Saturday, 29 November 2014

Sitara, Tara and Travels of Dance (Books) - Ashish Mohan Khokar

Nov 25, 2014, the TV news channels first gave the news - Sitara Devi no more. It made national news because she was a firebrand, diehard dancer with spunk and substance. She was larger than life and lived life king-sized.  Born Dhanno to a reputed tabla wizard and Sanskrit scholar Pt. Sukhdev Maharaj and Matsya Devi, the three sisters Tara, Sitara and Alaknanda (and two brothers Chaube and Pande) were a popular trio, before individual fates took them to places as far as Benaras, Bombay and Bengal. Although Sitara was born in Bengal (8th Nov 1920), she lived most of her adult life in Bombay, with brief stay in Benaras. Her sister Tara was the mother of Gopi Krishna, another famous film dance personage.  

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Seen & Heard by Lakshmi Viswanathan - Talk the dance

The following is an excerpt of my keynote address:
At the outset, I decided to have an umbrella topic, which was TRADITION AND INNOVATION IN CLASSICAL DANCE TODAY. I felt that this was a topic worth discussing as Indian dance has today many teachers and many performers all over the world and they have a voice which must be heard.

Innovation is inevitable and it is part of the creative process for mature artists. What works and what does not has to go through the process of development and approval. Authority to innovate is something individuals have to know how to validate. A well informed and conscious artist knows how to innovate without violating certain highly held principles in classical dance. 

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Friday, 14 November 2014

Article - Revitalising Kuchipudi art and heritage - Sudha Sridhar


This Andhra Pradesh village was originally known variously as ‘Kuchelapuram,' ‘Kuchelapuri' (one legend holds that Krishna's devotee Kuchela lived here), ‘Kuchennapoodi' (after Kuchenna, a famous disciple of Siddhendra Yogi) and ‘Kuchipundi.' It was populated by Bhagavathulu and their families and the village has produced some of the greatest classical dancers and teachers of the country.

The Kuchipudi Bhagavathamelam, the original repository, the progenitor of the Kuchipudi dance of today, have been the acknowledged and documented torch bearers of the art form for centuries while being mainly confined to Kuchipudi Agraharam in Muvva Taluka, Krishna district, a hallowed spot with renowned practitioners of the art calling it a “pilgrimage centre” - the village akin to be a “wonderful temple” and “cultural treasure.”

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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Article - Education in spiritual values through Bharatanatyam: Part II - Chandra Anand

The religio-philosophic background of Bharatanatyam
Most Indian classical dances, particularly Bharatanatyam, have religious and spiritual beginnings. They have been part of Hindu temple rituals. They follow the Hindu philosophy in attitude. The Hindu philosophy and their teachings are part and parcel of their themes of presentation. Explanation for the phenomena of rasa-experience in Indian classical performing arts has been investigated in the systems of Hindu philosophy.
Spirituality in Bharatanatyam
The Vedas are the very first scriptures of Hindu philosophy and religion. All human beings are the limited manifestation of the Ultimate Being and reunion of the soul with the Absolute Soul should be the goal. This is the truth offered in the Vedas. Inevitably, the Vedas teach the ideal way to lead life to ensure our way back to the source. “The goals of life which are accepted by all Hindus are righteousness or obedience to the moral law (dharma), wealth or material welfare (artha), pleasure (kama), and emancipation (moksha). Dharma prevails throughout life, that is, neither pleasure nor wealth is to be obtained through violation of the rules of morality. Moksha is the ultimate goal to which all men should aspire. This social philosophy is accepted without question by all Hindus.”1These ideals have, since ages, ruled not only our life, lifestyle and outlook but also permeated through the arts; because this ideal way of life “recognizes in every sphere of activity, the kinship of God and man”2.Thus, the underlying idea of practice of Indian classical performing arts is to transcend the 'self' towards a higher plane and achieve bliss through spiritual expression.

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