The silence, was broken by a sob
In the darkness, a shadow trembled
The air was damp, with unshed tears...
...and had a strange smell of sorrow
The melancholic gloom..of a broken spirit, a bruised heart...
dying a slow death...in deafening desolation!
- Romi Mittal
As the list of beloved and admired artistes being felled by the virulent
India-B 16:17 variant increases almost daily, all of India is in
intense lockdown mode. The rest of the world seems to be slowly
unfurling into a quieter and more cautious movement towards "normalcy".
The gates of homes are open, sidewalks are spilling over with friends
finally meeting over coffee and endless chatter, and yes, artistes are
prepping for some outdoor events this summer.
But not in India, as we seem to be facing a never ending stretch of dreary monotony.
In this edition, however, I have chosen to focus on the 8 digital dance
premieres that have made us all smile. Even if it is short lived.
TA KI TA TOM
SHANTA DHANANJAYAN plays a retired headmistress in a Tamil film directed by Vasantabalan.
The doc feature IN BALANCHINE'S CLASSROOM, about legendary choreographer
GEORGE BALANCHINE, directed by Connie Hochman chronicles some of the
students of Balanchine during the 1960's and 1970's. The movie
includes never-seen-before archival footage of Balanchine at work
during rehearsals, classes, and in preparation for some of his seminal
works, along with interviews with his most adored and adoring dancers
and those who try to carry on his legacy today. The film is slated to be
released on September 17.
The BRITISH COUNCIL for the first time has announced scholarships to
study Creative Economy in the UK. It has partnered with four leading UK
universities to offer post-graduate study in Culture Policy and Arts
SHOBANA BHALCHANDRA is now on board at Bharata Kalanjali as the
Executive Director and will be merging her dance institution Tharanginee
with Bharata Kalanjali.
The Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory (NBC) in Torrington (Connecticut) strips
dance of name after Hindu activist calls it 'patronizing' and
'caricaturing.' It has renamed performance of iconic ballet 'La
Bayadère' as 'PETIPA HIGHLIGHTS,' a celebration of Petipa's choreography
and assured no stereotyping in its presentation during its Graduation
Performance Series (May 18-21). As such, the excerpts are devoid of
context and convey no story to the audience.
RAJESWARI SAINATH has been awarded a PhD doctorate for her topic 'A
study on time management of Karaikudi Mani's laya patterns in
KATHAKALI JANA, Kolkata based Arts writer, is holding another edition of her successful Dance Appreciation workshop.
MADHU NATARAJ has started a successful series of MTM - Move in the
Moment online sessions for all creative people. Combining yoga,
aerobics, breathing and mindful movement.
YAMINI MUTHANA is conducting special sessions for pre natal yoga for pregnant women.
MAYA DANCE THEATRE ( Kavitha Krishnan) has produced a digital dance series called SEEDS, focusing on people with DOWNS SYNDROME.
UPASANA ARTS UK completed their extensive course on Sangam poetry
conducted by Tamil scholar Professor R Raghuraman with a grand festival
featuring some of the students and performances as works-in-progress.
PADMA SUBRAHMANYAM's weekend workshop for SAMARPANA ARTS raised nearly 6
lakh rupees from numerous students from as far off as Brazil.
Berlin based RAJYASHREE RAMESH conducts a FASCIANATYA methodology
certification course developed by her in a first ever professional level
programme that integrates deep insights in traditional practices of
Natya with movement studies and current fascia research.
The TWELFTH KALASAGAR AWARDS for exemplary contribution in the field of
traditional performing arts for the year 2021 as selected through
nominations received from art connoisseurs.
Vesham/Actor: Kalamandalam Manoj, Paattu/Music: Kalamandalam
Balachandran, Chenda/Percussion: Dr. Mankulam Krishnan
Namboothiri, Maddalam/Percussion: Kalamandalam Venukuttan,Chutty/Makeup:
- Ottenthullal: Punnasseri Prabhakaran, Koodiyattam: Sooraj Nambiar
- Mohiniattam: Sandhya Rajan, Bharatanatyam: Saritha Ramadevan
- Thayambaka: Dr. Sukhapuram Dileep
Thimila: Peruvaram Mohanan Marar, Maddalam: Kavil Peethambaran Marar,
Edakka: Kalanilayam Unnikrishnan, Ilathalam: Peruvaram Soman
(posthumous), Kombu: Cherai Sunil
The presentation of the awards scheduled on 28th May 2021, the 97th
birth anniversary of Kalamandalam Krishnankutty Poduval, stands
postponed due to the pandemic situation.
Mallikarjuna temple, Basaralu, Karnataka (Photo: Lalitha Venkat)
|TAALAM: COLUMN BY LEELA VENKATARAMAN|
Chakshu - Dance from the perspective of the camera
Looked at from any perspective, the three day virtual festival
CHAKSHU jointly organised by Kalpataru Arts and Kri Foundation,
featuring dance viewed from the perspective of the camera lens, was a
Back to the roots in Nupur Zankar's marathon Sanskriti Mahotsav on Kathak Gharanas
In what was a painstakingly ambitious enterprise involving gurus of
all gharanas, performers pertaining to three generations, providing
space for what went as interactions, the flawless organisational finesse
had to be lauded.
THE EASTERN EYE: COLUMN BY DR.UTPAL K BANERJEE
A triptych of femininity
Sharmila Biswas, the acclaimed Odissi dancer of the eastern metropolis,
has produced an engrossing study of the woman's psyche in her latest
Remapping routes in a warped world
CHAKSHU (the Eye), was a 3-day composite program of filmed dances and
erudite self-exploration by dancers and scholars in a Webinar on May
7-9, organized by Kri Foundation in collaboration with Kalpataru Arts
with global participation, that examined the germane issues.
