Tuesday 29 January 2013

Raja Rani Music Festival - Dr. Sunil Kothari

After an interval of one day, the 3 day Raja Rani Music Festival commenced on 18th January with the back drop of Raja Rani temple. 

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Sunday 27 January 2013

Roses & Thorns - Quotes of the season Compiled by: Lalitha Venkat

The return of the month of Margazhi makes one ponder about the standard of music and dance today. Thanks to the combined lure of speed and technology, music and dance appear to be heading for a state of banality and vacuity in creativity. In dance, new forms and genres seem to seek freedom from the rigours and discipline of the earlier style. Being ‘contemporary’ is seen as being synonymous with creating an illusion of being merely esoteric, marginalising aesthetics, and opting for mindless movements and formations, served with a lamentable paucity of sahityam….. The advent of technology and management had led to a shift in focus -- from feeling to efficiency. In the process, the Soul is the casualty!
- PS Krishnamurti
(‘Where’s the soul?’ The Hindu, Dec 1, 2012)

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Friday 25 January 2013

Mukteswar Dance Festival - Dr. Sunil Kothari

Hot on the heels of Rang Sopan festival (5 -12 June 2013) held at Bhopal in honour of theatre director Ratan Thiyam, the Mukteswar Dance Festival (Jan 14-16, 2013) was held at Bhubaneswar in the Mukteswar temple complex. Organized by Odisha Tourism Department, Govt. of Odisha with the initiative of Principal Secretary of Tourism and Culture Mr. Ashok Kumar Tripathy, who has since last two years, held various dance festivals successfully including Konark Dance Festival, Dhauli Kalinga Festival, Odissi International Dance Festival, in between Gotipua Festival and various music festivals of different parts of Odisha, with the result that Bhubaneswar in Odisha indeed has become ‘a city of dance festivals.’
I have been attending dance festivals in Bhubaneswar (and also at Cuttack) since last two years and am impressed at the attention given to minutest details personally by Mr. Tripathy, setting a very high standard for mounting dance and music festivals throughout the year with finesse, sophistication and thorough professional approach. Not only is the venue superb, be it Konark, Dhauli, Mukteswar, Raja Rani temples, or Rabindra Mandap, also the ambience is that of a festive mood – thousands of tiny blue lit bulbs, festoons, umbrellas, lamp shades of Pipli village hung tastefully from the branches of the trees on both sides of the streets leading to the venue, landscaping of temple gardens, stage, lighting, sound system, cameras held by DD TV, press photographers sitting in front, not moving all over, taking photos quietly without blocking the view of the audience, good arrangements for seating, good hygienic facilities, clean toilets, enough room for parking vehicles, courteous staff, security guards, ushers, professional comperes in Odiya, English and Hindi, latter by seasoned compere Sadhna Srivastav and for Odiya, Prof. Mrityunjay Mahapatra and E. Srinibas Ghatuary (Milan), with a team of artists including Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s son, guru / performer Ratikant Mohapatra, Odissi exponent  and Vice President of Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, Aruna Mohanty,  Prof . Ram Hari Das, the celebrated vocalist and Professor in Music along with Sangeeta Gosain, reader in music in Utkal University of Culture, Chittaranjan Mallia, Secretary of Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, photographer Arabinda Mahapatra of Odisha Tourism Dept, polite staff of Odisha Tourism Dept and a host of other volunteers, looking after the needs of performing artists, stage management et al.

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Thursday 24 January 2013

Roses & Thorns - Turning down Sangeet Natak Akademi Award - Aditi Mangaldas

Brilliant dancer Aditi Mangaldas turns down the National Sangeet Natak Akademi award in the category of Creative and Experimental Dance. Reproduced below are some relevant correspondences on the matter.

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Tuesday 22 January 2013

Rang Sopan: Celebrating contribution of Ratan Thiyam and his Chorus Repertory Theatre - Dr. Sunil Kothari

Under the title Rang Sopan, Ustad Allaudin Khan Sangeet evam Kala Academy, Bhopal and Directorate of Culture Government of Madhya Pradesh undertook to mount a weeklong festival of plays by the renowned theatre director Ratan Thiyam and his Chorus Repertory Theatre from Imphal at Rabindra Bhavan’s compound in a specially created auditorium in shape of a hangar as seen at the airport, and a stage as large and spacious as Ratan Thiyam has at his theatre at Imphal with latest state of art lighting and sound equipment from 5th till 11th January 2013. I do not know of any other retrospective of a major theatre director in recent time organized on such a large scale.

