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September 2021


"It's time to put our paranoia about the virus on a leash and take it for a walk."
- Shared over a telephone call with Madhu Nataraj

The festival season is upon us and with it come several moments to smile as we all attempt to open up our homes and lives to the outside world.

Now that the imprint of baby feet have been drawn in the courtyards and altars of several homes across the world to mark the birth day of Lord Krishna, we can prepare for the arrival of beloved Ganesha and onwards to more and more days that will remind us of the importance of ritual and the cyclical spiral of life. No matter which faith one belongs to, the onset of cooler weather and the sun’s winter descent always signals more celebrations, prayers and gatherings. Despite the threat of a third wave, people seem determined to find ways to share experiences and the small joys of life.

Read on...

NeoNarthaki turned one on August 15th! We launched NeoNarthaki as an initiative that provides a safe and brave space for young dancers to navigate the world of performing arts, understand the nuances of the modern world, whilst staying in touch with their respective art forms. Like every other art form, dance continues to evolve along with those who practice it. Every dancer, despite level, age, experience or nationality, contributes to its growth.

This past year has been nothing short of an incredible learning experience for Team NeoNarthaki. We have featured some of the most talented and learned arts practitioners in interactions that proved to be insightful, enlightening and fulfilling. Be it the 'Decode' campaign that addressed current issues in the sector, or the Ampersand discussions that highlighted artists who toggled dual careers, or the Kutty Kahani series by our little champs, or the Instagram Takeovers by some of the exceptional artistic talents, it has been a truly wonderful journey.
We would like to thank our artists, partners, followers, readers and well-wishers who have been an integral part of this first year journey. As we step into another year, we will continue to present unique interactions with artists, create innovative learning spaces, provide opportunities to speak about the issues in the arts, while maintaining a safe and brave space for the arts community to come together, learn and grow.

Here's a short video re-cap of NeoNarthaki's initiatives this past year:

Do follow us on Instagram @neonarthaki

JHALAK-A first glance - Episode 01 - Amor Rati
We are delighted to present 'Jhalak' a first glance, a series of conversations about all new creative works in the field of dance, music, art, theatre, literature and so on. The first episode features a wonderful conversation about the journey of a new production, a collaboration between Kathak and Flamenco, based in Singapore called 'Amor Rati.' Anita R Ratnam in conversation with the brilliant team of Amor Rati - Anthonio Vargas, Toshiaki Konno, Sonia Ponnamma Devaiah and Daphne Huang Vargas.


PARAMITA SAHA has started an online platform called CONTINEW which concentrates on professional training for contemporary dancers in India. In a hybrid presentation of two day intensives, many of India's emerging choreographers and dance creators are converting onto this Instagram handle.

The delayed MAYA RAO CONFERENCE is scheduled for September 18 and 19 at the Bangalore International Centre.
On Aug 26, 2021 FICCI  Flo Bangalore & The House of Angadi hosted an evening to honour performing artistes of Karnataka - Madhu Nataraj, Anuradha Vikranth, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Shama Krishna etc - towards their contribution to the realms of artistry, education and social enterprise.

Rukmini Vijaykumar, the Internet sensation with her own dance style, has launched a brand of ready to wear saris and perfume called RUKS COLLECTION. The perfumes were created by her late father and the collection was launched on his birth anniversary.

The most people performing a choreographed dance online simultaneously is 698 and was achieved by MADURAI R MURALIDHARAN in Chennai on Aug 1, 2021. This online attempt was attended by over 800 participants from all over the world. This is the third successful Guinness World Record title attempt by Muralidharan and his team.

SUDARSHAN CHAKRAVORTY, The Founder Director of Sapphire, did his second stint in Bollywood movies and this time with popular star Kajal Agarrwal in a film titled 'Uma.' The film revolves around a family wedding and Sudarshan with a team of 25 dancers from Sapphire choreographed two songs.

The recipient of this year's Shiva-Saroja Sangeetha Natya Scholarship, offered by Bharata Kalanjali and Mrudani School of Performing Arts, is dancer SANATH KUMAR S.

