Monthly Newsletter
November 2020


Success is not final
Failure is not fatal
That counts

- Winston Churchill

What are we watching? What are we reading? What are we learning? What are we having fun with? What are we struggling with? What are we unlearning? What are we thinking about? What is making us smile-laugh-weep-gasp?

With the IPL on right now, I wonder who is actually watching anything but cricket! And yes... there are so many dancers who are cricket crazy!

Read on...


The month of October saw the highly appreciated and acclaimed DEVI DIARIES, a special initiative of, across Narthaki's social media platforms, with artistes sharing their thoughts/experiences of Navaratri enhanced by video presentations in celebration of a Goddess or a heroic female figure. Enjoy DEVI DIARIES in the links below.

Devi Diaries 1

Devi Diaries 2

TAALAM TALKIES's initiative TAALAM TALKIES on its new YouTube channel, featured dance clips from south Indian cinema featuring the charismatic Kumari Kamala - dances that have inspired and influenced modern Bharatanatyam - interspersed with snippets of interesting information across 3 episodes. Hosted, scripted and presented by Ramaa Bharadvaj, FRAGRANT PETALS - KAMALA'S NATYAM is a feast not to be missed!

Oct 17

Oct 18

Oct 19


Bharatanatyam Guru VS RAMAMOORTHY (Sept 20, 1920 - Oct 2, 2020) passed away at the ripe old age of 101 in Hyderabad. He received his training in Bharatanatyam from Natyacharya Dandayuthapani Pillai. His first dance school 'Sri Devi Nritya Niketan' was started in Madras in 1966. After moving to Hyderabad, Guru Ramamoorthy established 'Sri Rama Nataka Niketan' in 1970 and rendered yeoman service to the exacting training and propagation of Bharatanatyam in the twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad. His 75 years of dedicated service to Bharatanatyam as a devoted artiste and teacher was seminal, continuous, and impeccable. He is survived by his wife and daughter Manjula Ramaswamy who continues to take forward the tradition by teaching.

Guru VS Ramamoorthy (1920 - 2020)
- Ananda Shankar Jayant

A brillant Kuchipudi dancer and choreographer, SOBHA NAIDU (1956 - 14 October 2020) passed away at the age of 64 at Hyderabad after a brief illness. Born in Anakapalli town in Andhra Pradesh, Sobha Naidu became a prominent disciple of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam. With his troupe, she gave several performances in India and abroad as a lead artiste. She especially excelled in the roles of Satyabhama and Padmavati. She choreographed over 80 solo numbers and several dance dramas. Sobha served as the principal of Srinivasa Kuchipudi Art Academy in Hyderabad that was started in 1980.
More info

Shradanjali to Sobha Naidu

MELATTUR S NATARAJAN, President and Chairman of the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Jayanti Bhagavata Mela Natya Nataka Sangam, Melattur, Tamilnadu, breathed his last on October 15, 2020. He was the driving force in keeping the Bhagavata Mela tradition alive for more than six decades by dedicating his life to it, hosting the annual ten day festival every May in Melattur. This year would have been the 80th edition of the festival.
Born on Nov 30, 1943 in Melattur, in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, Natarajan was the grandson of the pioneer of the Bhagavata Mela theatre, V. Ganesa Iyer, who was responsible for its resurrection in the 1930s. He trained in this theatre form under his illustrious father G. Swaminathan, as well as other eminent teachers including Balu Bhagavatar, K. Ramani Iyer, and G. Krishnamurthy Sarma. He received training in nritta under the Bharatanatyam gurus Kittappa Pillai and Pandanallur Shanmugasundaram Pillai.
More info

Bhagavata Mela loses its star
- Nandini Ramani
Melattur S. Natarajan enriched the art form with his artistry and refinements

Critic/scholar Leela Venkataraman is beareaved. She lost her husband of 67 years, Dr. B Venkataraman, on Oct 20, 2020. He was 95. Well versed in Archaeology and Epigraphy, with his father Prof. Balasubrahmanyam, Venkataraman co-authored four volumes on Chola Temples. As an IAS officer, he refurbished the Museum and Manuscripts Library at Bhubaneswar, apart from renovating and conserving, among others, the earliest known structural temples in Orissa viz., Lakhmanesvar, Satrughnesvar and Bharatesvar. A Doctor of Literature (D. Litt), he held important government assignments such as Chief Secretary in the State of Orissa, and Secretary (Tourism & Civil Aviation) to the Government of India.

Acclaimed vocalist for Kathak and Odissi for more than four decades, DEBASHIS SARKAR passed away on October 23, 2020. He was born and raised in a musical family. In his early years he trained in classical and semi-classical music with a number of renowned artistes including Sukhendu Goswami, Ustad Sagiruddin Khan and Sukumar Mitra. He received his foundational training in Hindustani classical vocal music with Ustad Ghulam Mohammad Khan. For more than four decades, Debashis was a highly sought after artiste amongst India's classical dancers. He has accompanied some of India's finest performers including Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Pt Birju Maharaj, Pt Chitresh Das, Pt Vijay Shankar, and Pt Rammohan Mishra.
More info


Fulbright Foundation has awarded Kathak dancer/teacher JANAKI PATRIK the 2020 SELMA JEANNE COHEN DANCE LECTURE AWARD. The subject Janaki proposed was 'Improvisation in Kathak.'

PUSHKALA GOPAL gets the MBE (Member of the British Empire), Arts & Culture, UK, for services to South Asian Dance, announced in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2020.

