Friday 29 April 2016

Roses & Thorns - The Journey from Kuchipudi to KitschyPudi - Veejay Sai

Kuchipudi dance form’s woes seem to never end! Just when you think everything might be going fine, something inevitably pops up exposing the undercurrents within the Kuchipudi fraternity. This year’s Central Sangeet Natak Akademi awardees in both senior and junior categories had the whole community up in arms.  For once, everyone had their eyebrows raised in confusion when these names were announced. Almost no one in the larger dancer community has ever heard of both these names, so naturally everyone was puzzled at how a prestigious body like SNA had given awards to these artistes.  Before one gets into these details, it is important to go through a brief history of Kuchipudi itself. 

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Wednesday 27 April 2016

Mothers by Daughters - My mother is my Rock of Gibraltar - Alarmel Valli

In the old corporation school hall in Egmore, where Pandanallur Chokkalingam Pillai and his son Subbaraya Pillai conducted classes during the early years of my training, there were two windows, which we students faced as we danced. Once, a particularly mischievous child from a neighbouring house kept peeping through the bars and making funny faces at me. Momentarily distracted by her antics, I forgot the adavu sequence I was dancing and faltered. I remember as if it were yesterday, my mother's admonition after class, when I tried explaining that my error was only a small one, for which the naughty girl next door was to blame...."Dance is tapas; it’s a sacred commitment. When you go on the floor, every atom of your being should be tuned into the dance - and on nothing but the dance. Even a hundred monkeys capering around the windows should not make you lose focus." It was a cardinal principle that shaped my approach to practice.

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Sunday 24 April 2016

Article - Education in Spiritual Values through Bharatanatyam - Part XIV - (ii) Maxims of teaching and training of margam - Chandra Anand

{This article is based on the identification of the use of the simple device of 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. By observing and analyzing her mentor’s teaching methods as a trainee, the researcher attempts to document the commonly used teaching methods of Bharatanatyam as per the list of maxims of methodical teaching. It has to be mentioned that Guru Karunambal Pillai, has always humbly maintained that she was emulating the methods applied by her father, the legendary Guru Kuppiah Pillai, to train the students in this dance form. The approach to theoretical part is the researcher’s work keeping in mind the exam oriented hobby classes.}

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Saturday 23 April 2016

Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman - ‘Ganjam’ successfully captures flavours of South Odisha

Having been witness in Kuala Lumpur’s Istana Budaya auditorium to the spectacle of over twenty Odissi dancers of Sutra render the production Ganjam capturing the flavours of this district of South Odisha, the idea of Ramli Ibrahim heading a crew of eight dancers for an Indian premier sponsored jointly by Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra and Indian Council for Cultural Relations in association with Sutra Foundation and the Malaysian High Commission, did not make for exciting news. But one has to compliment Ramli’s creative imagination that even with a small troupe one third the size of the original cast, he made the Kamani Auditorium resound with applause in admiration. The manner in which the entire group configurations had to be re-worked to retain optimum effect with such a scaled -down group, called for an understanding of performance space which is Ramli’s hallmark. As usual, team work was excellent and even without the Istana Budaya stage effects and manipulation of stage levels at the Kamani, what was presented was still riveting. Led by dancer composer Gajendra Panda’s expertise with manjira and recitation of ukkutas, the vibrant live music of full- throated singing by Sangita Panda along with Satyabrata, with evocative mardal accompaniment by Rama Chandra Behera and instrumentalists provided an inspiring  melodic format as a take-off point for the dance.

