Monthly Newsletter
October 2020


Sometimes I open the window
And the dusk rain touches my face,
A lightness on the edges of knowing
That when this frozen summer fails, children locked
Without knowledge of tomorrow's light
Will leap as the sun breaks, molten though their corridors
Night fleeing rapidly from their eyes -
While mothers and fathers hurtling with the hurricane
Will struggle
To stand still, struggle to let go the darkness...

by Anu Majumdar, Auroville

I begin with the piercing beauty of words from my friend and take the liberty of slicing her luminous poem into two parts - to envelop this mostly "non joyous" missive with her ray of hope. Like gentle arms that holds a troubled soul close.
Read on...



The arts world is poorer at the passing of multi-faceted scholar Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan at the age of 91 in New Delhi (Dec 25, 1928 - Sept 16, 2020). She was a leading scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture, and art history. She was trained in Kathak by Pt Acchan Maharaj, in Manipuri by Guru Amobi Singh, in Bharatanatyam by Guru Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and in Odissi by Guru Surendranath Jena.
She was formerly a member of parliament and also served as Secretary to the Govt of India in the Ministry of Education, where she was responsible for the establishment of a large number of national institutions of higher education. She served as the founding director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. She was former President of India International Centre (IIC) and an IIC Life Trustee and the Chairperson of the IIC International Research Division.
Some heartfelt tributes to Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan

Bharatanatyam Guru Rajee Narayan (Aug 19, 1931 - Sept 25, 2020) passed away aged 90.
She was a rare combination of guru, musician, composer and choreographer, with the unique distinction of teaching not only Bharatanatyam, but also Carnatic Music, Natyasastra and Nattuvangam. She established Nritya Geethanjali in Mumbai in 1965. Many of her students run their own institutions all over the world. Rajee Narayan has served as board member of the University of Mumbai for over two decades and as the external examiner for the Bachelors and Masters degrees in the Fine Arts courses (BFA and MFA) and examiner of thesis for Ph.D.

Tribute to Natyacharya Rajee Narayan
- The Dhananjayans

Maharaja Serfoji II's 243rd birthday was celebrated online with participation of many dance personalities on Sept 24, 2020. Here are a few performances

Tribute to King Serfoji II by Hema Rajagopalan

Tribute to King Serfoji II by Janani, student of Parshwanath Upadhye School of Dance

Tribute to King Serfoji II by Lalan Desai

Tribute to King Serfoji II by Vaishnavi Dhore

Check out more wonderful dance tributes on the facebook page of Maharajah Serfoji 2 memorial hall museum, sadar mahal palace Thanjavur
Some brilliant performances at GERAK ANGIN virtual festival

DiDance Kipas Gemalai

Seni Reog by PUSAKA

HANDS Percussion Ju4Ji2

Check out more performances at Facebook: Gerak Angin


Through the festive month of Oct, dancers share their personal anecdotes on their favorite DEVIS and real life SHE-ROS through words and performance in DEVI DIARIES on Narthaki's FB and Insta pages.

The GURU KELUCHARAN MOHAPATRA AWARD 2020 by Srjan, Bhubaneswar, was presented to veteran cinematographer Raj Gopal Mishra for his lifetime achievements to Odia cinema. The GURU KELUCHARAN MOHAPATRA YUVA PRATIBHA SAMMAN was presented to Pravat Kumar Swain for Odissi dance and to Himansu Sekhar Swain for Odissi music, on Sept 9, 2020.

The eleventh KALASAGAR AWARDS for exemplary contribution in the field of traditional performing arts for 2020 will be presented on October 14 at Kerala.
Kathakali: Vesham - Kalamandalam Chambakara Vijayakumar, Music - Kalanilayam Rajeevan, Chenda - Kalamandalam Balasundaran, Maddalam - Sadanam Devadas and Chutty- Kalanilayam Padmanabhan.
Bharatanatyam - Kalamandalam Sarojini, Mohiniattam - Vinitha Nedungadi, Ottenthullal - Kalamandalam Parameswaran, Chakyarkoothu - Kalamandalam Jishnu Prathap, Koodiyattam - Margi Ramachakyar, Thayambaka - Porur Haridas
Panchavadyam: Thimila - Vaikkom Chandran Marar, Maddalam - Kalamandalam Nataraja Warrior, Edakka - Dr.Balusseri Krishnadas, Thalam - Mattanur Ajith Marar and Kombu - Peramangalam Vijayan.