Centre for Indian Classical Dances presented JIVAN RATNA SAMMAN to YAMINI KRISHNAMURTHY and SAROJA VAIDYANATHAN on October 10, 2020 during its Kala Yatra festival.

Writer and Kerala arts scholar KK GOPALAKRISHNAN receives the TAGORE NATIONAL RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIP of the Union Ministry of Culture.

KAPILA VENU has been selected for the Dr. V.S SARMA ENDOWMENT given by Kerala Kalamandalam for 2020.

ANITHA GUHA's BHARATHANJALI marks its 30th anniversary in Nov 2020. The Trust is doing its part in helping out needy artistes during the pandemic.

Filmmaker SUMANTRA GHOSAL's documentary film THE SPEAKING HAND on tabla maestro ZAKIR HUSSAIN charts his growth from the by-lanes of Bombay to his fame as a world-class musician. The film features outstanding live concerts and insightful interviews with legends of classical music.

As part of a trilogy, dancer SAVITHA SASTRY and her husband AK Srikanth, recently released 'COLOURS: GREEN', a short film that aims to shed light on how women's dreams are often suppressed by society. Each film is named after the colours of the National Flag.

JIVA PERFORMING ARTS presents its first Dance on Camera Festival, STILL POINT EXPANDING: A SIX-PART ELABORATION, on November 18, 2020. The artistic lineup includes Shruti Mohan, Jin Won, Parul Shah, Mesma Belsaré, Sreelakshmy Govardhanan and Sonali Skandan. The festival is co-directed by Maya Kulkarni.

Musician VEDANTH BHARADWAJ has teamed up with GURUPRIYA to start a yearlong series called LEARN A LULLABY. Each week the duo will teach a song from various Indian languages to a group of registered students. Donations are a personal option.

'Shringara in Classical Indian Dance' edited  by Sharon Lowen is a collection of 8 articles by eminent artistes like Kamalini Dutt, Anupama Kylash, Anwesa Mahanta, Bharati Shivaji, Shovana Narayan, etc. The publication available on Amazon makes an interesting read for teachers, students and performers of Indian dance traditions.

November 16 marks the global dance conference FROM INDENTURE TO STAGE, marking the 160th anniversary of the arrival of the ship THE TRURO from Madras port to Durban, carrying 365 indentured labourers. The digital event will focus on the struggles and triumphs of the Indian diaspora through dance and its connections with other immigrant voyages in island nations.

SCIENCE's annual DANCE YOUR PH.D competition challenges scientists (physics, biology, chemistry, and social science) to explain their research with fancy footwork minus PowerPoint slides or jargon. Now sponsored by the artificial intelligence company Primer, the contest is entering its 13th year. This year, category winners can take home $750 and the top dance will earn an extra $2000, with a bonus $500 category on Covid-19. The deadline for submissions is 29 January 2021.

Carnatic musician sisters RANDINI and ROSHNI have used this lockdown time to re-create the magic of Telugu Javalis by collaborating with dancers. Their aim is to video and upload 50 Javalis in the next few months. The entire set will be seen on the NARTHAKI YOUTUBE channel very shortly.

AIM FOR SEVA presents BHAVAYE PARAMATMANAM featuring virtual concerts of dance by Alarmel Valli, Sharmila Biswas, Debashree Bhattacharya, and eminent musicians Bombay Jayashri, Shankar Mahadevan, Pantula Rama and Jayateerth Mevundi on Nov 7 to celebrate Swami Dayanand Saraswati's 90th Jayanthi.

Mohiniattam performer and research scholar RLV RAMAKRISHNAN attempted suicide on Oct 3, 2020 citing caste discrimination.


KalaYatra 2020 / Ramayana
Presented by Centre for Indian Classical Dances

KalaYatra 2020 / Mahabharata
Presented by Centre for Indian Classical Dances

Nitya Nritya 2020- 3rd October

Nitya Nritya 2020 - 4th October

Nitya Nritya 2020- 10th October

Nitya Nitya 2020- 11th October

Aham Rudrebhirvasubhischara
By Subhangik

This dance clip of Astad Deboo titled VRIKSHA was projected on the walls of Field Institute, Toronto, on 28th October 2020.


A towering post-Independence presence in Indian art history and aesthetics is no more
Indian scholars and art lovers exploring Indian art and aesthetics may not, for years have the benefit of a towering personality in their midst to equal Kapila Vatsyayan.


Naach, Nachman; watch, watchman!
When a new book, a real book - as in printed on paper version - nicely put together - on dance, yes - that most marginalized of art forms - hits the stands, is it time for celebration? Yes, especially if it is well researched, well written and reasonably well published and affordable.


12th edition of Erasing Borders Dance Festival 2020
From September 20 to 27, 2020, Indo-American Arts Council, New York, presented the 12th edition of Erasing Borders Dance Festival. Moving to a virtual format has its own artistic challenges.


Outdancing our exceptional times
Our exalted Gurus have given our dancers well-founded roots. Now let our dancers have wings to soar high in the wide open sky and fly into new shores and destinations!

Fine filigree of vintage Manipuri
LEISEM, organized on October 6 by 'Sparsh Studio of Performing Arts' was remarkable for three reasons. Conducted under the baton of Suman Sarawgi, the result was entirely satisfactory.

Jewel from Manipur treasure trove
IMA (meaning 'Mother' in Manipuri) presented online on October 16 by Bimbavati is a startlingly new choreographic work of hers, with innovations seen in multiple dimensions.

Write to us at
Subscribe / Unsubscribe
to the Narthaki monthly newsletter