Thursday, 16 August 2018

Indian dance as part of the world cultural community - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman


In the three-day festival of Manasa- Art Without Frontiers 'On looking back to move forward' one of the morning panel discussions pertained to Indian Classical Dance Transnationally. Though the point was not discussed, one realizes that in many countries of the west, Indian dance has a fringe presence particularly in the main festivals and that its high activity is restricted to the Indian diasporic circles, particularly in the States and the U.K. But this is not the situation in all countries and that our dancers are constantly vying with one another to be sent on tours by the ICCR for participation in festivals, is well known. As part of the world cultural community, the discussion featured Rama Vaidyanathan and Arshiya Sethi, and the person who was supposed to be on the panel Riva Ganguly Das, the ICCR DG, was not present. The session had Ambassador Amarendra Khatua as moderator. 

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Sunday, 12 August 2018

Tales of the bull and the tiger - Footloose and fancy free with Dr. Sunil Kothari


Known for her excellent productions of Panchatantra and Seagull, when Ananda Shankar Jayant announced the premiere of ‘Tales of the Bull and the Tiger,’ one expected something on the line of the two dance choreographic works. But trust Ananda to explore through the two vahanas of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and the vahanas of  their two sons Kartikeya and Subrahmanya,  the stories of ‘Him’ and ‘Her’! Come to think of it, it is Shiva and Parvati who appear as gods with a family. To suggest it, naughty Mushika runs, there is sound of vessels falling and someone calls ‘Mushika!’

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Saturday, 11 August 2018

Interview - Dr. S. Vasudevan: Without an understanding of music and rhythm, dance is impossible - Shveta Arora


The dancer takes the stage. The performance has the rock-solid foundation of a guru’s teachings, knowledge and many years of sadhana. The musician, singer and dancer Dr. S. Vasudevan has been an integral part of many classical performances in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi as a composer and vocalist. He practices and teaches in Delhi, and has been a disciple of Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali and Jayalakshmi Ishwar. It was after his very moving dance performance at the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s event Sanskriti that I got to talk to him about his views on music in dance. His latest works have been very impressive, for example, the music for Anekanta, dance and music for Dramatic Tales by Vanashree Rao, music for Pavitra Bhat’s Shri Ranga Kshetra and Dakshina Vaidyanathan’s Shri Venkata Kshetra, among the most recent ones.

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Thursday, 9 August 2018

Swing from sublime to the ridiculous during homage to Guru Kundanlal Gangani - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman


See-sawing between dismay and ecstasy while watching the annual Guru Purnima homage Gurave Namah at Stein auditorium, Delhi, by the Guru Kundanlal Gangani Sangeet Akademi to the late Guru of the Jaipur gharana, one wondered at the present state of Kathak. 

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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Rasa Rangini Dance Festival - Footloose and fancy free with Dr. Sunil Kothari


Under the aegis of his Debnrutyam Studio, Debasish Pattnaik, a disciple of Durga Charan Ranbir, dividing his time between Rourkela, Moscow and Bangalore, organizes a three- day festival every year in Bangalore titled Rasa Rangini. Durga Charan Ranbir is a disciple of late Guru Deba Prasad Das, whose gharana he maintains faithfully, investing imagination to his choreographic works. So does young Debasish Pattnaik. He has a sizable number of students and it seems that local Odiya community also supports his efforts to popularize Odissi in Bangalore.

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Friday, 3 August 2018

Book Review - The ritual dance of devotion from Melattur - Dr. Utpal K Banerjee


Bhagavata Mela: My Tryst with Tradition
By Indumati Raman

Indus Source Books, Mumbai, 2018
ISBN: 978-93-85509-08-7, Price 1200 

As graphically described by the author at the outset, deep in the interior of Thanjavur district lies a small village, Melattur, redolent with traditions of rituals, dance, music and theatre. The male Brahmin priests of the local temple of Sri Varadaraja Perumal perform classical dance of Bhagavata Mela to pure Carnatic music, enacting various divine stories of Vishnu. The dance's unique feature is that all artistes are male, including the dancers for female roles, keeping alive a 500-year-old heritage carried across generations. 

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