were some other known
ones of her style.
3 documentaries have
been made on her; 4 national awards, including the Padma and more. She
remained unaffected by all and was a devotee at heart. Her son Ashish
served her most of her life, leaving his career in Delhi and abroad. His
wife Elisabeth cared genuinely for her till the end followed by Pratima
of Vivek and Lalita of Nandan. Hari, her eldest, was an IAS allied,
Nandan, a textile scientist, Vivek in hotel trade and Ashish,
critic-editor. Guru Saroja has 5 grandchildren. She went away fulfilled.
She was a truly pan
Indian artiste. Not limited to one city. She was born in Madras, lived
in Delhi, Baroda, Punjab, Bangalore. Add dance teaching base in Paris,
UK, Germany, Sweden and Italy. For a Tamil native, she spoke Hindi,
Punjabi, Telugu, Gujarati and French. Her collaborations with Birju
Maharaj, Kelubabu and Kalanidhi Narayanan made for benchmark concerts.
Earlier her pet partners were Indrani, Damayanti Joshi and Sitara Devi.
As her career lasted 70 unbroken years, she danced with 3 generations
and inspired next.
Remembering M.K. Saroja, who put Bharatanatyam on the global stage
- S Sahaya Ranjit
Madras Kadiravelu Saroja died on June 13 after decades of pioneering contribution to Indian classical dance.
Editor / writer / Professor / dance and film critic, G ULAGANATHAN
passed away at 1:15am on June 23, 2022 after a massive cardiac arrest.
He was a former News Editor in Deccan Herald and Indian Express, Adjunct
faculty, visiting Professor at Symbiosis School of Media &
Communication, Bengaluru, and Member, Board of Studies, School of Media
Studies at Pondicherry Central University. He was a regular contributor