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June 2022


We believe in championing all beauty,
Living with courage,
And standing fearlessly together
To celebrate our differences

Even if we stumble
We will never stop
Building a community where
Diversity if expected
Self expression is honoured
And YOU are included

- Hoardings inside SEPHORA make up stores in NYC to mark PRIDE MONTH

Anita Ratnam

Are we already at the half way mark of the year?

We are just getting the hang of readjusting to a post-Covid world. The murmurs of yet another wave looming is not a dampener for the majority who are travelling and vacationing with a vengeance.

In New York City, where I visited for a brief 7 days, masks were off but theatres were still asking for Vaccination proof as well as masking up indoors. The streets, bars, stores, cinema halls, Broadway theatres, ballet and opera houses and auditoriums were completely packed with tourists and many Americans who were travelling to the Big Apple after two years. It was lovely to feel the electric vibe of this city pumping again.

June is PRIDE MONTH and yet another opportunity for each of us in the creative industries to stop and take a look at our own lives and to examine how inclusive we have been over the past two years. I think of all those non binary artistes - some of whom are lucky to have found their soul mates and others who are still struggling for visibility and connections. As an ally, all I can say is "I see you. I hear you."

As if on cue, the Pakistani Trans drama JOYLAND won the QUEER PALM awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Directed by Salim Sadiq, the film tells the story of a son of a patriarchal family who is expected to marry and produce a child. Instead, he joins an erotic dance theatre company and falls for the troupe's director, a trans woman.
Read on...


PADMINI CHARI celebrates 40 years of her dance academy in Texas.

Bharatanatyam dancer PAVITHRA SRINIVASAN is shooting for a multi part series titled BHAGAVAD GITA Chapter 1. Filming was completed in the blazing 44 degree heat in Bhopal.
ABHAI, Chennai, resumed its wildly popular summer intensives with Summer Abhivriddhishala by Dr.Padma Subrahmanyam

Sketches of SHARON LOWEN by artist V.S. Gaitonde were sold - one at The Art of India Auction on 18-19 May 2022 for $37,737 / 28,68,000 and another sketch by Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art and Collectibles on 13-14 October 2021 for $29,189 / Rs. 21,60,000.

The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University (CBA), an international research institute for scholars and artists of ballet and its related arts and sciences, announced the four fellows for the 2022-2023 academic year which includes dance scholar ANURIMA BANERJI. She is Associate Professor and current Graduate Vice Chair in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at University of California Los Angeles.

Donovan Roebert's book 'WESTERN TEXTS ON INDIAN DANCE - AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE FROM 1298-1930' will be released in June 2022. The work contains more than 250 large extracts from a variety of writers and commentators on dance throughout India for the period indicated. It also has a postscript with relevant texts from 1930 to 1947, when the temple and public dancers were outlawed. Many of the texts presented have been translated from the original German, Dutch, and French sources, and that, too, makes available writings that would usually be inaccessible to readers not familiar with these languages.

A street in New York City has been renamed in honor of Jacques d'Amboise, legendary ballet dancer and founder of the arts education organization National Dance Institute (NDI). The dedication ceremony took place next to the New York City Ballet, where Mr. d'Amboise called home for 35 years. He passed away last year at 86. The northwest corner of West 64th Street and Columbus Avenue, in front of New York's Lincoln Center, now displays the name JACQUES D'AMBOISE PLACE.

The Brooklyn High School of the Arts Spring 2022 Music Festival on May 25th featured culminations from (Preeti Vasudevan) THRESH's 2022 educational outreach workshop series.

THE JUNGLE BOOK reframes Rudyard Kipling's classic tale as a refugee story, with a score that blends Western and Indian classical traditions. Preeti Vasudevan has been invited to be assistant director and choreographer for The Jungle Book this coming summer at The Glimmerglass Opera Festival which opens on Aug 4, 2022.