In order to help artists during pandemic, the MINISTRY OF CULTURE released a grant of Rs 5462.69 lakhs to the artist community under various central sector schemes.

SRI SRI UNIVERSITY announces the launch of Sri Sri Centre for Advanced Research in Kathak under the directorship of Dr.Puru Dadhich.

NESIN 2020 Awards Certificate of Excellence goes to DR. MITUL SENGUPTA (Rhythmosaic, Kolkata) for BEST RESEARCH AWARD in recognition of her recently published academic article in tandfonline on dance movement therapy and autism.

MAV (Multicultural Arts Victoria) welcomes DR. PRIYA SRINIVASAN to the role of Lead, Strategic Projects, to help shape cultural equity with the sector, increase critical thinking about the value and labour of diverse artists.

UMA SATHYANARAYANAN to receive KERALA SANGEETA NATAKA ACADEMY award (State award) in the field of Bharatanatyam for 2019.

BARYSHNIKOV ARTS CENTER has announced a new commissioning program to encourage choreographers and other artists to continue creating during the pandemic. The inaugural group of commission recipients includes Odissi dancer BIJAYINI SATPATHY whose work will be shared online.

SRI SRI UNIVERSITY presented a week long world dance webinar on Globalisation of Indian Dance, Transcending Borders, featuring many eminent names like Uttara Asha Coorlawala, Dr.Padma Subrahmanyam, Jai Govinda, Jonathan Hollander, Ratikant Mohaptra etc.

DAKSHINA CHITRA MUSEUM (Chennai) offers Online Certificate course - Indian Archaeology, in the first week of October 2020.

ABHAI (Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India) launches NATYA SANYUJ- CONNECTING THE ARTS, its first online festival of natyam in collaboration with Sangam Festival, NJ of Bharatanatyam exponent Bala Devi Chandrasekhar. From October 2, the performances will be streamed from the ABHAI FB page and YouTube channels every Friday.

September is South African HERITAGE MONTH. The virtual celebration's theme for Heritage Month was "Celebrating South Africa's living human treasures."

On Instagram, Bharatanatyam dancer from South Africa, K SARVESHAN celebrated MY HERITAGE MONTH talking to eminent dance personalities on cultural heritage and how Bharatanatyam found its way there.

CFAA (Colorado Fine Arts Association) successfully presented PRAKRITI CLASSICAL DANCE FESTIVAL online featuring a galaxy of dancers of various classical forms.

THE CREATIVE ARTS ACADEMY (TCA) launches a three month intensive certificate course in communication and writing starting October.



Stree vesham and a stree without parallel
Costume aesthetic was another factor. In blue and white, with a Koodiyattam crown, resplendently turned out Prabal looked every inch the Pharaoh Cleopatra.... A 'formidable lady' in more senses than one, Shanta Rao was one of those rare dancers, who will never have a second to equal her.

Slick virtual presentation of 26th Kelucharan Mohapatra Awards Festival
Few festival designers can compare with Ratikant Mohapatra's efficient programming and layout of events and despite the pandemic restrictions necessitating a virtual event, the latest Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Awards Festival carried the same trademark of a slick and neat presentation...


UPAJ - Improvisation in Kathak

Improvisation is one of those components which has fascinated me since I first saw Pt. Birju Maharaj perform in 1963 and was mesmerized. His performance did not appear to be composed. It appeared to be effortlessly improvised.


Kapila Vatsyayan - My lifetime mentor
Kapilaji was always aglow in my life's firmament and I always basked in her reflected glory. On the whole, I had the most profound regard for her deep erudition in Indian art and culture.

Kathak and Dhrupad: Hand in hand
The noted scholar-dancer Parwati Dutta, who is the dean of performing arts in the Mahagami University at Aurangabad, is working for some years on a most innovative form of what she calls "Dhrupadangi Kathak."


A piece based on several questions about dance
As the title suggests, this piece is about questions. Questions are important. Not because they get us the answers, but they get us understanding.

Indonesia Ramayana at Prambanan temple
For those who missed the live online streaming on Sept 5, you can still enjoy it!

The Emotive Raja
Experience a virtual tour of the original paintings of Raja Ravi Varma with text

Dance Reflections
Some highlights
Your "moments" on stage
On stage, it happens...!!

The Celestial Dance Contest
Excerpts from 'Patanjali' by Rangoli Dance Company

Mask Making in Purulia, West Bengal
Documentation in the mid 1970's by Sharon Lowen

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