Thursday 31 March 2016

Seen and Heard by Lakshmi Vishwanathan - The temple doors opened!

In the last decade, the kshetra that is Kalakshetra has opened its doors to many Bharatanatyam artists to come in and perform, lecture, demonstrate and so on. Leela Samson did quite a few programs giving "chances" to aspirants.  This season the doors were opened wider with Priyadarsini Govind organising a Baani festival inviting a number of gurus, teachers and practitioners (YES, gurus are different from teachers!). What took place was very interesting, sometimes intriguing too, and altogether engrossing. I hope that soon Kalakshetra will put together a team to look for hidden and forgotten aficionados of some antique Baanis. They, who have a trunk full of "sarakku" - dance treasures, like original compositions (the disciples of Dandayudhapani Pillai to name one traditional Nattuvanar), and old nrtta compositions (Muthuswamy Pillai) need to be researched, studied, seen and archived. It augurs well for Bharatanatyam, the form of dance that has grown the most to get such a widely seen focus. The web streaming.....ah!....what a lovely age we live in... I was delighted to get responses immediately from Aravinth in the east, Hari and Hema in the west, and many more cool browsers! Future such seminars could lead to the expansion of this public funded dance school in a significant manner. Under THIS banyan tree, all Baanis of Bharatanatyam should be nurtured (taught), archived, revived and made the bench marks for a comprehensive Bharatanatyam form in the new age. 

Read the article in the site

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Obit / Tribute - Odissi Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena passes away - Sunil Kothari

Odissi Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena, 75, passed away on March 26, 2016 after a protected illness.
Ramani Ranjan Jena was trained by many gurus in Odissi including Mayadhar Raut, Kelucharan Mahapatra and Raghunath Dutta at Kala Vikash Kendra in Cuttack where he obtained a Master’s degree in Odissi. He was trained as a dancer and used to give several solo performances in the early sixties.

Read the tribute in the site

Monday 28 March 2016

Obit / Tribute - Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena (1941 - 2016)

Odissi Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena passed away on March 26, 2016 in his village Remuna in Odisha. 
Born on August 15, 1941 in Udambar village near Remuna in Balasore district of Odisha, Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena had his initial training in dance and music at the age of 11 from a local teacher. After working with a touring theatre troupe as a child artiste for four years, he joined the Janata Ranga Manch at Cuttack as a dancer.

He was later trained in Odissi under the guidance of Guru Raghunath Dutta, Guru Mayadhar Raut and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra at Kala Vikash Kendra (KVK), Cuttack. He also obtained a bachelor’s degree in Kathak from the KVK. During his six years of stint with the Kendra as a faculty member, Guru Jena was guided by luminaries like Kali Charan Patnaik, Babulal Doshi, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pankaj Charan Das, Deba Prasad Das, Balakrushna Dash, Dhirendra Nath Patnaik and Bhubaneswar Mishra, to pursue the profession as a dancer.

Read the tribute in the site

Saturday 26 March 2016

Profile - K. N. Dandayudhapani Pillai Baani - Hema Rajagopalan

K. N. Dandayudhapani Pillai was born on July 14, 1921 at Kaaraikaal and belonged to a family of musicians. His father A. K. Natesa Pillai was a famous musician under whom he studied music. At the age of 12 he began to give regular concerts. However, his grandfather Ramakrishna Pillai was a well known Bharatanatya vidvan who trained Dandayudhapani in the art of Bharatanatyam. Dandayudhapani Pillai taught at Kalakshetra for 7 years. He was also a relative of Pandanallur Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and had the opportunity to interact and work with him, according to what he told us.

Read the profile in the site

Sunday 6 March 2016

Obit / Tribute - Kalanidhi Maami - Manjula Amaresh

Kalanidhi Narayanan (fondly called as Maami) used to visit Dubai to see her son. I had moved to Dubai with my husband Amaresh. I had heard about and watched many of Maami’s abhinaya. Through Deepa Ganesh, (another disciple of Kalanidhi Narayanan) I got to know that Maami was conducting an abhinaya workshop. Though it was a 2 hour drive (one way) to Maami’s house, I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to learn from the great veteran. 

Read the tribute in the site

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Anita says - March 2016

"Secure your pension but don’t you dare give up on your passion."
- Dancer and bureaucrat Ananda Shankar Jayant at the Harvard India seminar, Cambridge, USA

Landing a few hours ago from my first US /UK trip this year has meant that my fingers, toes, face and hands are still thawing from a historically cold Polar February! While throwing off my layers of winter warmers, my thoughts race across the many kinds of performances I watched in the past two weeks.  

A verbal recap...

Roving Eye by Anita Ratnam - March 2016