Tuesday 16 July 2024

Article - Pencils and Pirouettes - Shruti Patki

The parallels between learning to write and learning to dance are striking. Just as you don't master writing the moment you first hold a pencil, you don't become a dancer the day you step into your first dance class. Both skills require patience, practice, and a deep understanding of foundational elements.

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Monday 15 July 2024

Week of exceptional programs - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

In a week of out-of-the-box presentations, the solo glory of the Bharatanatyam evening titled Taapita, singed every person in the audience, with the burning intensity of sringar, as evoked by dancer Pritam Das, on June 20 at the Stein auditorium, Delhi. This exceptionally endowed dancer, after initial training under Jayati Ghosh and Samrat Dutta, has for the last eight years been training under Rama Vaidyanathan of Ganesa Natyalaya. Gifted with a reed slim body which can move any which way at incredible speed, not to speak of an inbuilt feel for the fractional intervals of a tala or time cycle, Pritam tops all this with a deep sense of commitment to his career in Bharatanatyam....

A mixed theatre/dance background always adds a vital dimension to a dancer's work, and so it has been in the case of dancer Sudip Chakraborty - writer, storyteller and a TEDx speaker, whose seventeen year Kathak experience, coming on top of Bharatanatyam learning in the Kalakshetra mode, had its finishing point under Guru Jaikishen Maharaj, after years under Pranab Sanyal and Sandip Mallick. The youngster has also trained in pakhawaj under Pt Ravi Shankar Upadhayye. The dance knowhow has been enriched by theatrical experience flowing from working in local group theatres of Kolkata.....

It was very fitting that for an occasion remembering an independent minded woman like late Madhavi Gopalakrishnan, a work like 'And She Spoke' on the voices of women in a deep rooted patriarchal society, should be presented at the IIC, Delhi. One of the trustees, daughter Meera Khanna, in her introductory remarks hit the nail on the head with the statement of her as "a mother who taught us to never be dependent on her" while her sibling, dancer Rama Vaidyanathan, has on several occasions referred to her own mental stamina in facing up to career ruffles, as a result of the strength drawn from her mother.....

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Thursday 11 July 2024

Article - The connection is in the creativity, sustainable communities through Community based Arts - Serenity Wise

Not many know it, but there is a lot of power in your local weekly community dance class. I have always been involved in some type of community-based arts group (mainly dance). After extensive opportunities to learn from dance groups around the world, I began to notice something beyond the specific dance activities at hand. There was something significant about the ability each group had to educate, inspire growth, and foster a sense of belonging amongst its participants. To better understand how arts groups do what they do, I began to research, starting through my own art form of choice, dance. I have since spent the last eight years exploring and researching the informal and formal ways that community dance groups operate, and how they do what they do. While there is an ample and increasing amount of literature about the benefits of community-based arts groups, there is less information available about how the groups create those benefits. To contribute to this aspect of the research, I regularly seek opportunities to connect with dancers, to learn about their groups and dance practices. Whenever  possible, I invite them to speak to my classes of dance students, to share insight into their processes.

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Wednesday 10 July 2024

Live dance and taped music - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Classical dance performed to recorded music has become an accepted phenomenon today. Even about fifty years ago, thoughts of performing Bharatanatyam or Kathak to anything but live music, was unthinkable. Sponsors, finding the cost of dance programs with live music (particularly in connection with dancers having to come from outside cities) too hard on the purse, have themselves eased earlier preconditions, agreeing to dancers performing to taped music....

Apeksha Niranjan with her eloquently expressive eyes is undoubtedly a fitting candidate for her own choreography of the Bharatanatyam program at the Stein auditorium titled 'Nayana', with its accent on the importance of the eye in dance communication. The entire verse of the Abhinaya Darpana (The mirror of Gestures) Yatha hasta tatho drishti, Yatha drishti tatho manah, Yatho manah tatho rasah,... is on the process of evoking the aesthetic sentiment or 'rasa', which cannot happen, without the total involvement of the mind....

Presented by Shree Mahamaya Arts and Culture, Dr Sreemoyee Gangopadhyay's concept of Agneya is fashioned round woman's relationship with fire from birth to death. Whether during Puja, Utsav, Vivaha, Yagna or Chitaah, the Indian woman has fire as an inseparable concomitant of life. Trained in the Debaprasad style of Odissi, Dr.Gangopadhyay dips into mythology, drawing from its episodes, a social view point associated with life even today, portrayed through multiple dance styles like Odissi, Bharatanatyam and Kathak.

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Tuesday 9 July 2024

Article - In Response to Gayatri Iyer's article in The Hindu about Indian classical dance and Queerness - In context of Dharmic Texts, Characters and Bharatanatyam - Ramaa Venugopalan

Why are Indian classical arts hesitant to depict queerness?

By Gayatri Iyer

"It is no surprise that proscenium stages in Chennai are still hesitant to showcase this subject matter. When queer dancers themselves struggle for acceptance, how can we expect the subject of queerness in art to be unequivocally accepted? Perhaps, the answer lies in looking to the past, before our sensibilities were encumbered by Victorian ideals, to a society that produced the image of Ardhanarishvara - neither man, nor woman, but both simultaneously.''

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Monday 1 July 2024

Anita says...July 2024

 "We are approaching a major turning point in world history... It is a juncture at which concepts suddenly become hazy, lose their precise contours, at which our familiar and commonly used words lose their meaning."

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian author

And here we are again!

It's the beginning of the month and I am sharing my thoughts and ideas of what has intrigued me or tugged at my mind screen these past 30 days.

The acclaimed words of the Russian author return to our minds as we see the end of a tumultuous Indian election, the looming uncertainty of the US elections, the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Russia, Israel, and Palestine - a divided population and a socio-political landscape where lies speak louder than truths. How do these macro events filter into the lives of dancers and musicians for better or worse? We cannot ignore the growing power of social media about which I shall comment on later in this edition.

With Italian Prime Minister Giorgio Meloni making the Namaste an internationally accepted gesture which became viral at the G7 meeting, I will open this ANITA SAYS iteration with a Namaste to all of you. What I am sharing are not declarations, but ideas that I hope can stimulate more discussion, conversation, and hopefully, feedback.

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