Thursday, 19 January 2017

Obit/Tribute - Ranjana Jhaveri: Loss to Manipuri dance - Dr. Sunil Kothari

Manipuri exponent Ranjana Jhaveri, 87, disciple of Guru Bipin Singh, passed away on 17th January 2017 at Mumbai after a protected illness. Ranjana was the second elder sister of the four well known Manipuri exponents, the Jhaveri Sisters. The senior most was late Nayana Jhaveri.
The four sisters Nayana, Ranjana, Suvarna and Darshana were trained by Guru Bipin Singh in  Mumbai from early forties. The four formed a group by 1950 and started performing in Mumbai. They were closely associated with Bharatiya Vdya Bhavan and Indian National Theatre (INT) in Mumbai. Their father Navnitlal Jhaveri was a very progressive person and encouraged his  daughters to learn dance. The early forties were not very conducive and in favour of young educated girls to take to dancing. Dancing was still looked down upon as an art form. But the entire family was a great admirer of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and his love for the arts.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Changing faces of Kathak Kendra - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

The well-known tenets of Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s apex body of the performing arts, overview “the vast (tangible and) intangible heritage of our diverse cultural expressions in music, dance and drama”.  Over time, SNA has been promoting  the practice, growth and awareness of various art forms and led to the setting up of such constituent units as Jawaharlal Nehru Manipuri Dance Akademi, Kathak Kendra, Sattriya Kendra and Rabindra Rangashala; and such centres as Kutiyattam Kendra, Chhau Centre and North-East Centre. Arguably, all the other southern classical forms as Bharatanatyam, Kathakali and Kuchipudi, and the eastern Odissi have so far been left to fend for themselves.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

5th International Kuchipudi Dance Convention - Footloose and fancy free with Dr. Sunil Kothari

With the division of Andhra Pradesh in Telangana State and new Andhra Pradesh state, the Kuchipudi village now belongs to Andhra Pradesh with its new capital Amaravathi.  In order to celebrate the formation of new Andhra Pradesh State under its Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Anand Kuchibhotla, Founder /Chairman of Silicon Andhra from USA, organized in collaboration with Dept of Language and Culture, Govt of Andhra Pradesh, the  5th International Kuchipudi Dance Convention at Vijayawada at specially constructed venue next to Indira Gandhi Stadium from 23rd to 25th December 2016.

Known for his flawless organizing capacities, Anand Kuchibhotla with Silicon Andhra volunteers and various local Vijayawada authorities, in collaboration with Govt of Andhra Pradesh, gathered more than 6000 Kuchipudi dancers who arrived from abroad and within India to participate in the three day festival, showcasing a staggering variety of Kuchipudi dance drama tradition at the spacious Golden Hall which Kuchibhotla managed to create for presentation of dance dramas and group performances, including lec-dems and lectures, culminating into Mahabrindra Natyam for Guinness World Records.

Large screens were placed on either side of the stage on which the proceedings were screened so that the large crowds could watch the various activities and also performances. The site was dazzling with Dashavatara figures on either side of Lord Shiva’s statue in the centre. And a moving camera was handled by the technicians projecting close ups as well as various scenes of dance dramas. The camera moved unobtrusively making it convenient for large gathering to watch the proceedings.

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Article - Education in Spiritual Values through Bharatanatyam - Part XV - Spirituality: Eternal aspect in Bharatanatyam - Chandra Anand

Art works are concrete symbols of human abstractions from life. Therefore, “the process of creating art is a process of making the universe knowable by bringing it within the range of man's consciousness, by establishing its relationship to man. In regard to human art, man has to be the measure, since he has to bring all things into the realm of the humanly knowable. By a selective recreation, art isolates and integrates those aspects of reality which represent man's fundamental view of himself and existence. For this, the methods which he has to employ require the most rigorous aesthetic precision, the most rigorous compliance with objective rules and facts -- if the end product is to be art.” [1]. Then, it becomes a criterion that all concepts in art are related to humans and their experiences, within reason that, although, all humans have different experiences in varying degrees of intensity with regard to their relationships with other people, the basic emotions of love and affection remain the same in all civilizations, whether ancient or modern.

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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Interface of Sthiti Gati polarities - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Being anchored in core principles, while changing unconsciously or deliberately, moving through the corridor of time, has been the history of Bharatanatyam – as of many other traditional disciplines. Built round the theme Sthiti Gati, the 36th Natya Kala Conference mounted by Yagnaraman Centre for Performing Arts and Sri Krishna Gana Sabha brought out these complementing polarities of the Constant and the Changing. Amidst a host of high profile dancers who have conducted this event,   this year’s Srinidhi Chidambaran earned a hearty vote of approval for her meticulously planned calendar of events each day, (worked out with Aalaap as creative collaborator) giving equal opportunity for all shades of expression, her own neatly worked out introductions for artists /events to the point, flattering without gush. Politely firm on adherence to time specifications, she maintained an underplayed presence without hogging performance space or thrusting her opinions on anyone - her greatest achievement being in painstakingly contacting persons running dance institutions through volunteers, ensuring a near full auditorium every day, with several young minds instead of the handful of middle aged and senior faithfuls in attendance every day.

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

5th Margazhi Dance Festival at Navi Mumbai - Footloose and fancy free with Dr. Sunil Kothari

It was an eye opener for me to attend the 5th Margazhi Dance Festival that spanned 3 different days at Vashi, New Mumbai, held by G.V. Ramani Foundation’s Takshashila Dance Academy and Kalpavruksha Dance Academy. Though I am a Mumbaikar, having moved away from there in 1980 to Kolkata and then to New Delhi, my connections with Mumbai are strong. When I visit Mumbai, it gives me an opportunity to see how in last 30 years classical dance scene has developed. In particular, the development of forms like Bharatanatyam in greater Mumbai has been quite impressive. Besides the pioneers like late Kuppaiah Pillai and his sons Guru Mahalingam, Kalyanasundaram and son-in-law Govindraj Pillai and their Rajarajeswari Bharatanatya Kala Mandir, others like gurus Kalasadan Mani, G. V. Ramani and Rajee Narayan have also contributed to popularise Bharatanatyam . Mumbai has extended to Navi Mumbai with these two principal institutions, running academies for dance and holding annual Margazhi festivals. 

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Monday, 9 January 2017

Malavika Sarukkai: Sharing the larger vision - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

In an exchange with Malavika Sarukkai in the space her dance studio opens out to, with the delightful bougainvillea at the side, its pink blossoms lending a fine touch of colour, I ask her about the latest ‘acharya’ award bestowed on her by the Music Academy, which comes at a time when she is on the verge of reaching the landmark of fifty years of dancing and 45 years of performing, on the 6th of March. She plans to be in Chidambaram before the Lord to offer her samarpanam.
How does the title of Acharya fit in?
I think it means in the sense of overall contribution to the art form - your legacy and what you have achieved in so many years in the field. 

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