your gateway to the world of Indian dance

March 2020


Artists are the timekeepers of humanity
How else will we know about the civilisations that came before us?
So fret not
We will still be here, working,
When the tides shift and you're nowhere to be found
Except in the list of history's tyrants
Good luck trying to erase us

- Boston based dance artiste Mesma Belsare in response to US President Trump's attempt to disband the National Endowment of the Arts.

I write this from Melbourne, Australia where images of horrifying violence from New Delhi streets are flooding Facebook and Twitter. Again I ask myself, what is the purpose of art at times of extreme stress? Still we continue... hope seems distant but we continue...

So.... did Cupid's arrows strike last month? Did anyone feel the flutter or renew their vows? SRINGARA RASA makes the world go round they say but during these times of global anxiety, what we need is a new avatar of Cupid/Manmada. That naked cherub and the marauding Kama-terrorist is too banal for these cynical times of diverse loving. Today, love needs VALIUM and XANAX. And also an expiry date!

How many danced in the NATYANJALI circuit in Tamilnadu? How many allowed themselves to be hypnotised by Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev as he executed his "Trance Dance" on Sivaratri at his ISHA YOGA ASHRAM near Coimbatore?

And how about the gorgeous venue of the Khajuraho dance festival? How many got to show off against the beautiful backdrops?

How many of you marched and danced on the streets during Mardi Gras parades in cities around the world? Did you throw caution to the winds and abandon yourselves to the DIONYSIAN spirit?
And how many Desis will prepare to dance in duplicate copies of Rio's CARNIVAL which is dotting several Indian cities this year?

In the teeming and seething political climate of the times, I am reminded of the words of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of Shambala Buddhism. She speaks of "appreciating things as they are", rather than imagined or prophesied. Of the "joy of the ordinary" rather than the isolated act of creative genius. THIS is the time to tap into memory, stamp an object or a moment from the news cycle, look at an image that grabs attention and place it in a jigsaw puzzle before you. What are those snapshots saying? Can we create a natural movement from it? Can we actually use LIFE as our source? Without technique but with a technically trained body?
These are exciting and challenging times for any artiste.

The annual budget never includes anything about Culture. Except this time, several thousands of crores have been set aside specifically for ART & CULTURE. Thanks to Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman. Now, besides updating our museums, what will the money be used for? Definitely our historic monuments and precious archeological sites need an urgent update. Any visit to any country outside India will tell us how well smaller countries with less resources are able to create memorable experiences from their museum and ancient site visits.

Read on...

ROVING EYE: A section of impressions, images and inspirations
Curated by Anita Ratnam


The Government of Madhya Pradesh gives award in the field of dance every year. KALIDAS SAMMAN was given to Kathak dancer/guru Uma Sharma and Sattriya dancer/guru Jatin Goswami for the year 2017 and 2018 on Feb 20, 2020 on the opening evening of the Khajuraho Dance Festival.

At the Dhauli-Kalinga Festival in Bhubaneswar during Feb 10 - 12, 2020 Guru Mayadhar Raut received the RUCHI BUDDHA SAMMAN. The GANGADHAR PRADHAN SMRUTI SAMMAN 2019 went to Odissi vocalist Guru Ghanashyam Panda, dance Guru Aloka Kanungo, Dr. Devi Mishra for promoting Odissi in U.S.A along with Dr. Niranjan Tripathy and Dr. Swati Tripathy, and light designer Jaydev Das.

Thyagayya TV organised Saint Thyagaraja Aradhana and achieved not 1 but 3 entries into the Guinness Book of World Records. Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala choreographed one of the Pancharatna Kirthanas, her favorite 'Endharo Mahanubhavulu.' Her disciples Vallabhi Annamalai and Shahana Kasi led the Bharatanatyam section and over 400+ aspiring dancers and teachers learnt and participated in the event. Guru Krishna Kumar led the Kuchipudi section. Sudha Ragunathan led the Carnatic band section. It was a mammoth task organised by vidwan Janardhan.
1. The largest ever lesson in Music (700 participants)
2. The largest ever lesson in Bharatanatyam (436 participants)
3. The largest ever lesson in Kuchipudi (1183 participants)
The event took place at Ramachandra Convention Centre, Chennai.

As part of Rasikapriya's 3 days art festival in Chennai, Rasikapriya honoured The Dhananjayans with their annual award titled RASIKAPRIYA KALARATNA on 16th February 2020.

Mohiniattam dancer Sunanda Nair is to receive the GLOBAL MANNAM AWARD from the Nair Service Society of North America. It will be awarded during the global convention in New York on July 4, 2020.

