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NARTHAKI MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
May 2020

ANITA SAYS.....

We will not go back to normal
Normal never was.
Our Pre Corona existence was not normal
Other than we normalised greed, inequity, exhaustion
Depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion,
Rage, hoarding, hate and lack.
We should not long to return my friends.
We are being given the opportunity
To stitch a new garment.
One that fits all of humanity
And nature.

- Dr. BRENE BROWN
School of Social Work, University of Houston, Texas

What do I say that has not already been said, seen and performed during these part 30 days?
I am so fed up with my phone and my iPad. I am sick and tired of desperate dancers performing in their non photogenic homes just so "they are not forgotten." I have seen so much bad dancing, especially Bharatanatyam, that it has turned me off this wonderful form for a while.

Dance is about human interaction. It's about the sweat and the panting and the effort and the exhaustion. It is about the exhilaration and excitement of having completed a phrase, an item, a performance, a rehearsal well. It is about the RASA of human eyes watching another human body in the same physical space and not through the cold, glassy eye of the camera. It's also about embracing and being applauded by actual audiences and not by "likes" and "heart" emojis.

I have enjoyed the riches of the world's greatest museums and cultural spaces. Operas, ballets, online tours, ancient history talks, cooking lessons, language lessons - my days have been filled with so much that I did not feel one day blurring into the next.

I have given myself permission not to create, rehearse or even ideate anything connected to dance during this past month. Instead, I started plant based cooking to support my daughter's vegan lifestyle, helped her raise money to care for abandoned house pets, started a terrace garden and supported the feeding of stranded migrant workers. I also reached out to folk and village artistes with whom I have been working for the past 25 years and seen to their daily needs. All this has not been glamorous, or visible and certainly not selfie worthy.

It may not have enriched my dance practice but it enhanced my inner self.
I have felt more connected, more peaceful and more in sync than ever before.
Not to mention dropping those 5 to 7 pounds that was stubbornly sticking to my waist and hips!

BUT... BUT... BUT... this pandemic has revealed extraordinary generosity and blatant opportunism. The lockdown has energised some and debilitated many. The arts have been called upon to step up and show the frightened and quarantined world a ray of hope. The nimble and prepared have stepped into the digital world without missing a step. From #ZOOMA NATYAM and #DIGITAL SABHAS to #INSTA LIVE and #YOUTUBE showcases, we have seen the vulnerability of near perfect dancers struggle with technology, reveal their vulnerability and often, warm our hearts.


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



SOCH: Column by Dr.Arshiya Sethi

Dance 'Caro-Na': Can we dance in the times of Corona?
I saw a series of videos about what happened on 22nd March at 5pm across several towns of India, and was not happy to see that after a day of Janata Curfew, things went out of hand.


Does Corona compel us to think about a revival package for the arts?
From dancers around the world, I am hearing a murmur. A murmur of anxiety. This murmur of anxiety is emanating from my friends, mostly from the world of the arts, artistes of all domains and hues, especially dancers, who are so special since they are the makers of the most intangible and chimerical art.


With "a lover's smile": Strengthening resolve in the times of Corona
Watching news reports and social media entries pertaining to the clouds cast by the Corona virus, I encountered, somewhat unexpectedly, a dance story on the popular news site, Lallantop.

THE EASTERN EYE: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Both acerbic and cathartic
In the two plays under review, while Brecht cocks a snook at the warped society of his time and launches a virulent "Theatre of Protest" on his own, Pirandello delves into a shimmering, psychedelic world…

DANCE MATTERS: Column by Ashish Mohan Khokar

I for...
Indian dance in times of Covid-19

I for innovate. The post-Corona lockdown made many dancers think anew and some came up with innovative ideas to keep busy meaningfully and reach out. Karona became 'karo-na!' (Please do)!

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


North Indian Kathak and American Tap: KA-TAP
By the time I hit my 20th anniversary as a Kathak dancer, I had thought about the similarity of Kathak tatkar and Tap dance steps for almost as many years. The opportunity to create a Kathak-Tap duet presented itself at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, where I was an artist-in-residence from Jan- March 1990.

FOOTLOOSE AND FANCY FREE with Dr. Sunil Kothari

90th year celebrations of legendary Vidooshaka P.K.G Nambiar
On 1st March, at Ottapalam, P.K.G. Nambiar, the celebrated Koodiyattam artiste renowned for his role of Vidooshaka, was felicitated on his 90th birthday. Son of the legendary Koodiyattam maestro Mani Madhava Chakyar, he has played an important role in bringing Koodiyattam beyond borders of Kerala.


LOOK OUT FOR

Karanas in Contemporary Expression
- Dominique Delorme

Noopura - Short Film
'Noopura' is a short romantic fiction based on the biggest cultural festival of Asia - The School Arts Festival of Kerala. Dancing duo V. P. Dhananjayan & Shantha Dhananjayan are featured in supporting roles. Written & Directed by Appu.

Pt Ravi Shankar Tarana in Kathak by Nirupama & Rajendra

Pt Ravi Shankar's Tarana in Bharatanatyam by Rama Vaidyanathan

Company of Elders Workshop: Bharatanatyam
In this 30 minute workshop designed for over 60s, dancer and choreographer Seeta Patel guides you through the basic elements of Bharatanatyam.



OBITS/TRIBUTES

Kolkata theater legend Usha Ganguli passed away of cardio respiratory failure on the morning of April 23, 2020 in Kolkata after a prolonged illness. She was 75. She was an actor, a fine director and the moving force behind Rangakarmee Kolkata that she founded in 1976, known for non-conformist productions like Mahabhoj, Rudali, Court Martial and Antaryatra. Ganguli is credited for introducing a new form of alternative Hindi theatre in Bengal, thereby creating a new audience too. She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Direction in 1998. She was honoured by the West Bengal Government as the best actress for the play Gudia Ghar. The state government conferred her with the Girish Samman honour in 2016.


Beppe Chierichetti, Kathakali actor from TTB (Teatro Tascabile di Bergamo) in Bergamo, Italy, passed away on April 7, 2020 aged 71.

Farewell Beppe Chierichetti
- Ashish Mohan Khokar
In his passing on 7th April 2020 aged 71 in Bergamo, Italy, India has lost its finest artiste and ambassador of culture.



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