Sunday, 23 February 2020

Article - Evoking Navarasa in you - Devaki Rajendran

The journeys we make and the roads we take lead us to ourselves. This is a thought that constantly lingers in my mind. Every visit to Irinjalakuda and that mandatory visit to Natanakairali fortifies this very thought. The peaceful atmosphere and the palpable energy here, pulls me back again. The last time I visited Natanakairali, I witnessed a series of Koodiyattam performances that enriched me as a lover of art. This time, it completely changed me as a human being and an artist. The experience of the Navarasa Sadhana cannot be expressed in words. It was more than just learning a process. It changed the way I perceived, how I sought inspiration, how I acknowledged things.

The Navarasa Sadhana is an intensive practice routine designed for artists from all performance spheres. The workshop is structured in such a way that the participants explore the different layers of the nine rasas in detail and depth. Venuji through years of research and experiments has created this methodology drawing inspiration from the Koodiyattam training, Kodungallur technique of abhinaya, theatre practices from across the world.

The workshop began with an informal meeting and inauguration. The 15 member group including me introduced ourselves. We were blessed to listen to the soulful music of Parvati Baul and her group that morning. From here, we began our days of explorations.

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Saturday, 22 February 2020

The Bharathanatomy Series: Balance Part 1 - Postural Control - Sneha Rajagopalan - Not just anyBODY: a health and fitness monthly column

The Bharathanatomy series is back!

Over the next few months, we will be looking closely at the concept of balance and its role in movement and dance.

To be able to balance means that we are a) able to maintain an upright posture against the force of gravity and b) ensure that our body's centre of mass is exactly above our support base (in dance, this base of support is our feet).

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Friday, 21 February 2020

36th Kinkini Nrithyotsava - Footloose and fancy free with Dr.Sunil Kothari

Kinkini institution was established in 1983 in Bangalore by N.R. Ganapathy and Yamuna Ganapathy to promote, propagate and popularize classical dances. They hold the position of the President and Secretary of the institution respectively. Among their children, their daughter Bharatanatyam exponent Rangashree has been very active since 1986 undertaking several activities relating to training young generation of dancers in Bharatanatyam and Yoga. She is the artistic director of Kinkini.

Kinkini has been organizing dance festivals in Bangalore for past 36 years featuring national level celebrated artists in tandem with young upcoming dancers. Kinkini has a branch in Kuwait, so Rangashree divides her time between Kuwait and Bangalore. Kinkini is the only institution which has been conferred with Karnataka Kalashree award for its distinctive services in 2014.

This year, Rangashree curated the festival presenting duets in different styles in the first half of the festival, followed by duets in Bharatanatyam. The five day festival from 25th till 29th January included Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathak, Kathakali and Mohiniattam in the first half and Bharatanatyam duets in the second half. I could attend the festival from 27th January for three days. The artists who participated on 25th were Kuchipudi Guru Jayarama Rao and his disciple T. Reddy Lakshmi from New Delhi, and in Bharatanatyam, Sathyanarayana Raju and Saundarya Srivatsa. I was told that on account of indisposed health of Saundarya, they presented solo numbers. On 26th Madhulita Mohapatra and Pankaj Kumar Pradhan presented Odissi followed by Vijna Vasudevan and Renjith Babu in Bharatanatyam.

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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Profile - Manoj Kumar Das: The talented Khol player - Dr. Jintu Sarma

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."
- Bob Marley

Manoj Kumar Das was born on 21st August 1990 to Nalini Kanta Das and Lakshi Das in a small village called Ghoramarahati in the Sattriya town Barpeta. He completed his schooling from Barpeta Govt. Higher Secondary School and graduated from M.C. College, Barpeta, both of which are notable institutions of the town. Inspired by his parents, he took a deep interest in Sattriya culture, especially Khol Vadya from his childhood. He took his first step towards formal music training from popular academic institution, Sankardev Kala Kshetra Barpeta, in 1999. He then trained in Khol Vadya under the tutelage of Shree Jagannath Bayan, the chief Bayan of Barpeta Satra and successfully mastered as Gunin in Khol Vadya.

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Friday, 14 February 2020

Obit/Tribute - Wendell Rodricks: A hard act to follow - Madhu Nataraj

I vividly recall how at our dear friends, the Puris' birthdays, anniversaries, even a prayer meeting, Wendell and I would be asked to speak. He would always go first and my opening line would be: "Now that's a hard act to follow!" Couldn't have meant it more now, than ever before...

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Music of the Spheres - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

It is not often that our classical dancers leave their beaten paths and refrain from executing the set routine of their forms but, rather, turn within and listen to their innermost hearts. This is akin to harking back to the ancient Greek notion - prevalent till the Renaissance --- that Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique celestial music physically inaudible to the human ear but, nonetheless, perceived by the sensitive soul. Is not the yearning for this ineffable Harmony of the Spheres echoed by PB Shelley while closing his 1821 ode to immanent love: The desire of the moth for the star / The night for the morrow / The devotion to something afar / From the sphere of our sorrow...?

Katha Angika presented on January 28 by Nandanik Movement of Arts attempted to turn on the above idea, namely, persuading a few seasoned classical dancers to listen to their inner calling. Nandanik is a collaborative venture between leading classical dancers and theatre practitioners, and explores annually such new themes, structures and forms in dance and theatre through the medium of story-telling and other means. As they elaborate, "Dance for us, is not just a series of movements which covers space with time aesthetically, it also has the power to connect mind with soul, connect a performer to a spectator without any restriction of language. Rasikas realise Katha with Angika through the dance presentation which make them a part of the performance and not mere spectators. Using the medium of dance as communication, we come together, to celebrate the festival - Katha Angika".

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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Shraddhanjali: Nupur Zankar pays tribute to Pt Vijay Shankar - Footloose and fancy free with Dr.Sunil Kothari

When you entered the Saradar Patel Sabhagraha Auditorium of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan at Andheri West in Mumbai on 26th January, you saw on the stage a large photograph of the gently smiling late Kathak exponent Pandit Vijay Shankar, a disciple of Pandit Birju Maharaj. On either side of the auditorium at strategic places were placed photos of, from Kolkata, Madhumita Roy, Sushmita Banerjee, Rama Prasad Chattopadhyaya and Sauvik Chakraborty, and of Asavari Pawar from Delhi. The photo of Shila Mehta, the organizer of the event, was also placed with them. She is from Kolkata and had studied under Vijay Shankar for many years.

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