The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park has announced a new experience: The Boston Activation Project. Dancer SUJATHA SRINIVASAN is one of the artists bringing this project to life through creating a dance story of the Cuyahoga River.

Ramappa temple, Telangana
Ramappa temple, Telangana (Photo: Veejay Sai)


Our new column UNMUTE is the performers' guide to speaking up - and lets you know about Laws, Rights, Resources and Networks. This is a much needed portal for information on all areas where the Arts intersect with the Law. is an open access resource - a website in the commons. Use it to empower yourself as an artist and an arts leader.
It has been set up for the creative community by Kri Foundation, Artsforward and Sruti Performing Troupe. Each month, the column will shine the light on some aspect of Arts and the law.

Somabha Bandopadhyay, Paramita Saha, Dr. Arshiya Sethi
'Unmute. Help': A Performers Guide to speaking up about Rights and Responsibilities of artists and Arts leaders
- Dr. Arshiya Sethi
On 11th August this year, a group of three people committed to the Arts took a step that had never been taken before, though there was a palpable need for it. The group of three were Somabha Bandopadhyay, Paramita Saha, and me.


Dance at dawn
Bandish Arts, a recent non-profit organization set up for artists' welfare and assured payment for performance founded by Swati Athmanathan curated 'Bandish Arts - Season 2 for Kolkata Chapter'...

The Immanent and Immaculate One
'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' was a thematic Kuchipudi solo performance presented online by Dilip Diwakar, a Kuchipudi artist from Chennai and the senior disciple of Guru Sailaja.


Teach India
Our first and natural teachers are our parents... Then my third but a real teacher was Dr. Mandlik Prahladray Chhaya, our school principal at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Delhi Kendra.


Kathakali maestro NELLIYODE VASUDEVAN NAMBOODIRI (1940-2021) passed away on August 2, 2021.
More info:
Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri (1940 -2021): Versatility was his métier
- G S Paul

The villain who stole the show
- Sreevalsan Thiyyadi

SHASHANK SHANKAR, the only son of Sachin Shankar and Kumudini Lele, passed away on August 5, 2021 in Mumbai. He managed the Ballet Unit for Sachin Shankar, and organized several Ballet Festivals in Mumbai where contemporary dance groups from all over India were presented.
More info:
Shashank Shankar (1955-2021)
- Bharat Sharma
Kalyani Menon
Singer KALYANI MENON passed away on August 2, 2021 aged 80.
More info:
A tribute to Kalyani Menon
- VP Dhananjayan

Kuchipudi Guru VEDANTAM RAMU passed away on August 6, 2021. He was born into a traditional Kuchipudi dance family to Vedantam Raghavaiah (cinema director and producer) and Ramalakshmi at Kuchipudi Village. He learnt from eminent gurus at Siddendra Kala Kshetram in Kuchipudi Village and later from Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam, Kuchipudi Art Academy, Chennai. He will be remembered for his virtuosity in Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam Parampara.
More info:
Vedantam Ramachandra Vara Prasad
- Vijay Shanker

Navarasa Vajra Mudra
A celebration of Guru G Venu's 60th Navarasa Sadhana workshop.
Part 1 ; Part 2

Anita Ratnam on the role of the art critic in Kalki's time and now

Styles of Kalarippayatt
Here is S.R.D Prasad Gurukkal, a Kalarippayatt exponent debunking some misconceptions about Kerala's traditional martial art.
Bharatanatyam by Shanta Rao

Odissi Batu Nrutya performed by Sharon Lowen
This recording is from a 1979 California studio performance

Wolf Boy (1977)
Excerpts from a modern ballet choreographed by Narendra Sharma for Bhoomika.

Unlike the world of digital technology on which we now binge, Arts and Culture are not about consumption of information. It is about transformation. Unlike in the world of Artificial Intelligence or AI, Art invites you to ponder the nature of the Authentic instead of the Artificial. So, just as we are taught to nourish our physical, we must also be taught to nourish our souls. And this is possible through the inculcation of positive, universal values in our education system.
- Ramli Ibrahim
('Arts and culture as nourishment for life,', Aug 27, 2021)

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