Saturday, 23 January 2021

Obit/Tribute - Tribute to Dr. Sunil Kothari - VP Dhananjayan

Our long and lasting association with Sunilji goes back to 1956-57 when Kalakshetra troupe used to perform regularly in Bombay (now Mumbai) in Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha and Chembur Fine Arts. As a young boy doing his Chartered Accountancy, he showed great interest in performing arts and used to nag us to teach him nuances of Bharatanaatyam.  Especially, I remember him spending a lot of time with us in the dormitory accommodation at Tamizh Sangam building in Mumbai and learning the Abhinaya Darpana theoretical slokas and their practical applications from us. Later, he frequently visited Kalakshetra for every art festival and imbibed a great deal. 

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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Book Review - Male impersonating female persona - Dr. Utpal K Banerjee

 Streevesham in Kathakali

By Prabal Gupta

Shubhi Publications
Gurugram, India
Rs.1495, 2021
ISBN 9788182903340

The book under review is an impressive piece of research work, quite comprehensive in its coverage, normally unusual for a "coffee table" book. It is all the more creditable for the publisher to have brought out a lavishly illustrated - both in color and black and white - volume of an investigative book of this nature. Both the author and the publisher are deserving of the readers' encomium.

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Sunday, 17 January 2021

Article - 1984 - Redux - Bharat Sharma

(Reflections on the 13th death anniversary of renowned choreographer Narendra Sharma)

How to take India’s dance forward…this question has been troubling dancers, choreographers, critics, connoisseurs, pundits, bureaucrats and art funders for long in India and international sphere. One way is to contrast developments in 20th century by making reference to the colonial question, East-West relations, civilizational discourse, dialectics of tradition and modern, unity and diversity, philosophical dispositions of ‘self’ and ‘other’, identity politics, gender relations, sexuality and of course the mind-body conundrum. Nevertheless, new ways of taking dance forward have come to stay, whether we like or not, and become integral part of performing arts in India – a distinct possibility, process, practice, theoretical reasoning and production of performance. Body in Performance was never culturally neutral.

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Saturday, 16 January 2021

Prism - ANDAL'S GARDEN: The Love Letter


Specially curated and presented by Dr. Anita Ratnam and on YouTube Instagram and Facebook, the morning presentations of Margazhi month starting from Dec 16, 2020 titled ANDAL'S GARDEN featured verses from Andal's Thiruppavai, while the evening presentations titled 'ANDAL'S GARDEN: The Love Letter' were devoted to verses from Nachiyar Thirumozhi, a lesser read masterpiece by the 9th century female saint Andal.

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Prism - ANDAL'S GARDEN: Part 2

Anita Ratnam and presented ANDAL'S GARDEN, Andal's TIRUPPAVAI 30, a series of curated performances celebrating the spirit and poetry of the only female Azhwar, Godai, for 30 days from December 16, 2020. These 30 poems or Pasurams, are brimming with imagery, imagination, and innovative metaphors influenced by the naturescapes of the Sangam era and Andal's own knowledge of the Bhagavatham.

Art by KESHAV - ©krishnafortoday & Keshav
Translations by PRIYA SARUKKAI CHABRIA - 'Andal: Autobiography of a Goddess'

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Friday, 15 January 2021

Article - Stage to Classroom, Importance of dance education in schools - Dr. Parul Purohit Vats

A powerful entry of the dancer on stage, amidst bright lights. Opening with speed but also restraint. Followed by Vandana to connect, the dancer and the audience, with the divine. Then one after the other the audience marvels at numerous technical pieces introduced with padhant and filled with intriguing footwork, flawless pirouettes and complex rhythmic patterns. The sound of ghunghroos, high energy level and the crescendo builds up in drut laya. A round of applause every time the dancer executes lightning fast footwork, numerous chakkars or any piece executing the evolved technique of Kathak. The performance is concluded with a splendid abhinaya (expressional) piece leaving the audience in complete awe of the dancer and the dance style.

This was a regular scene from my life as a performer on stage. Venues and concepts changed but the thrill remained the same year after year. But there comes a time in every dancer’s life, a time to reflect inwards and reckon, what next from here. Not that I was tired of performing, I still perform quite a lot but yes, I was yearning for more.

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Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Book Review - From amour to worship - Dr. Utpal K Banerjee

Shringara: in Classical Indian Dance

Ed. By Sharon Lowen
Shubhi Publications
Gurugram, India
E mail:
Rs. 2405, 2021
ISBN: 9788182903 647

At the outset, one would compliment the editor and the publishers for a beautifully produced book in 'coffee table' format,with an elegant design and ample color photographs of India's well-known dancers, most of whom have generously contributed to the theme that appears to be dear to their heart. The result has been a satisfying work one would love to cherish!

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