Thursday 29 March 2012

Profile - Introducing Kathak in South Africa - Vijay Shanker

The word impossible says “I am possible” but very few of us think about the immense possibilities the world holds for us due to several obstacles, but in the case of Kathak exponent Dr. Vinod Hasal, everything seemed possible as he arrived in an alien land like South Africa with a passion and determination to introduce Kathak to South Africans. Today, after almost two decades, Dr. Vinod Hasal is an established personality with his own dance academy known as Radha Krishna Academy of Dance and Music training several aspirants.  He was in Mumbai recently to receive the Nrityavid award instituted by the Tejas Foundation.

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Nritya Bharati festival: Third edition - Dr. Sunil Kothari

The renowned scholar Dr. Subas Pani is an author, translator of Odisha’s cultural heritage with research interest in Jagannath, Jayadeva and the Gita Govinda. He has curated the Nritya Bharati Festival as its Creative Director. As a bureaucrat, he has held several positions and during his tenure he has pioneered dance festival at the temple sites. The most memorable one he had visualized was at Mukteshwara Temple in Bhubaneswar in the early eighties, when the legendary gurus Pankaj Charan Das and Kelucharan Mahapatra had presented their choreographic works and the lights wizard Tapas Sen had arranged the lights.

The two ashtapadi festivals adapted to his original music score for Odissi dance were a runaway success, with leading Odissi exponents, participating, exploring various layers of ashtapadis.  Dr. Subas Pani has also composed music for Sampoorna Gita Govinda presenting the total experience of Jayadeva’s immortal classic in a set of five audio CDs, released by SaReGaMa. This is a major and unique musical composition presenting the entire Gita Govinda, all stanzas of each of its twenty four songs and all of its seventy two shlokas with distinctive flavor of the original musical traditions of Odisha. For this, he has used, for the first time, the authentic text of this classic based on his extensive research.

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Monday 19 March 2012

Article - A dancer’s success quotient - the flip side - Dr. Kanakam Devaguptapu

The dance extravaganza showcasing celebrities for Rukmini Devi’s birthday celebrations came to an end. All the artistes, with legendary track records that put them on the pedestal that they are, left the audiences in an awe filled mood. Every evening, as my husband and I left Rukmini Arangam after witnessing two shows of sheer mastery in craft and creation, we felt that we were leaving the place of eternal bliss and returning to a chaotic order of trials and tribulations. Such was the atmosphere that the artistes created with their par excellent depth of research and understanding of their presentations, excellent choreography and unique ways of staging them, in the ambience of Kalakshetra, an epitome of serenity.

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Friday 16 March 2012

Dancer - choreographer Valmiki Bannerjee: 20th century genius - Ashish Mohan Khokar

Valmiki Bannerjee is one of the senior most dancer-choreographers in Delhi. Hailing from Purva Bangla, now in present Bangladesh, Valmiki had to cover quite a distance, not just spatially, to reach where he is today.

He possesses a quality which is rare in people today – humility. A silent worker, he quietly continues his work in dance and for the welfare of the community. For example, he teaches many children from slum areas and even uses them in his shows. He teaches the local chowkidar of his area - a young boy of sixteen years, who suddenly discovered in himself, an inclination towards dance. All these, he does without any monetary returns, taking pains to visit these children’s parents and persuade them to send their children to him.

Eighty-six years old, he is still agile, mentally and physically. Without any bitterness as to what he did not get from life, he looks towards the future with hopes and aspirations, directing all his energies towards fulfilling his greatest ambition in life – to create harmony through art, to spread the message of peace, fraternity and brotherhood through the medium of dance and thus create a truly a humane society.

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Monday 12 March 2012

Article - Melattur plus - Anantha Krishnan

As the utsavam at the Siva temple is in full flow, the utsava-murthis take couple of rides, morning and evening, through the agraharams on a tractor drawn carriage. In Nallur, it is still the bullock cart that serves this need. A fairly large temple, Siva here is called 'Unathapureeswarar' and guess what, the Ambal has a name that is in line with the times, Sivapriya (wow, what a name!). The temple entrance tower is flanked by 2 Ganesha idols of antiquity. The lingam is swayambu and the temple Kurukal told me that Markandeya had performed puja there. The pond across is huge but dry. I was curious about this temple as I recalled reading an article in The Hindu back in 2004 on the inscription of Kulothunga Cholan (12th century) that talked about women empowerment in those times. There are inscriptions at the temple belonging to Vikrama Cholan period as well. As the temple was getting set for Kumbabishegam, I requested the management that the white washing done over the inscriptions be cleaned too to give readers an easier time. With Melattur leaning and being a certified epigraphist now, may I request if Ms. Swarnamalya and team could possibly take this temple in quiet setting as a 'testing ground' and throw more light into what more is written 'in stone.'

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Poll - March 2012

Is the Bharatanatyam margam outdated?

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Samrachana: Choreography Festival of Dance - Dr. Sunil Kothari

Celebrating Platinum Jubilee of the formation of Swatantra Odisha Pradesh, Odisha Tourism presented Samrachana: Choreography Festival of Dance, organized by Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi in collaboration with Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, Dept of Tourism and Culture Govt. of Odisha, Srjan Kelucharan Mohapatra Nrityabasa and GKCM Odissi Research Centre, from 1st till 5th March 2012, showcasing in all ten choreographic works, each day one work based on Odissi technique, followed by choreographic work in other classical technique like Kathak, Kuchipudi,  Contemporary, Manipuri and Bharatanatyam, at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubanswar. A two day seminar in the morning of March 2nd and 5th was also organized to take stock of the development of choreography after witnessing ten choreographic works. A sumptuous fare.

The initiative taken by young Odissi exponent, choreographer, guru and Vice President of Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, Aruna Mohanty, was a runaway success.
Organized for the first time, it brought to Bhubaneswar a cross-section of choreographic works by the seasoned choreographers from the younger generation and also a few senior dancers/choreographers. Indeed it was a feast for the eyes and ears. The idea to expose the Odissi exponents of Odisha and local Odissi gurus and choreographers to the choreographic works of other classical and contemporary techniques was most welcome. With the passage of time, Odissi has come of age and has won worldwide recognition as a major classical dance form, being practiced by an international community of dancers. 

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Parampara Academy of Performing Arts, Ahmedabad 2nd annual celebrations: seminar and performances - Dr. Sunil Kothari

Parampara Academy of Performing Arts was inaugurated on 18th July 2010 in the presence of distinguished dancers including Kuchipudi exponent Raja Reddy (New Delhi), Dr. Sandhya Purecha (Mumbai), and local gurus Kumudini Lakhia, Smita Shastri, Dr. Uma Anantani and others. The modest beginnings have led Bijal to venture into inviting scholars and artistes from outstation to expose her students to different forms of dance and academic discourse.

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