The Music Academy Madras has announced its NRITYA KALANIDHI awardees for three years.
2021 - Rama Vaidyanathan
2022 - Narthaki Nataraj
2023 - Bragha Bessell

NATYA RATNA PURASKARAM instituted by Vivekananda Cultural Institute was awarded to Margi Vijayakumar on 15 May 2022 at Thiruvananthapuram.

The KALASAGAR AWARDS for excellence in traditional performing arts was presented on May 28, 2022 on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Kalamandalam Krishnankutty Poduval, legendary Kathakali maestro and the founder of Kalasagar.
KATHAKALI: Kalamandalam Soman (vesham/actor), Sadanam Sivadas (music), Kalabharathi Unnikrishnan (chenda/percussion), Kalanilayam Prakasan (maddalam/percussion), Purushothaman Chingoli (chutty, make-up)
Arun R Kumar (Ottenthullal), Sreeraj Killikkurussimangalam (Chakyarkoothu), Kalamandalam Sindhu (Koodiyattam), Anupama Menon (Mohiniattam), Sowmya Balagopal (Bharatanatyam), Sheeba Sounder Raj (Kuchipudi), Mattanur Sreeraj (Thayambaka)
PANCHAVADYAM: Kongad Mohanan (thimila), Chalakudy Raman Nambeesan (maddalam), Nayarambalam Nandakumar Marar (edakka), Kattukulam Balakrishnan (ilathalam), Keralassery Kuttan (kombu).

The following annual awards will be given by ABHAI on June 12, 2022 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai.
For 2021: NATYA KALANIDHI - Chitra Visweswaran, NRITYA PERUNJOTHI - Geeta Chandran, GANDHARVA NIPUNA - Saraswati Sankaranarayanan, NARTAKA NIPUNA - V Balagurunathan, Special achievement award NATYA SAADHANAI CHEMMAL - Madurai R Muralidharan
For 2022: NATYA KALANIDHI - Lakshmi Vishwanathan, NRITYA PERUNJOTHI - Uma Anand / Rangashree Srinivas, GANDHARVA NIPUNA - K Hariprasad, NARTAKA NIPUNA - Chinnamannur J Krishnakumar / Aniruddha Knight, Special award in folk arts NAATAAR KALAI KON - Purisai K Sambandham

Apsaras, Angkor Wat, Cambodia ; Photo: Usha RK
Apsaras, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Photo: Usha RK



Bolly Natyam; Solo Satyam
Only a culturally rich and quaint university town in a royal setting like Baroda could have a Bolly Natyam school or class.

Dance Matters or does it?
When my column title became the title of a seminar content in World Dance Day event and 7 star dancers/teachers/festival organisers/gurus decided to address the issue, the hall filled with many more dancers, gurus and enthusiasts clapped for each speaker.


Reclaiming historic contribution of Kathak paviour
- Leela Venkataraman

Attendance 2021-22: From here to eternity through dance
- Dr. S D Desai


R SRINIVASAN, the music and dance critic for the Indian Express, mainly covering the Sabha programs for many years, passed away on April 29, 2022 in Chennai. He was fondly referred to as RS. He served in the TTD Zonal Advisory Committee on arts and culture in Chennai, where he helped to arrange dance and music programs at the TTD centre regularly.


Bangalore based Bharatanatyam Guru B.K. SHYAM PRAKASH (Retd. scientist ISRO, Founder/Principal Keshava College of Music and Dance, and director of Keshava Nrithyashala) passed away on May 6, 2022. Coming from an illustrious family of dance gurus, he took the tradition to new heights. He performed in main roles in many of the dance dramas of Keshava Nrithyashala, and accompanied on mridangam for many music and dance concerts. He did the dance choreography for most of the dance dramas produced by Keshava Nrithyashala. His forte was using Kannada literary works in his dance drama productions, which is what not many people have attempted. He was Honorary Secretary of Karnataka Nrithyakala Parishath for more than 10 years. He has been awarded Karnataka Kalashri and Singarmani from Sur Singar Samsad, Bombay.


