A joyous Diwali season to all our readers!
October has been a seesaw month for residents of Tamilnadu. Torrential rains, flooded streets and unbridled celebrations on the release of my Chief Minister from incarceration. Performances cancelled due to either water logged streets or political unrest and endless retail therapy. In all, October has already been full of surprises and unexpected news.
Congratulations to Aakash Odedra and Akram Khan who have been voted Outstanding Performer and Outstanding Production respectively at the BESSIE awards. What this means will be fodder for a more detailed editorial. For now, let us acknowledge the role of British dance and its nurturing these amazing performers. Congratulations.
- Anita Ratnam

On October 20, 2014 the BESSIE AWARDS for performance went to Akram Khan for production of ‘Desh’ and Aakash Odedra for 'James Brown, Get on the Goodfoot, A celebration in Dance' arranged and shaped by Otis Sallid at the Apollo Theatre, NYC. The music was deconstructed by Aakash and padhant, recitation of mnemonics, bols, was done by Prashant Shah, prime disciple of Kumudini Lakhia.

Techno Guru
Cartoon by Veena Basavarajaiah

I’m an ardent follower of Narthaki for past few years.
Thank you so much for all your dedication and effort.

- Bindu Pratap, CA

Anita says.....

There is an eerie unease in my home state. The events of the last few days of September have been so contrasting in timbre that we have been left holding our breath, afraid to exhale.

My Chief Minister has been incarcerated, violence erupted on the streets of Tamilnadu and Indian Americans thronged New York streets as my Prime Minister addressed the world from the United Nations, Central Park and Madison Square Garden. Against the tragedy of floods in Kashmir and Assam, the heroic rescue attempts by the Indian armed forces, the chest pumping pride of ISRO scientists sending the Mangalyaan orbiter to Mars was juxtaposed women wailing, beating their chests, men immolating themselves and rolling on the streets of Tamilnadu, weeping for their jailed “Amma”. Pure theatre in a 360 degree surround sound atmosphere.

So forget the auditoriums and theatres where the “real” stuff is supposed to happen. On street corners, apartment clusters, sports stadiums and playgrounds, hundreds upon thousands were either glued to their TV sets to watch the political drama being played out or congregated in hordes to clap hands, strike sticks, sing, cheer, swirl and twirl to the familiar sounds of music and rhythm. The streets were awash in Tamilnadu with a mixture of rage and rapture. Elsewhere there was a surge of colour and energy, the bylanes of Goddess temples throbbed with song and conch, estrogen surged and smiles stretched beyond shoulders to the Indian coastlines and beyond.

This is really a joyous time to be in India or anywhere close to the IDEA of India across this globe. New clothes, more jewellery, a visit to your guru for new beginnings of learning; endless bonhomie, entertaining, overeating, sugar highs, upset stomachs and happy hearts. Of course, performances of dance and music are amplified during this season, artistes concentrating on the devotional and traditional repertoire rather than experimentation.

I was in the midst of a giant wedding last month, where I was able to watch, up close, the many dancers and musicians who were invited to perform amidst the emerald chandeliers, French patisserie chefs and Korean gourmet concoctions. Russian ballet did a pas de deux with Carnatic music, chamber orchestras played toe to toe with beat boxing hip hop dancers and Bharatanatyam groups... it was delicious madness and a chance to see how the Indian classical performers matched up to the casual ease with which the “others” blended into glitzy hotel ballrooms and giant shamiana/pandals. Indian divas had mini and maxi tantrums, demanding attention from young harassed volunteers, photographers and wedding decorators threw their weight everywhere, demanding that senior relatives MOVE so they could get a better shot of the wedding couple. It was pure theatre at every moment and a signal that perhaps our classical arts are not meant for these mega weddings of today. Well known names were distinctly off key to a distracted crowd thronging towards the food pavilions. The Kalakshetra ensemble and the all woman veena group from Bangalore were listed to perform after one such high profile wedding. When I saw the VIPs rush towards the food pandals, there may have been a handful only to watch the scheduled performances.  So why should renowned artistes accept these invitations? Money? Prestige? Gone are the days when the greats performed at wedding receptions and private events to an attentive and appreciative crowd of guests. MS Subbalakshmi, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and DK Pattammal among others were frequently heard at these family occasions. Dancer Padma Subrahmanyam premiered her iconic ‘Krishnaya Tubhyam Namaha’ at a wedding reception in 1974, while yours truly had her arangetram at a similar evening (My uncle’s reception at the now defunct Abbotsbury Hall, Chennai).

Read more....

Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra presented its 58th edition of Ram Lila
at the Kendra lawns from September 25 to October 21, 2014
Photos courtesy: Shoba Deepak Singh

Birthday wishes
Roja Kannan (Bharatanatyam) - Oct 6
Raja Reddy (Kuchipudi) - Oct 6
Chitra Visweswaran (Bharatanatyam) - Oct 12
Rathna Kumar (Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam) - Oct 27
Hema Rajagopalan (Bharatanatyam) - Oct 28

"When you cannot hold the body still, you cannot hold the brain still. If you do not know the silence of the body, you cannot understand the silence of the mind. Action and silence have to go together. If there is action, there must also be silence. If there is silence, there can be conscious action and not just motion."
- BKS Iyengar

Varying forms, engaging communication
- S D Desai

Arnab Bandopadhyay's Yugaant and Bimbavati Devi's Devatmayee
- Tapati Chowdurie

Elegant dancing by Gopika Varma
- Usha Rk

An evening of Nritya Katha
- Maya Kulkarni

From the real to the realm of dream
- Padma Jayaraj

Interface 2014: A panorama of dances across the world
- Sulagna Mukhopadhyay

Navarasa Nayaka and Neerasa Nayika
- Veejay Sai

Nayaka-Nayika Festival
- Poornima Gururaja

Meera festival of dances
- Lalitha Venkat

Trinethra Dance and Music Festival
- Sreedevi N. Nampoothiri

Shakti Dance presented Meera as homage to Lakshmi Shankar
- Prem Souri Kishore

Natya Tarangini’s Bhavayami
- Shveta Arora

The earthly lila of Ram
- Shveta Arora

Satiating the artistic quest with a splendid concert
- Supriya Rajan

Bengaluru International Arts Festival
- Meghna Venkat

Adding extra flourish to Bharatanatyam
- Neha Desai

Two dazzling gems at Navaneetham’s Yuva Nrithyathi
- Supriya Rajan

Jhelum 60, Smitalay 25
- Lalitha Venkat

Education in spiritual values though Bharatanatyam: Part 1
- Chandra Anand

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