Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Odishi Raga Utsav - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Held at Delhi’s Triveni auditorium, with the finest of floral decorations, arrangements and a plethora of courtesies extended to each of the participants by the organizers of the event - Odishi Academy of Gopal Panda - the title of the Utsav almost forced the question out of me, “So what’s changed with all your efforts?” Ever since I can remember, Odishi music has been fighting for a place in the firmament of classical styles. The great Jayadeva from Odisha in his 12th century kavya Gita Govinda mentions ragas like Gundakeri, Varadi, Desavaradi, Mangalagujjari and the 15th century Oriya Mahabharata written by Sarala Das of Odisha mentions modes like Bhairavi, Malasri, Garri, Bhairava, Vasanta, and even talas like Khemta are mentioned. “All these and ragas like Sree and Prathamamanjari are part of our Odishi music system,” claims Pandit Gopal Chandra Panda who has been at the forefront of the movement for Odishi music to recapture its old glory and bring back into circulation its old ragas. 

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Monday, 22 April 2019

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

Under the aegis of Kri Foundation, the dance festival in memory of Madhavi Gopalakrishnan, mother of Rama Vaidyanathan, on 3rd April at Habitat Centre, Delhi, explored two dynamic female characters: 'Shoorpanakha' by Dakshina Vaidyanathan Baghel, daughter of Rama Vaidyanathan and 'Still I Rise' centering round Draupadi, showing her plight, as of all women, by Vidhya Subramanian.

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Friday, 19 April 2019

Creative dances surging ahead! - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Contemporary dance in India, as practiced in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, is generally known by the same name, but in Kolkata, the prevailing nomenclature is "creative dance". Whatever, they all draw a clear divisive line from the classical dance practices in India, now clearly categorized and recognized by Sangeet Natak Akademi. Nabanritya, the brainchild of Manjushri Chaki Sircar (and her gifted daughter Ranjabati: both, alas, no more!) had veered more towards the creative dance genre since its inception in the 1950s and 1960s, with a very inclusive outlook in its bold formulation. 

With clear roots in the dance theatre of IPTA in the post-Independence years, Manjushri allowed herself to be influenced by Manipur's pre-Vaishnavite Lai Haraoba and later Vaishnava traditions on one side, and Purulia Chhau and Bengal's folk dances on the other side, simultaneously encompassing Indian classical genres to define techniques, movements, costumes and even music, as might suit them.....

Presented on March 31, Dream without wings at the Sapphire Annual Gala 2019, by the Sapphire Creations Dance Troupe and Sapphire Dance Academy, was an extravaganza, performed by some 50 dancers - spanning the age groups between 4 to 45 years - to tell the story of our children and what they aspire to be. Directed by Sudarshan Chakravorty, who has led Sapphire for all 26 years, the choreography was cascaded - in age -- from the younger lots to the gradually older ones, till one arrived at the professional company, who backed up to provide the "mirror image" of what the toddler alongside wanted to become -- or was it not to become? -- and be fulfilled, or frustrated, as the case might be. ....

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Thursday, 18 April 2019

Article - Indian Dance through the eyes of a Yogini-Kapila Vatsyayan - Dr. Navina Jafa

The Indian classical dancer today is challenged to constantly reinvent themselves to survive the contemporary socio-economic space defined by capitalist economy, technology, social media and synergies of complex patronage systems. The market demands recorded music, fast pace padded with technical productions that can grip the audience. The Indian classical dancer exists in a swirl of a dizzy environment constantly negotiating the manner, the content and the aesthetics can be innovatively presented to sustain the central place in organizer's lists. This article refers to Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, her views on innovations in Indian classical dance. 

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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Rango'ntaratma: Multi-media presentation with a difference - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Anugraham Classical Community, a charitable trust with a discerning membership presented Rango'ntaratma, a multi-media presentation conceived by Kamalini Dutt, ex-founder director of the Central Archives Doordarshan, where she pioneered the release of over 100 DVDs of intangible cultural heritage. The theme is inspired by Kashmir Shaivism in its non-dualistic approach (surprising when viewed against the backdrop of what is happening in Kashmir today) going back to that great son of Kashmir, Abhinavagupta, but for whose commentary, understanding of the Natya Sastra would have proved very difficult. 

Built round the central Sutra of Shiva Sutras concerning the inner consciousness as the performance arena where life is played out, this production tries to catch that unseen essence to be expressed through the language of music and dance.

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Wednesday, 10 April 2019

5th edition of Nrityodaya's Nrityolsavam Dance Festival - Footloose and fancy free with Dr. Sunil Kothari

Ayswaria Wariar is a name to reckon with in the field of Mohiniattam. She has been organizing classical dance festivals annually in Vadodara inviting dancers from different parts of the country. Trained in her childhood by her mother, she later took lessons in Kathakali under Udyogamandal Vikraman which helped her to master netrabhinaya and mukhajabhinaya. She studied further under Kalamandalam Saraswathi in Kerala. She worked with Kavalam Narayana Panicker, and learnt items based on Sopanam music as devised by Kavalam. Ayswaria has also studied Bharatanatyam under Sucheta Chapekar in Pune. Nrityodaya offers training in both Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam. Among her other accomplishments Ayswaria has choreographed, directed and acted in Nilima, a film on Mohiniattam. 

Nrityolsavam took place from 22nd till 24th March at CC Mehta Hall, Vadodara. 

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Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Impresario evening impresses - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

While large audiences for dance recitals have become rare, Impresario India continues to impress with good responses to all its shows. Over the years, the organization has developed a very faithful clientele of members and well-wishers. This for me stands out as one of the finest achievements of the organization. Its annual festival sponsoring new choreographies, was this year restricted to just one day with two productions featured - Tagore's Chitrangada visualized as a Nritya Natika in Odissi by Ranjana Gauhar and Saptaavart in the Kathak style produced and visualized by Prerana Shrimali - both proving to be laudable presentations.

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