21st Natyakala Conference - 2001
Chennai, India
An opinion poll:
Lata Pada:
My choice goes to Preethi Athreya who was very intelligent in navigating the traditional parameters of the roopamajuchi varnam with her own study of Laban notation and the concept of choreography on filmas an emerging new genre.

Neila Sathyalingam:
My choices are Leela Samson who showed with out speaking too much all the concepts of choreography, spacing, imagination and ensemble work. My other choice would be Veenapani Chawla who challenged all my original notions of movement by just placing the orchestra and demanding that their presence be registered as choreography.

Malavika Sarukkai was excellent since she used the traditional framework of the solo Bharatanatyam dancer to explore contemporary concepts and applied intelligence and imagination to her presentation.

Dipankar Mukherjee:
I loved guru KJ Sarasa who spoke, danced, corrected her dancers and was totally relaxed in her presentation. I loved her approach to dance and felt that her presentation was the richest in the sum total of its parts.

Bhagirathi Narayan:
I loved Narendra Kumar’s Thillana. Preethi Athreya’s was very interesting and illuminating.I enjoyed every session as I learned something different from everything.

Sreelatha Vinod and Vinod:
Ashish Khokar was clear / precise / on the clock and answered all queries perfectly.

V V Ramani:
As a concept, Lata Pada’s presentation was best as she gave a complete view of what is happening. History of dance is a difficult and vast subject, but Ashish Khokar gave a beautiful presentation. He spoke clearly and fluently and put across facts in a concise manner. Leela Samson’s was a beautiful production, but it was more a performance than a lec/dem. If a little bit of explanation had been given, hers would have been the best.

Sangeeta Isvaran:
I liked Krishnaveni akka’s and Preethi Atreya’s the best. There was contrast between the old and new of the same Kalakshetra tradition. The patterns, the lines, the color, the psyche, that Preethi had shown echoed the ones shown earlier by Krishnaveni akka, yet the dimensions were different. Of all the days, that day had the most to offer something new.

G Narendra:
Most of them who were good with their lectures were bad with their demos. Those who were good with their demos were not up to the mark with their lectures. Preethi’s demo was very good but her talk was too analytical and technical and sort of went over my head. If I were in the audience, I would definitely go by Leela Samson’s work even though there was hardly any lecture and I can’t comment if it even falls into the lec/dem category. That’s because dance is visual, it was understandable, the purpose was served and the action spoke louder than words.

V R Devika:
I am sorry I was not able to be present all the days. I heard Preethi Athreya was good. I also liked Malavika's.

We are not saying this because she is a Kalakshetra product but Leela Samson was the best. No heavy ornamentation or costumes, she had no need to hide behind any tricks. She was simple and absolutely fantastic.

Kamala Devam:
My favorite lec/dem was Leela Samson’s. There was ‘heart’ pervading the entire performance of choreography. It was the most innovative use of Kalakshetra based movement I have seen in India so far. She used a lot of asymmetry and it was refreshing. The dancers were one with her vision.

M V Narasimhachari, M Vasanthalakshmi
While all the papers were well thought-out and presented, two presentations that came with a difference were ‘Choreography work-shops for special needs’ by Astad Deboo and ‘Revealed by Fire’ by Lata Pada. The message that came through both these productions was loud and clear. It revealed the role of art in one’s life as the healer, the guru or the guiding force and above all a true friend.