Bharatanatyam Guru B HERAMBANATHAN passed away of a heart attack on May 10, 2022 at his home in Thanjavur. He was 80. Herambanathan was the senior most choreographer and dance teacher of the Thanjavur nattuvanga tradition. He was the son of T.G. Bhavu Pillai (a Bharatanatyam teacher, mridangist and Bhaghavata Mela drama teacher who was a much sought after accompanist to dancers of the past) and Jeeva Amma (a dancer). He was the son-in-law of devadasi Doraikannu and hailed from a lineage of devadasis belonging to the Thanjavur region.

He trained under his father, T.M. Arunachalam Pillai and K.P. Kittappa Pillai in Bharatanatyam, under N. Rajam Iyer in mridangam, under Balu Bhagavathar and P.K. Subbaiyer in Bhagavata Mela. He began his career as a Bharatanatyam choreographer from 1967. He accompanied as mridangist for the arangetrams of his father's students. The arangetram of his first student S. Rohini was held under the presidentship of K.P. Kittappa Pillai on Feb 8, 1970 in Thanjavur. He served as a teacher for the Melattur and Saliyamangalam Bhagavata Mela dance programs.

From 1973 onwards, Herambanathan had the honour of being co-choreographer along with K.P. Kittappa Pillai and his father. After the passing away of his father, he choreographed many dance dramas for more than 3 decades. From 1986, he undertook overseas tours, training many students in Bharatanatyam, dance dramas and presenting their arangetrams. His magnum opus is the dance drama choreographed on the significance of 'Kasika Ekadesi' of the Kaisika Puranam sacred in the Vaishnava tradition.

In 1989, he established Thanjavur Bavu Pillai School of Bharatanatyam in Thanjavur in memory of his father. His noted choreographies include Subhadra Kalyanam, Sivan Malai Kuravanji, Sarabendra Bhoopala Kuravanji, Sakuntalam, Kamsa Vadham. Creative styles in dance drama include Andal, Paravaiyar Udal, Kandhan Kaviyam, Karaikkal Ammaiyar, Valli Kalyanam. Modern theater tradition includes Pennin Dhagam, Veriyaattam, Nandhan Kadhai, Kongai Thee. Apart from directing dance dramas, conducting lec-dems and organizing special programs, Herambanathan has also written articles on Bharatam and Bhagavathamelam, Rasa Pandaram, Adal Adavus in Folk Arts, Dance tradition of Thanjavur, Dance and music in temple worship. He was the recipient of the Kalaimamani (Tamilnadu) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (Delhi).

Guru Herambanathan was one of the 2 pillars, along with Professor Ramanujam, who aided Dr.Anita Ratnam in the revival of the 15th century all night theatre performance of KAISIKA NATAKAM. He and his troupe have been presenting it for the past 23 years after its revival at the Thirukurungudi Azhagiya Nambi temple to much appreciation. The Narthaki family and Kaisiki family will miss Guru Herambanathan deeply.

Tribute to the Thanjavur bani torchbearer
- Dr.Padma Subrahmanyam
Guru Herambanathan, did not just teach Bharatanatyam, he passed on a tradition.


Santoor maestro PANDIT SHIVKUMAR SHARMA passed away on May 10, 2022 in Mumbai. He was 84. He was born in Jammu in 1938 and is believed to be the first musician to have played Indian classical music on the santoor. Sharma gave santoor, once a little known instrument from Jammu and Kashmir, a classical status and elevated it to the level of other more traditional and famous instruments like sitar and sarod. He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986, the Padma Shri in 1991 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001. Composer of both classical and popular music, he was one half of musician duo Shiv-Hari and composed music with flute maestro Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia for films like Silsila, Lamhe, Chandni and Darr.


The Thinking Body
Presented by Films Division of India

Bhoomika at 50
Celebrating five decades of founding of Bhoomika Creative Dance Centre by Narendra Sharma.

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