Saturday, 4 July 2020

Thadhiginathom: Part 1 - Zakir Diary


Preamble
I was born in the village of Thurinjipatti in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. A village so remote and obscure but idyllic and blessed with natural resources. Situated on the foothills of Yerkadu, its picturesque beauty seemed straight out of a movie. The village benefitted from the plentiful rainfall on the hills which provided for an abundance of good drinking water in the wells, a constant supply of fish in the canals, bountiful harvests in the fields, and healthy cattle herds to roam.

A majority of the village’s residents belonged to the communities of Kounder, scheduled castes, Muslims, and Oriya speaking Boyar. They each had dedicated places of worship and their traditional ways of worshiping. There were not more than a hundred and fifty to two hundred households in the small village. In addition, the Nayakkar community made up a small minority of no more than four or five households.

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The contribution of Kathak exponents Dr. Puru Dadheech and Vibha Dadheech - Footloose and fancy free with Dr.Sunil Kothari


In the world of classical Kathak, the names of Dr. Puru Dadheech and his wife Vibha Dadheech's names are taken with great respect. Being self effacing by temperament and low profile, they were not known to other classical dance exponents and gurus. However, in Madhya Pradesh Kathak world they are legends.

Before Covid 19, in February in Mumbai, Dr. Sandhya Purecha, while celebrating centenary of Acharya Parvati Kumar, had arranged a special series of lectures by Dr. Puru Dadheech on Natyashastra and Kathak. This was for the first time ever that such a series was arranged at Bharata College, where a special course on classical Kathak and Natyashastra has been finalized and is offered as a course. I happened to attend Dr. Dadheech's lectures and as we were staying in the same hotel, I sought appointment with him to learn more about his career and the course. Of course, I had known about the couple as both had performed at Kal Ke Kalakar festival at C. J. Hall in Mumbai for Sur Singar Samsad.

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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Anita says...July 2020

We dance...
to breathe, to bring the soul to the fore, to be free
to remember, to experience, to imagine, to connect, to share
to include all and leave none, to travel together, to persevere
to lift each other's spirit, to realise possibilities, to transcend boundaries
to inhabit spaces beyond the body, to manifest the extraordinary
to stand in the present and reach out to the future, to conjure the unknown
to be proud in our bodies, to coalesce all parts of our being into one
to wear eyes and ears all over our bodies, to welcome all colours and sounds
to reach the centre from the periphery
We dance to feel alive!
Stand up for dance! Stand up for all!

- Jayachandran Palazhy (Founder, Artistic Director, Attakkalari)

Another month passes. Touch is out. Distancing is in. Tempers run rampant. Patience runs thin. The body passes into numbness, no matter how hard we try to find a rhythm and a routine. Television is a cannibal, feeding on carcasses of dead ideas. In small cozy WhatsApp groups, the elite discuss "serious" issues and weigh in on life and death matters while sipping a "garam chai", filter coffee or a chilled Chardonnay - with coordinated designer masks of course!

How much longer can we continue to hope that things will resume as they were for the live arts? How fervently can we pray for the world to resume its chaotic but recognizable patterns? How many more appeals can we encounter without withering into cynical ennui? For those of us who have donated, supported, purchased and encouraged performers, crafts persons, weavers and creative people across all spectrums, the endless litany of woes does not seem to have a finish line.

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