Sunday 27 September 2015

Obit/Tribute - Luise Elcanness Scripps - Ashish Mohan Khokar

Luise Elcanness Scripps, patron, artiste, India lover and main supporter of Balasaraswati's art in USA (and of her family art as represented by Lakshmi, Aniruddha and Douglas Knight), passed away last week in USA. She with her husband Samuel Scripps started many initiatives on west, then east coast to help Indian arts and artistes. 

Read the tribute in the site

Friday 18 September 2015

Article - Education in Spiritual values through Bharatanatyam – Part XI The training of adavus based on the maxims of methodical teaching - Chandra Anand

This article is based on the identification of the use of the Maxims of methodical teaching for giving training in dance. It is seen that the use of “maxims of methodical teaching [1]” help organize and grade teaching matter according to the age, background and psychological make-up of the students to be taught. The judicious and ingenious use of these maxims also helps expedite the teaching-learning process of the students in the academic curriculum.
The researcher has attempted to expose the use of these maxims in giving training or teaching Bharatanatyam by using as a model the curriculum design of Sri Rajarajeshwari Bharatanatya Kala Mandir (the Alma Mater of the researcher, therefore the progression of lessons is as learnt by the researcher then). The researcher has been fortunate to learn under all the gurus of the institution and observe their teaching methods at close quarters; particularly of Late Guru G. Karunambal, the co-founder of the institution Sri Rajarajeshwari Kala Mandir, Mumbai, who taught at the Chembur branch. There, with her, the researcher has worked as trainee, assistant teacher and teacher for nine years. Through observations and analysis of her mentor’s teaching methods as a trainee, the researcher attempts to document the commonly used teaching methods of Bharatanatyam under the varied techniques as per the list of maxims of methodical teaching.

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Friday 11 September 2015

TRENDING by Ashish Mohan Khokar - New Natya Shastra

Natya Shastra must be the most used and abused word today. Wherever I go, Pune or Paris, Baroda or Bolivia, this is one random word thrown by those who wish to impress their bookish, inapplicable knowledge of Indian dance. It is another matter when I ask some obese dancer or guru what NS has to say about age and weight of a dancer fit for stage or what dimensions stage ought to be, then they look blank or have excuses that it was WRITTEN eons ago and not applicable in its entirety today! Some silly teachers have drilled NS so much into ears and brains of poor unsuspecting students that most students are lost today and are feeling dance art is too heavy and redundant. Imagine, even modern dancers are suffering from this overdose of NS. One beauty from Bombay asked me, “Sir, how to use NS in modern dance by Bombay beach?" (as though its content and concepts of purvarangam or rasa theory would be used differently in mountains of Almora or sands of Jodhpur!).

Read the article in the site

Thursday 10 September 2015

Article - History and ritualistic significance of Odissi dance today - Monica Singh Sangwan

Abhinavagupta, the commentator on Bharata’s Natyashastra says that the origin of dance (and of Art) is not something that can be traced. It is as ancient and ever existing as the knowledge contained within the Vedas themselves. Every generation rediscovers it, re-interprets it and gives it its own identity according to their own evolution, state of mind and understanding.
Dance, the representation of joy through our only vehicle, our body, seems to hold universal appeal and continuity. Yet, because we are human and contain intellectual facility to think, to reflect and to wonder and then to come to a conclusion about our place in the universe, a stylization enters that elemental representation of joy and beauty.

The aim of dance according to him is to either entertain or to enlighten. The universe in its abstractness and vastness holds a mystical power over the human mind. The human body is endowed with an incredible tenacity to display the most mystical and vast phenomenon of the universe through its minutest gestures.  Dance is that representation of the infinite through the finite and perishable body of a human soul.

While the history of Odissi dance too is as clouded and obscure in the passage of time as any ancient art is, historical evidence of the dance form suggests a 2000-year-old antiquity and beyond.

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Tuesday 8 September 2015

Culture tourism or tourism culture? - Seen and Heard by Lakshmi Vishwanathan

The most beautiful aspects of Balinese dance which leaves an unforgettable impression on visitors are the locations and spaces where dances are performed everyday of the year. The architectural beauty of temple entrances, the ambience of blooming frangipani trees, the subtly lit courtyards of palaces, the long bamboo poles adorned with flags swaying in the island breeze, fire lamps circling the stage.....the whole picture is one of aesthetic pleasure for the viewer.

Bali (Indonesia) is an island of beauty and Art. The people are gentle, practice their version of Hinduism, believe in tradition and dance like angels. Visiting Bali again after a decade filled me with enthusiasm on the one hand and trepidation on the other. I knew things would have changed, but hoped the old atmosphere was not forsaken entirely for tourism. The famous city Ubud, an ancient capital with a royal palace in central Bali is still a centre for the Arts, but has become over crowded. However, there are still many spots in Bali which have a quiet charm, not yet over run by tourists.

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Sunday 6 September 2015

Article - Kalasutri Bahuliya: A dying puppetry art of Maharashtra - Charanya Gurusathya

Since the days of remote past, rich traditional heritage of arts and culture in India have continued to prove their creative magnificence. With the passage of time and advent of globalization, we have witnessed the emergence of a consistent macro-culture. Under the influence of such a voracious macro-culture the arts and culture of our country is suffering from attrition and erosion. The development of art and cultural organizations has been closely related to government policy to create an environment that is more favorable to arts, artists and cultural development.
Puppetry is a very ancient art form that originated about 3000 years ago. Natya Shastra by Bharatamuni in the second century brings much evidence on puppets. The producer-cum-director of the human theatre has been termed as ‘Sutradhar’ meaning the holder of strings. Puppets have been used since the earliest times to animate and communicate the ideas and needs of human societies. Although puppets have been employed by various disciplines and community, little has been written about their use as a communication tool in research. A qualitative research study on string puppets of Maharashtra is conducted to explore the origin and history of puppetry, to revive the art and to explain how and why traditional art forms continue to have educational efficacy for contemporary developmental projects.

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Tuesday 1 September 2015

Anita says - September 2015

August is Madras month. It was 376 years ago on August 22 that the British leased a small strip of land from the Dutch on a date which is now widely marked as the birth of Madras - Madras Day.  While the celebrations began in a modest way several years ago by a small group of citizens who wanted to revive the "idea" of Madras and its colourful history, the week has now grown to become an entire month filled with talks, heritage walks, and rare cuisine offerings, music, movies  and even standup comedy! Theatres, cafes, art galleries, hotel lobbies, heritage buildings and private homes became venues for the month long celebrations.
For a dancer, it was a dream month. A chance to watch the legends talk, share and perform. To watch practitioners in their seventies and beyond make us gasp and sigh in admiration! 

Read in the site

Roving Eye by Anita Ratnam - September 2015