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Actor, director, choreographer, writer and composer Veenapani Chawla, passed away around 11am on November 30, 2014 at a hospital in Pondicherry. She was 67. In 1981, she founded the Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Art Research in Pondicherry to promote research into the creation of new performance methodologies.

Remembering Veenapani Chawla - Message from  Adishakti Laboratory


An evening of performance & remembrance
Kalairani's "Varugalaamo" at Spaces, Besant Nagar on 18 Dec 2014, 6pm
The sudden passing of theatre visionary Veenapani Chawla in Pondicherry on November 30th, has come as a huge shock to the cultural community in India and to her vision of ADISHAKTI, the  creative space she founded 20 years ago in Auroville, Tamilnadu.

Veenapani, or VP as she was known to her close friends, envisioned a holistic way of interpreting theatre, text and living that concentrated on the power of breath and the larger vision of the MOTHER of Pondicherry.
In her passing, ADISHAKTI has been left in a huge crisis that needs your help to surive.
Veenapani was a mentor to me and a huge source of inspiration in many of my solo works.

To continue her vison and to support the team at ADISHAKTI, led by Vinay Kumar and Nimmy, to continue their work, we must all contribute whatever we can to help them tide over this time of crisis.
The bank details for money transfers

Please help.  Nothing you can give is too small. An important cultural legacy of India is calling out for help!

Thank you
Anita Ratnam, Chennai





Hoysaleswara temple, Halebid, Karnataka
Photo: Lalitha Venkat




There is so much more to do

- Anita Ratnam, Femina, 1 Dec 2014
Femina's 55th anniversary issue - My journey


Anita says.....

Travelling for performances and other engagements overseas is extremely taxing. From the packing (23kg weight limit is directly aimed at torturing Indian dancers!) to pulling the luggage across endless airport corridors or train stations, loading into hotel rooms and green rooms, getting dressed and later, packing up – it can feel both exhausting and lonely. I have been in so many green rooms in glamorous cities staring into the mirror asking myself, “What am I doing here?” Sometimes one gets lucky, like I did last month in Washington DC. The young assistants assigned to me actually KNEW what they were doing. Daniel Singh’s 11th annual DAKSHINA Fall festival was a medley of various performances mounted over a 3 day weekend at the beautiful Shakespeare Theatre Company auditorium at Harmon Hall. Apart from the central location of the festival venue, the beautiful space came equipped with large green rooms and a dedicated wardrobe mistress who patiently ironed out the zillion pleats of my blue silk costume (all the time muttering under her breath, “I hate pleats!”). Fruits, snacks, tea, coffee were all laid out and volunteers cheerfully ran up and down bringing us safety pins, hair spray, gel and whatever. With the quick changes needed for my SPIRALS show, my two ultra smart dancers turned assistants, Kasi Aysola and Madhavi, set up a mini change station just off stage and helped me with meticulous and practiced perfection. Such a huge relief! Adding to the bonus was 23 year old Aysola, a professional MAC makeup artiste, who created a flawless finish to my face. I just walked out of the theatre and into the after party at a hip bookstore/bistro wearing the false eyelashes with aplomb!

Eleven years of sustained hard work to build a community of dance lovers in Obama land is not a mean feat. Daniel Singh has worked in relative isolation with several challenges thrown his way. New presenters with deep pockets who came along much later also brought the usual diaspora mentality of Divide and Rule. The Indian community has taken its own time to welcome Daniel into their fold and while the links still remain tenuous, his silent struggle is finally getting noticed. Uncomfortable with loud PR and social media blitzkriegs, Daniel’s 11th edition of the Dakshina Festival drew good but not houseful crowds. However, the bonus for an artiste like me was to have the opportunity to watch the performances of colleagues like Ananda Shankar Jayant and Ramaa Bharadvaj. Senior gurus like the Dhananjayans were also seen in intense and patient rehearsals with their students and the supreme professionalism of Daniel’s team was evident in every aspect of the festival.

Read more....







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