Thursday 29 November 2012

A tribute to legend Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma (Sept 9, 1935 - Nov 16, 2012) - Sridharachari

Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma, a legend of Kuchipudi dance, was admired, acknowledged, revered as one of the best when it came to portrayal of female impersonation roles to such perfection that it was hard for the audience to believe that the performer they saw and appreciated on stage was in fact a male. Such a towering personality is no more among us in the mortal world though his stupendous work is for the benefit of posterity. His portrayal of female roles in Kuchipudi Yakshaganams such as Usha in Usha Parinayam, Satyabhama in Bhama Kalapam, Deva Devi in Vipra Narayana, Mohini in Mohini Rukmangada, Sasirekha in Sasirekha Parinayam and Gollabhama in Gollakalapam,  have been much appreciated over a period spanning almost six decades.

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Health Column - Warm-up for Bharatanatyam dancers - Veena Basavarajaiah

There are hardly any references to warm-ups in our mythology. We do not hear about Lord Krishna doing surya namaskars before dancing on Kalinga sarpa or Lord Nataraja doing a few Pilates before his thandava nritya nor do we hear about them suffering from any injuries for not having done any exercises before a performance. The divine beings who danced slaying demons or saving the world obviously never felt the need for a warm-up. Looks like they functioned on magical powers and could always rely on mortality. Unfortunately, for us mere mortals, a warm-up is quintessential before any performance, practice or rehearsal. 

Do Bharatanatyam dancers have to do a separate warm-up when they do so many adavus to prepare their body? This is an excellent question but, is the body really ready to start a
thattadavu from the word go? Thattadavu, though considered a very simple adavu is very demanding on the body. A warm-up then becomes essential to prepare the body for these adavus. It prepares the limbs for a good araimandi and ensures that the lower back, ankles and knees are ready for the impact of thattadavus. Besides, how many of us do adavus before a rehearsal or performance? A good warm-up before starting adavus will make sure that you do not have any cramps or aches while doing them. 

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Thursday 22 November 2012

Obit/Tribute - Remembering photographer Dhiraj Chawda - Dr. Sunil Kothari

When I started writing for The Illustrated Weekly of India in the early sixties, I met the celebrated photographer Dhiraj Chawda, whose photographs regularly appeared in the Times of India group of publications. 

I saw many colour photographs of the renowned Manipuri exponents, the Jhaveri Sisters. One of the photographs of Rasalila was interesting, taken during dancers performing, with the result that it looked blurred and one cannot see their faces. But the movement was caught magically.  

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Sunday 18 November 2012

6th edition of Delhi International Arts Festival 2012 - Dr. Sunil Kothari

Once again, Delhi International Arts Festival (27th Oct - 10th Nov 2012) took Delhi by storm in its 6th edition with a grand gala opening at Purana Quila on 27th October  when under the title of Shared Culture-The Sufi lineage, the Qawwal from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan performed together and the Whirling Dervish dancers from Turkey with their whirlings created magic. The old ramparts of the Purana Quila reverberated with the Qawwals’ lusty voices creating an amazing atmosphere.

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Gati’s Ignite Festival of contemporary dance - Dr. Sunil Kothari

Gati presented the second edition of IGNITE from 31st October to 4th November 2012 in New Delhi. The festival aims to present dance in ways that carry it beyond the conventional theatre space and re-position it as an accessible and interactive art form.  

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Tuesday 6 November 2012

Vriddhi - Rise Extraordinaire: Performances by young dancers - Dr. Sunil Kothari

The Kuchipudi Dance Academy, New Delhi, under the initiative of Vedabrata Rao, son of celebrated dancing couple Guru Jaya Rama Rao and Vanashree Rama Rao, presented three young dancers from different styles on one platform, followed by that amazing group of physically challenged artists of Ability Unlimited of Guru Dr. Syed Sallauddin Pasha on 25th October 2012, at the packed Kamani Audience in the presence of a young crowd.

Vedabrata, 20, believes that the generation next must get involved with the classical arts and young performers. In a series titled ‘Vriddhi - rise extraordinaire,’ the Kuchipudi Dance Academy proposes to provide a platform to young dancers and in another welcome concept, of presentation of young musicians in a classical Carnatic and Hindustani music concert.

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Monday 5 November 2012

Article - Role and function of dance: Historical context (Part 1) - Dr. Anonna Guha

Dance is an expression of self and emotion. It involves physicality of movement both bodily and facial. For centuries, dance has been a part of various cultures – from primitive man to the modern urban individual. Right from celebrating marriage, birth, to warding off evil and pacifying the supernatural, dance has been a mode to fulfill various  desires and aspirations. Dance to a large extent has been documented in anthropology though it has been a neglected area as far as Sociology is concerned. Anthropologists have studied dance and society of various cultures in the world.

Dance is a product of society and while interacting with it can trace its roots to several centuries. The role and portrayal of dance has to be seen and understood in the context of the various cultures they belong to. Dance is believed to be therapeutic, functioning as a safety valve. Right from dealing with the fear of the unknown, to creating a special place as an art form, dance has played different roles and served diverse purposes. The relation between dance and society would be mutual: both drawing from each other. Society with its physical element, diffusion, development of language and culture forms the basis of dance. Dance on the other hand creates images, stories and spreads messages of society. Society in turn internalises its lessons of content and pleasure from dance. 

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