Ramadorai to head Kalakshetra Foundation

Wendell Rodricks: A hard act to follow
- Madhu Nataraj
He very graciously designed costumes for me and the STEM Dance Kampni and was always up for a collaboration. Always inspiring me, sometimes overwhelmingly so with his ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Wendell dared. Wendell delivered
- Vivek Menezes
Whether it was the arts or the environment, Wendell Rodricks was never too shy to take a stand.


Sparsh presents
Workshops on
Bharatanatyam & Thalam

March 1 - 3, 2020 Kolkata

Attakkalari presents
Workshop by
Daniel Abreu

March 3 - 27, 2020 Bangalore

Chinmaya Naada Bindu presents
Course on Entrepreneurship for Musicians
by Ulhas Joshi

March 6 - April 5, 2020 Pune

Natya Institute of Kathak & Choreography
Skill Diploma in Kathak
Apply by March 15, 2020
Skill Diploma in Choreography
Apply by April 30, 2020


It's not just about the numerical age. There are physical limitations to starting dance at an advanced age. The body has to be trained in agility from a young age. Then there is the matter of aesthetics. Presenters and audiences want to see certain kinds of bodies on stage. Those public expectations and consequent commercial considerations must be met. But in the end, age limits are social constructs. Like the retirement age set at 60. A 60-year-old may yet have a lot to achieve in life. If we, as a society, ease those constructs, the issues around them will also dissolve.
- Astad Deboo
('The Astad' by Urmi Chanda-Vaz, Outlook India, Feb 19, 2020)


TAALAM: Column by Leela Venkataraman

Promising youngsters in Music Academy's endowment program
This year's Bharatanatya Manjari presented two young dancers, Yogesh Kumar followed by Shreema Upadhyaya, coincidentally both from Bangalore.

Message of peace from Dhauli-Kalinga
With untimely rains, the postponed Dhauli -Kalinga Mahotsava proceeded without weather playing tricks again. After the peace oath, with V.I.Ps holding aloft flaming torches facing the Peace Pagoda atop the hill, a joint offering of Pallavi as a tribute to Kelubabu by Orissa Dance Academy and Srjan Bhubaneswar was excellently thought out.

THE EASTERN EYE: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Music of the Spheres
Katha Angika presented on January 28 by Nandanik Movement of Arts persuaded a few seasoned classical dancers to listen to their inner calling. Nandanik is a collaborative venture between leading classical dancers and theatre practitioners...

Dance: visceral, visual, ritual
In their first "garage night", Pickle Factory - in collaboration with Kolkata Centre of Creativity and others -- presented on February 14, IT'S ALL ABOUT performed by 'CieLaroque', a frequently touring dance ensemble from Austria, under the experienced choreographic baton of Helene Weinzierl.


The Katha of Mudras
Asamyukta Hastamudras from the Natyashastra as seen in Kathak Parampara

- Sunil Sunkara
This article looks at the various 'Asamyukta hastas' mentioned in the Natyashastra, attempting also to connect with their current popular usage in Kathak. A valuable reference has been the in-depth analysis on mudras done by Dr. Vibha Dadheech, 'Bharatiya Nritya Ki Varnamala Hasta-Mudrayen.'


The Bharathanatomy Series: Balance
Part 1 - Postural Control

- Sneha Rajagopalan
Over the next few months, we will be looking closely at the concept of balance and its role in movement and dance.

Choreographing between two worlds: India and the United States:
Column by Janaki Patrik

First Steps

I didn't set out to be a choreographer. I would have been happy if someone else made dances for me. But that just didn't happen.


Yugantar: Kumudini Lakhia's journey of 60 years
90 and NOT out!
Having known Kumudini Lakhia for more than 60 years since we met in Mumbai at Cross Maidan in 1957, it has been quite an interesting journey of her career that I have been privileged to witness.

Shraddhanjali: Nupur Zankar pays tribute to Pt Vijay Shankar
When you entered the Saradar Patel Sabhagraha Auditorium of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan at Mumbai on 26th January, you saw on the stage a large photograph of the gently smiling late Kathak exponent Pt Vijay Shankar, a disciple of Pt Birju Maharaj.

Fourth edition of Navvarsh Dance Festival
Under the aegis of Saraswati Educational Cultural and Charitable Trust and Sri Ganapathi Seva Samiti Temple, Bengaluru, Navvarsh Mahotsav was organized featuring Mohiniattam, Odissi and Sattriya dances on 18th January and Bharatanatyam, Kathakali and Kuchipudi on 19th January.

36th Kinkini Nrithyotsava
This year, Rangashree curated the festival presenting duets in different styles. The five day festival from 25th till 29th January included Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathak, Kathakali and Mohiniattam in the first half and Bharatanatyam duets in the second half.

