Monday 29 July 2013

Book Review - 15th anniversary edition of Attendance: A bouquet from dancers and rasikas - Ayswaria Wariar

The dance annual Attendance edited and published by Bangalore based Ashish Khokar, has earned quite a reputation with its themes and aesthetic sense. Its special issue on Classical Dance and Modern Times, guest-edited by Dr. SD Desai, recently launched in Delhi, deserves notice for two reasons – celebrated dancers of the country belonging to our internationally known dance forms share their thoughts on how they attempt to reach out to as many people as possible and in the process without compromising on the traditional aspects of the forms they represent.

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Saturday 27 July 2013

Raindrops Festival of Classical Dance - Dr. Sunil Kothari

The 23rd edition of the Raindrops Festival of classical dance on July 20 organized by the celebrated Kathak exponent Uma Dogra under the aegis of Sam Ved Society for Performing Arts in association with SAB Miller India held at Mini Ravindra Natya Mandir aka P.L Deshpande Theatre, next to Siddhivinayak Temple, Prabhadevi, Mumbai was a runaway success in spite of the torrential July rains. No wonder Uma has given this festival the name Raindrops, justifying the heralding of dance and music festivals in Mumbai with the onset of monsoon. The rains did not stop Mumbaikars and dance lovers from making their way to the mini theatre which was packed. It was indeed very heartening to see the excitement and the crowds for the dance festival. Uma’s daughter Suhani, a writer in her own right and currently on the staff of India Today, politely requested the disciples of Uma and Sam Ved Society to give seats to the senior citizens and invitees. 

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Tuesday 23 July 2013

Roses & Thorns - The race for Facebook "Likes" is on! - Ahalya Narendran

In addition to the standard list of status symbols that those obsessed with their social status today buy with money, such as newspaper reviews, TV appearances, dance awards and titles, and real estate on the Moon, there is a brand new item: Facebook likes. It seems, it is not just the US State Department who buy ‘Likes’ on Facebook , but some Bharatanatyam schools have gone on the likes buying spree as well. Just a couple of months ago, the page of a very young Bharatanatyam school had steadily grown over the years to list over 2000 likes, while the number of people who "liked" the page of the large Bharatanatyam school where she studied since the school was 10% of its present strength was nearly 8 times less and hardly growing. Apparently, the school's PR managers were unwilling to realise that not everybody out of the 300+ students in their school is a born dancer. Extraordinary talent and skill cannot be mass produced at dance factories. 

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Monday 15 July 2013

Poetry in Dance - Lakshmi Vishwanathan

Most of our dance repertoire is poetry in song. We seldom get to read them just for their poetic beauty .We read them only when we are researching new texts for dance. Language skills are needed for this exercise. Poems when set to suitable tunes should inspire lyrical dance.

When I first encountered some lovely poems from ancient Tamil translated into poetic English I was excited enough to make Girish Karnad read some as I danced to the melodies of a sitar under a starlit sky in the Cholamandal artists village near Chennai. This was way back in 1976 and the book of translations was the famous Interior Landscape by A.K. Ramanujan. The last time I met him was in Hyderabad airport. A genial and unassuming man he told me, “I am coming out with something of particular interest to you. That book is When God is Customer.” I found his translations of many of my padams delightful and used them often to introduce my dance. Instead of the usual introductions, I just read out the poems and needless to say it was more than effective. Bhagirati, a theatre person and friend read some of them when I premiered an entire evening of padams titled HRDAYA VILAPAM. I think we enjoyed the evening as much as the audience.

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