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Tuesday 19 April 2016

Article - Art takes artists to distant shores - P Praveen Kumar

The welcome sign said since “Bogota is 2600 meters above sea level, on the first few days of stay you may feel dizziness or slight headaches; if you get this, don’t worry, it’s completely  normal” and it said the city has serious security problems (What an exciting welcome!). But eventually, all was fine with me and the rest of my group.
As we checked  into the Tenquandam Hotel, all of us were given an individual room and with  great excitement, I opened the curtain of my room to enjoy the view of  Bogota city (I was in 6th  floor), tall buildings, subways, underpasses, cars, bicycles zooming in and out like any other  foreign land, and I notice one more important thing… Men with guns! Yes, these are the policemen patrolling or standing all around the city. In fact, sometimes on late evenings one can   see more of these policemen than the usual crowd on the streets.

These were some of the experiences of my trip to perform in a theatre festival, but before this, the exciting news of me getting invited to Colombia to perform was on a different level because South America conjures visions of hills, adventures, the wonders of nature, coffee, crime at its  peak, drugs, all the necessary components of a crazy  exploration. So for me it was YESSSSS!

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Saturday 16 April 2016

Interview - Nalanda's 'A-Neeti': a unique dance experience - Vasanth Kiran

Recently, on a professional visit to Mumbai, I had a gratifying opportunity to witness an impressive dance presentation ‘A-Neeti’ (Social Injustice). The production is a part of the Golden Jubilee celebration of Nalanda Dance Research Centre, the famous premier dance institution founded by renowned dancer-scholar Dr. Kanak Rele. To Kanak Rele goes the credit of two pioneering achievements in the realm of Indian classical dance, that of reviving, researching and rejuvenating the almost extinct lyrical dance style of Kerala Mohiniattam and successfully introducing high academics in the field of Dance Education, which stands as a benchmark to several other academic institutions of our country.  It is at her instance that the University of Mumbai in 1966 introduced the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Classical Dance. Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya, the world famous exclusive college of classical dances which is affiliated to the University of Mumbai and recognized by U.G.C. is her creation. The college has produced brilliant performers who are also proficient academics.

Apart from her distinguished achievements as a scholar and exponent, Kanak Rele is also one of the leading choreographers of the country. Her production ‘A-Neeti’ is proof of her mastery over choreographic elements. 

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Tuesday 12 April 2016

TRENDING by Ashish Mohan Khokar - Dance Academies and academics

Lectures, baithaks, small gatherings, conferences and academic discussions - this is what my wish-list was 5/7 years ago and so we started Dance DISCourse at Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, under the enlightened presidentship of former Chief Secretary Shri Chiranjiv Singh, also our former ambassador to UNESCO, Culture and Finance Secretary.

And today all over India, this trend has caught on and now it is happening. Nay, trending! I’m happy to report, in the last few years, a concerted effort has led to discussion and debate on dance issues. Of course, I’m not saying this was not the case before but it is more focused and academic now. Earlier, it was about person (personal) and now we have helped change the discourse to professional issues. About history and heritage; icons and pioneers. Not just my-school-or-bani-or-gharana-is-better-than-yours approach but about origins and provenance,  future and trends. 

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Wednesday 6 April 2016

Interview - Astad Deboo: I’m not using dance as therapy but as an art form - Shveta Arora

Globally acclaimed contemporary dancer Astad Deboo has to his credit many exciting collaborations, but most exciting is his work with the deaf, creating full-scale dance productions with people who can’t even hear the music. Astad speaks on his inspirations and the challenges he faces in this path-breaking work.

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Friday 1 April 2016

Roving Eye by Anita Ratnam - April 2016

Anita says - April 2016

"Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong."
- N R Narayana Murthy
Founder, Infosys Technologies

With the fourth month of 2016 already staring at us, we must ask ourselves, what have we done since New Year? Have we stuck by our resolutions and become more dedicated, disciplined and rigorous about our daily practice? Have we looked around to find joy in the simple things that surround us? Have we taken inspiration from other dancers who are doggedly pursuing their goals - no matter what the impediments? Have we nurtured our spirit?

On this note, I must recommend a gorgeous site for all dancers.
It is soaked in positive inspiration that makes us all feel proud and blessed to be in the sphere of dance. 

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