Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Animated discussion on to be or not to be of Guru-Shishya - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

The relevance of the Guru/shishya tradition in the contemporary ethos became the focus of animated webinar discussion in an event hosted by Sanjay Kumar Joshi’s Parampara Dance and Music Forum.  With Meenakshi Ravi as moderator, the panel interaction, involving senior dancers Swapnasundari, Pushkala Gopal, Prathibha Prahlad, Prerana Shrimali and  Alekhya Punjala, voiced a blend of attitudes – with irreverence, at times, hitting a peak.   

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Monday, 1 March 2021

Anita says...March 2021

 Health is not a debt we can cancel

The body collects..
Memories, events, heartbreak, loss
and reacts
- Actor Patricia Clarkson in SHARP OBJECTS, a HBO miniseries
 
Our bodies HAVE collected. Almost a full year of drastic change. A brutal turn around-stopped in our tracks - bodies in collision with nature - minds at war within - hearts torn asunder with confusion and fear..

Yet here we are. Among the ruins (and some shards of rapture) of past 11 months. Surveying how we have somehow found the means to survive while millions have dropped off and fallen through the cracks of Fate and Time. This past year has been called a time of "Global Weirdness" by the New York Times. It seems to fit. We have fallen down the rabbit hole of every dark and dismal sensorial experience and one emotion is echoed through our lives and the voice of the media. FATIGUE.

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Roving Eye curated by Anita Ratnam - March 2021

 


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Friday, 26 February 2021

Colors of classical choreography - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

 

Purnaya, the young dancers' festival, organized on February 7, 2021 by Manipuri Nartanalaya, admirably supported by Manipur government and conducted by Bimbavati Devi, the talented daughter of Guru Bipin Singh - in a brand new, pocket-size auditorium dedicated to the memory of the recently departed, celebrated dance and theatre person, Usha Ganguly-presented four well-trained youthful artistes. 

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Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Profile - Kalamandalam Sankara Warrier: An exceptional genius - V Kaladharan

Last century witnessed the immaculate artistry of immensely talented Maddalam players in the aforesaid genres. Of them, Kalamandalam Sankara Warrier is an exceptional genius. He redrew the contours of Maddalam in Kathakali by means of his remarkable faculties - an acute musical sensibility, an intimate understanding of the visual dynamics, virtuosity, internalization of the textual and the contextual emotions and an irrepressible urge to transcend the traditional frontiers of this indigenous percussion instrument.


Warrier, on completion of his training at Kalamandalam, secured the post of an instructor there. He toured, as member of the Kathakali troupe, cultural hubs in India and abroad, in the 1970's. Following a sterling performance in Mumbai/London, the then British PM, Margaret Thatcher, a VVIP invitee, went on stage and generously complimented Warrier's wizardry. (Margaret Thatcher and Maddalam. What an oxymoron!).



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Monday, 22 February 2021

Article - Emerging cultural economics in dance - Navina Jafa

 (The theme was earlier commissioned by The Hindu, and the article repositions the wider frame of argument presented in the version earlier published. The main issue being initiatives by dancers to envision sustainability for performing communities and individuals beyond their own selves and their individual 'company' in the present challenging circumstances.)


The dancers in India have endured economic and sociological existential challenges during the Covid pandemic. Classical/ folk in urban and rural geographies have adopted imaginative journeys to revise, reconstruct, reinvent, re-educate, and reposition to align with emerging modernity. A new dynamic is the fast emerging parallel existence of a vibrant online with a limited and shrinking space of presenting dance and performing arts offline. The other issue is the manner cultural leaders in dance engaged in the performing arts are going beyond themselves and their organization. The matter is on the manner these cultural leaders are creating new dance networks to build and reposition in the changing times by providing hope, sustainability and second how these same leaders in performing arts are stretching to contribute to the performing arts to other performance communities.

Crucial in the discourse is bringing models that present hope towards sustainability of performing arts and artists. There has to be cognition of creating realistic frameworks that reflect strategies to reconnect with markets and are mindful of new audiences (consumers) in the dual existence of off and online performative spaces.



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Sunday, 21 February 2021

Tribute - Remembering Rukmini Devi - A Woman of Substance on her 117th birth anniversary - VP Dhananjayan

An orator with amazing English vocabulary and attractive personality, Rukmini Devi Arundale is a wonder woman of the century. A school dropout with academic excellence, who almost made it to the highest office of the country Bhaarat... A leap year baby (1904 to 1986), she was an exemplary woman of substance.

This old saying in Samskritam varies with positive and negative interpretations. Actually the essence of the connotation and its deeper meaning is very positive to say that women at any time should be protected by society. Yes, our epics, mythology and history have abundant stories with evidence to prove that Bhaarata naari were well respected and protected, yet there are incidents of humiliation they suffered on account of male chauvinism. After our independence from our invaders, a drastic attitude change became visible within our own society. Until then the question of atrocities on women did not arise and they did survive equally with their counterparts. One such example was Rukmini Devi Arundale - a beacon of light guiding a nation's cultural ethos for generations to come.

She did not believe in formal academic education but education in the real sense of refining oneself with discipline, devotion and dedication. She often quoted, "Academic degree or education without character is body without head." Art and culture are the inseparable aspects of human life and art fosters and nurtures the 'samskaara' (culture) of men and women for a happy life of beauty without vulgarity in thoughts and actions. Rukmini Devi did not believe in feminist liberation theory or such movements; she had no problem of independence, a free woman of individuality and freedom of thoughts. She achieved what many men could not.

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