Sunday 27 June 2021

Bipin Singh: A lodestar in dancers' constellation - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

 Guru Bipin Singh (1918 – 2000), a director, choreographer and scholar of Manipuri dance, is regarded as Father of Manipuri style for more reasons than one. First, he displayed an early flair for ordinal skill (i.e., naming the elements he could identify in the traditions of Lai Haraoba as well as Nata Sankirtan and the seven Ras Leelas that could be amalgamated in the emerging Manipuri form); ordinal skill (i.e., deciding relative importance to be attached to each element); and interval skill (i.e., determining how much or how little he would attach depth and duration to each element). To this could be added his formidable combinatorial skill (i.e., resolving what the most aesthetic combination would be that would genuinely enrich the newly emerging style and its holistic expression).....

Darshana summarises her approach as follows: "The lifelong creative contribution of Guru Bipin Singh to widen the horizon of classical Manipuri dance is unparalleled.The vast knowledge of tradition of Ras and Sankirtan, in-depth study of Shastras and his creative genius with aesthetic sensibility enabled him to create repertoire including training courses and choreographies for stage presentation. Guru Pratistha has tried to bring out the beauty and richness of a few of his rare choreographies, having roots in the tradition of Ras and Sankirtan of Manipur. The eight segments of Guru Pratistha are: 1. Nritya Siksha (teaching system), 2. Nrittabandha (pure dance), 3. Prabandha (musical composition), 4. Tandava (male form), 5. Kirti Prabandha (mukhbol-poem), 6. Gaman (gaits), 7. Anukriti (interpretative dance) and 8. Shevadhi (dedication). Each segment is interpreted by Darshana Jhaveri and Sanjib Bhattacharya, disciples of Guru Bipin Singh, through their experiences, as the process behind each creation of his."

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Thursday 24 June 2021

Odissi's breath of fresh air - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

 Parampara - A Classical Dance Festival, with Odissi presentation organized online by Shinjan Nrityalaya, under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture and EZCC, presented a bevy of bright young third generation dancers on June 17, the first day.

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Saturday 19 June 2021

Article - How can dance teachers continually provide a success path for their students? - Ramaa Venugopalan

 The journey of a teacher in art is a long, arduous unique path with each student. When the performative phase begins, the challenges are far more complicated. In today's art world where mostly every dancer is a performer / teacher, I do wonder how much can each of us pave the path for our students? How much can we push them towards a successful performative journey, with top notch performance experiences, exposure and ensure alongside that we are also growing?

This becomes exceedingly challenging especially when both the teacher and the taught are both actively performing. Earlier, teachers would only teach, conduct and plan performances of their disciples. The lines were clear. A capable and knowledgeable teacher could churn out many successful students, and students would either stay the course or find their own journey ahead. The scene now has changed immensely. It is not enough to just impart art, but also constantly find performance opportunities for the students.

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Thursday 17 June 2021

Article - Sringara and Bhakti in Naatya - V. P. Dhananjayan

(Text of lecture demonstration given by V.P. Dhananjayan first appeared as article in 'The Journal of The Madras Music Academy Vol. LIV')

Art and culture are the two inseparable aspects of human life. Art in its innumerable forms is the reflection of the creative ability of man and serves and preserves the cultural heritage of any nation. From time immemorial the different art forms have been the media for worship and a pathway to salvation or 'moksha.'

Whatever we may say or do, the ultimate goal of human life is salvation. Therefore, religious institutions fostered these art forms to a high degree of perfection and thereby inculcated the spirit of righteousness through devotion to the supreme architect of this diversified universe. Amongst these beautiful creations of art, 'natya' or dance is considered to be the finest and most

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Wednesday 16 June 2021

New Muse for new normal - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

In ancient Greece, Muses were the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. Considered as the source of knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric songs, and myths -- related orally for centuries in the Greek culture -- the nine Muses were the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, figuring as personifications of knowledge and the arts. Out of them, Enterpe was the specific Muse for music, song and lyrical poetry, with a flute-like musical instrument as her symbol. Along with the Satyrs, she was supposed to have toured all Asia and Europe, teaching the arts wherever she went.

Apparently, Aditi Mangaldas, the renowned Kathak dancer with an international footprint and the trained performers from her Drishtikon Dance Foundation, did not quite accept the ugly visage of the rampaging monster of corona today at its face value. They set about the changing seasons experienced by each Drishtikon artist from the confines of their homes and yearned to interpret the seasons in the flight of their imagination to elucidate their feelings. They shot a film themselves -- with the help of their friends and family -- working within the limitations of the space they had and with whatever recording facilities they owned.

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Thursday 10 June 2021


How does an institution survive if the onslaught of indifference and negligence continue to shadow it? For 85 years, Kalakshetra has survived the various vagaries of politics and changing Government priorities. Now a national institution of eminence, this Chennai based Bharatanatyam academy is welcoming a new governing board WITH NO BHARATANATYAM DANCER ON THE LIST. How does such a blunder happen? What is the excuse for this glaring oversight?

How does the government’s culture wing make these ad hoc decisions about a national institution of eminence known predominantly for BHARATANATYAM without including a name that is either from the Alumni or another eminent artiste from the same discipline? How many of the newly appointed members even know how to read a government document? How many actually know the historic relevance of KALAKSHETRA and its enormous impact on the cultural personality of modern India? How can they contribute and guide the director to implement her vision? Why this blatant indifference to such a historic institution with a global influence in standards and style?

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Saturday 5 June 2021

Anita says...June 2021


The silence, was broken by a sob
In the darkness, a shadow trembled
The air was damp, with unshed tears...
...and had a strange smell of sorrow
The melancholic gloom..of a broken spirit, a bruised heart..
dying a slow deafening desolation!

- Romi Mittal

As the list of beloved and admired artistes being felled by the virulent India-B 16:17 variant increases almost daily, all of India is in intense lockdown mode. The rest of the world seems to be slowly unfurling into a quieter and more cautious movement towards "normalcy". The gates of homes are open, sidewalks are spilling over with friends finally meeting over coffee and endless chatter, and yes, artistes are prepping for some outdoor events this summer.
But not in India, as we seem to be facing a never ending stretch of dreary monotony.

Roving Eye curated by Anita Ratnam - June 2021


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Tuesday 1 June 2021

Anvesana's Reflections in Solitude stir creative energies to fresh leaps of hope - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Like a ray of sunshine amidst darkness was Anvesana - Reflections in Solitude, brainchild of Lata Pada, organised by her dance centre Sampradaya Dance Creations of Montreal in Canada. This unique initiative, premiering a digital dance festival of commissions, featuring an excellent choice of four dancers pertaining to different Indian classical disciplines, in solo performances, revealed how the quiet of non- performance, aside from not draining the performer's physical energies, does not reflect aridity in art. Creativity needs solitude and quiet for deep reflection and for new ideas to sprout, throwing up unexplored terrain leading to new directions, while being rooted in the ethos of the dance form.

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