DANCE MATTERS: Column by Ashish Mohan Khokar

E for....
How can Indian dance be made engrossing? Or entertaining? Is it not so, currently? Name 10 performances or productions in a year, that were worthy by way of a repeat show, abundant audience or outstanding reviews that matched the work.


March 2 - 23, Mumbai, Bhanpura
Schedule for Jhelum Paranjape and Smitalay in March 2020:
- 2nd March: BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA at Royal Opera House, Mumbai, 7pm.
- 15th March: ASTHALAKSHMI 2020 to include performance of 8 types of Indian classical dances with theme Adishakti/Goddess for NRITYAVAANI at Cidco Auditorium, Vashi, Navi Mumbai, 4pm.
- 23rd March: Traditional Odissi and Bollywood Hungama at Saklecha High School, Bhanpura, M.P, 6pm.

March 6, Aurangabad
Greensboro Dance Film Festival is a boutique dance film festival that seeks to connect diverse communities through the innovative genre of dance on screen. The festival, situated in historic Greensboro, North Carolina, USA uses the background of both city and country to highlight dance films from around the world and support artists through interdisciplinary collaboration and creative exchange. The 6th edition of the festival is traveling to India and some of the selected films will be screened at Mahagami Gurukul from 11am to 5pm. The Festival Director of Greensboro, Prof. Robin Gee, Dr Arshiya Sethi from Delhi, and Dr Parul Shah from Baroda, will grace the ocassion.

March 6 - 8, Chennai
Dakshin Chitra presents UTSAVAM, a festival of dance & music. On March 6, CULTURE AS INNOVATION features Dr.Anita Ratnam, Avinash Kumar and Gita Wolf.
At: Kalakshetra Foundation, Thiruvanmiyur, 11am to 12pm.

March 6 - 22, Bangalore
Schedule for Madhu Nataraj and Natya Stem Dance Kampni.
- 6th March: Madhu Nataraj delivers the keynote address at Microland's Women's Day Meet.
- 8th March: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, Orion Mall, Bangalore - The women dancers of the Kampni present women centric works titled 'Shakti' & 'Kinetographie' as part of the Women's Day celebrations in association with author & feminist Sreemoyi Piu Kundu.
A women's month dedication, this Konversation features performer par excellence, arts entrepreneur - Dr. Anita Ratnam & prominent designer - Anu Nagappa.
Natya STEM Studio, #37, Bhoomika, 17th Cross, Malleshwaram
- 22nd March: The Natya Apparel Sale - This fun filled morning garage sale of sorts features pre loved clothing, costumes & accessories from the Natya STEM costume box, Dr. Anita Ratnam, Vimala Rangachar, Madhu Nataraj & other famous artistes' closets. All proceeds from this eco-friendly/sustainable fashion initiative go to Natya's scholarship fund for needy, merit based students.

March 7, Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
Aditi Mangaldas and Drishtikon ensemble present UNCHARTED SEAS at Namaste Orchha Festival, in Orchha, 6.30pm

March, 7, Brampton, ON, Canada
Sampradaya Dance Creations presents TRINITY by The Madras Players in Canada. It is a tribute to 'the three jewels of Carnatic music' based on three short stories, each depicting an event or a moment in the lives of Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shastri. TRINITY will be touring the US and Sampradaya Dance Creations will be presenting the only Canadian show.
Venue: Lester B Pearson Memorial Theatre, Brampton, 7pm

March 8 - 29, Delhi, Denmark, Colorado
Schedule for Radha-Raja Reddy and Natya Tarangini.
- March 8: Prakriti Prashant, NT disciple performs at Muzaffar Ali's Jahan e Khusrau, Arab ki Sarai, Humayun Tomb Monuments, Delhi. LET LOVE REIGN organised by Rumi Foundation in association with D S Puri Foundation.
- March 18 - 22: Yamini & Bhavana Reddy in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg in Denmark
- March 23: Dr. Raja Reddy on panel discussion on 'Alternative Spaces for Arts and Public Sensibilities' in IIC as part of Shanta Serbjeet Singh Discussion Series from 6:30-8pm
- March 29: Colorado Fine Arts Association Festival, Bhavana Reddy

March 19 & 22, Paris & Madrid
Srinidhi Raghavan, daughter/disciple of Guru Usha Raghavan, presents Bharatanatyam.
- March 19: in Passeport pour l'Inde (Passport to India Festival)
At: Centre Mandapa, Paris, 8.30pm
- March 22: at Espacio Ronda, C/Ronda De Segovia, 50 Madrid, 12:30pm

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