Dancer RAMU KANAGAL, the founder of Kanagal Nrithyalaya in
Bangalore, passed away of Covid complications on April 28, 2021. He was
BALA LAL, wife of late Kathak maestro Pt Durgalal, passed away on May 2, 2021. She was 68.
JACQUES D'AMBOISE, who shattered stereotypes about male dancers as he
helped popularize ballet in America and became one of the most
distinguished male stars at New York City Ballet, died on May 2, 2021 at
his home in Manhattan. He was 86.
Akhila Bharatha Kuchipudi Natya Kalamandali Secretary, Kuchipudi Guru,
promoter of Kuchipudi and a dedicated academic, PASUMARTHI KESAVA PRASAD
passed away in Kuchipudi Village on the morning of May 7, 2021.
Born in 1952, he hailed from a traditional Kuchipudi dance family. His
father Subramanya Sastry was known for female personification roles in
Kuchipudi Yakshaganam and his grandfather was famous Kuchipudi
Yakshaganam artiste Vedantam Ramakrishnaiah. Kesava Prasad received his
training from Vedantam Parvateesam, P.V.G. Krishna Sarma and Dr.
Vempati Chinna Satyam. He had a stint as a dance assistant in Sri
Siddhendra Kalakshetram from 1978 to 1983. He enacted various roles in
Kuchipudi Yakshaganam like that of Aniruddha, Lord Krishna, Madhavi,
Indra, Chandamarkulu, Banasura, Balichakravarthi among others. He was an
integral part of the entourage of famous Kuchipudi Yakshaganam artists
like Vedantam Rattaiah Sarma, Dr. Chinta Ramanadham, Pasumarthy
Venkateswara Sarma, Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam, and Dr. Vedantam
Satyanarayana Sarma. Kesava Prasad had dedicated his life to Kuchipudi
dance and his demise is a great loss to Kuchipudi.
K Vijaya, one of the early students of Shankarananda Kalakshetra,
succumbed on the morning of May 13, 2021 to Covid, after a 20 day
hospitalisation. Hers was the 3rd arangetram of the institution in April
1984. She was also part of some of Shankarananda Kalakshetra's early
Kuchipudi Guru DR. CHINTA ADINARAYANA SARMA (born on Aug 2, 1955) passed
away on May 24, 2021. A prolific artist hailing from traditional
Kuchipudi families of Chintavari Melam, he was a genius nattuvangam
artiste with calculative precision, a unique choreographer with a
prolific contribution, and researcher. He trained under his father
Chinta Radhakrishnamurthy, uncle Chinta Krishnamurthy, P. V. G. Krishna
Sarma and Vempati Chinna Sathyam. Chinta Adinarayana Sarma worked within
the boundaries of the tradition and improvised stage techniques as
early as 1970s and 1980s using magnificent settings. For his
choreography of the dance drama 'Ushodayam,' the birth story of Jesus
Christ, he received his Ph.D in Kuchipudi dance. He started Sri
Radhakrishna Kuchipudi Natyalaya in 1983. Some of the awards he received
are Natya Visharadha, Deva Parijatham, Natya Vigyan, and Natya
Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer and mentor, Guru B BHANUMATI passed
away in Bangalore on May 24, 2021 of Covid related complications. She
was trained under legendary gurus K.N Dandayuthapani Pillai,
Dr.K.Venkatalakshamma and Kalanidi Narayanan. She was the founder
director of Nritayakalamandiram in Bangalore. Bhanumati was a recipient
of senior fellowship of ministry of human resources development for
pursuing higher levels in group choreography where she broke new grounds
in both classical content, aesthetic appeal and overall impact. She was
a dance icon especially for her ensemble choreographies that were eye
catching, graceful and elegant. She has been honored with the
Rajyotsava Award by Govt of Karnataka (2001), Karnataka Kalashree,
Natyakala Tapasvini, Shreshta Kala Pracharak, Chanakya Kautila award,
Aryabhata Award etc.
VENKAT VEMPATI, the elder son of Guru Vempati Chinna Sathyam, passed
away on May 25, 2021. He was 55. He was secretary of Kuchipudi Art
Academy founded by his father in Chennai in 1963. He also offered
Kuchipudi classes at their house in their ancestral village of
Kuchipudi, in collaboration with Krishna University (KRU-Machilipatnam).
He launched the 'Save Kuchipudi' campaign in 2020 to extend support to
dance teachers. Venkat is survived by his dancer wife Srimayi and
children Lakshmi Kameswari and Aneesh Venkat.
ENVIRONMENTAL DANCE, a Photography coffee-table book on dance by photographer Sam Kumar.
It has 126 pages featuring 18 international dancers. The photos were
shot in India, Singapore, Thailand and Bali. The aim of this project is
to create awareness of environmental preservation. Foreword is
written by Dr. Anita Ratnam.The book is available on Amazon in India and
Video preview of the book
Publisher: Buuks Publishing, Chennai
It's also now available as an e-book
. Costs Rs.299 only.
Artists have figured out ways to put their
work online: Zoom concerts, Zoom plays, Zoom stand-up sets, Zoom
choreography, Zoom book talks, Zoom gallery shows. But by and large they
haven't figured out how to make money from it. Because the one thing we
won't do for the art that we enjoy online is pay for it. This is in
part because of expectations that were established early on in the
pandemic. Musicians, especially famous ones, jumped online to do free
shows - for morale, for the novelty factor, for attention - and that set the
going price at zero. The same went for classes, webinars, and talks.
But mostly, people aren't paying for content now because they weren't
paying for it before. More content, different content, even better
content: none of that was going to change our habits.
('Stages of Grief' by William Deresiewicz, Harper's Magazine)