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Tuesday 15 January 2013

Article - Role and function of dance: Historical context (Part 3) - Dr. Anonna Guha

Rhythm, gentle, solemn, passionate, frenzied, savage, so too the dance. For it is the rhythm that provides the beat for the bodies that move. The heartbeat for the dance and the bodies move, sway, swirl, dip and rise. They rejoice and droop. They exhilarate and collapse. It is all part of a world at once gentle, solemn, passionate, frenzied and savage. This is the world of folk tribal and ritual dance in India. A world born no one knows when. A world that found its own moorings, nourishment, growth, flowering and maturity. A world that has yielded generation after generation of performers.  They are everywhere – men and women. They are part of India’s multitudes, performers, dancers. Not trained, not professional dancers, not by design. By birthright. (Khokar 1987: 10)
This passage brings out the true picture of folk and tribal dances and dancers.  Their dance is spontaneous but this does not mean that they dance anywhere or anytime. There is an inbuilt method in it all, a rhyme and a reason even though it may not be a consciously cultivated one.  Certain promptings and stimuli inspire, provoke, urge and  compel people to dance. Their dance then evolves and sustains norms. There is no written   or communicated instruction or direction for the dance. It is essentially what the dancers have gained and assimilated without deliberate effort as a legacy from past generation. In order to understand this complete process, it is imperative that one understands these  varied shared manners and moods because these are reflected in the Indian dance .These moods and motifs become the common language and grammar for the folk, tribal and  ritual dances as they exist in the different milieu of the country. (Khokhar 1987:14-30)

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Monday 14 January 2013

Tribute - Remembering Prof U.S. Krishna Rao - Dr Sunil Kothari

I met Prof. U.S. Krishna Rao and his wife Chandra (U.K. Chandrabhaga Devi) during All India  Dance Seminar, held at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi in  April 1958. That was a historic conference with a weeklong dance festival in the evening at Talkatora Gardens. I was a greenhorn, up and coming scholar interested in dance, had gone from Mumbai to attend the seminar, thanks to Prof. Mohan Khokar’s suggestion, as all leading lights of dance world were to meet there.
Prof .U.S. Krishna Rao was to present his paper on ‘New Trends in Bharatanatyam.’ I had read about him in Ram Gopal’s biography Rhythm in Heavens as his friend and a young companion. Ram Gopal and he used to learn dance and Krishna Rao used to take Ram Gopal on his bicycle. After the performances were over, which were held privately without Ram Gopal’s parents’ knowledge, some organized by the Yuvaraj, the prince, Krishna Rao used to accompany him. As I learnt later on, it was due to Ram Gopal that Krishna Rao took to dancing, though essentially he was to support himself, in future, as a Professor of Chemistry in Bangalore University.

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Tuesday 8 January 2013

Interview - Dr. Sohini Ray: Manipuri dance is an integral part of life - Vijay Shanker

California based anthropologist, scholar and Manipuri exponent Dr. Sohini Ray is currently presenting her multi-media production ‘Bhaktirasgi Maangal Khonjel’ described as sounds and lights of devotion pertaining to the Manipuri dances, in various cities of India. This presentation successfully explores as to how Manipuri dance forms an integral part of life in Manipur, wherein every occasion either social or religious is considered incomplete without Manipuri dance. Having received a grant from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Sohini travelled to various places in Manipur and conducted research on the significance of Manipuri dance as a performing art and its transition from temples to the auditorium. While this production is considered one of the best collections of Manipuri dance, it was also the final nominee for the 2010 Margaret Mead Award given by the Society of Applied Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association for successfully establishing dance as an application of anthropology. Dr. Sohini Ray reveals as to how she was fascinated by Manipuri dance at a tender age, her association with her mentors Guru Bipin Singh and the Jhaveri sisters, the inter-relationship between dance and anthropology and her journey as an exponent and much more.

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Sunday 6 January 2013

Health Column - Longing for a drink? - Veena Basavarajaiah

Water is the most important nutrient required by the human body. It is essential for all bodily functions including circulation, digestion, transportation of nutrients, lubrication of organs and also maintaining body temperature. Water constitutes up to 70-75% of our weight and during a dancing session we can lose up to 2% of our body weight. This lost water has to be replenished by water intake to restore the balance in the body.
The body absorbs water from the food we eat and different fluids that we consume. Fruit juices are a better alternate source of water than coffee and tea. Caffeine present in these hot beverages force out water and essential nutrients and are not good for the dancing body. The presence of sodium affects the water balance in the body. If your body has a problem retaining water then there is a need to consume food rich in sodium. Apart from cooking salt, sodium can be acquired through various foods like beans, sprouts etc. Excessive sodium could lead to water retention and excessive bloating. Drinking water automatically restores the sodium balance in the body and can solve the problem of water retention. 

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