dancer Bireshwar Gautam was murdered by 24-year-old actor Kush Agnihotri
in Mumbai on December 12, 2009. He was 42. Biru's body was found lying
at his residence with some marks on the neck, and was found by one of his
students, who was trying to contact him since morning. Biru headed the
department of Kathak at the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Vashi,
in Navi Mumbai and the Sur Jhankar academy at the ISKON, Juhu.
"It is a tragic
and untimely death. For those of us who knew him, Bireshwar was a rare
talent as he excelled both as a Kathak dancer and a singer of Thumris.
The world of classical dance has not only lost an excellent male dancer
but we too have lost a friend who was a kind and warm hearted human being
and a generous friend to many. To mark the day of his passing and to honour
the memory of a good man and fine artiste, it is my humble suggestion that
all of us close our respective institutions for one day, at individual
Mohapatra and Srjan family
his guru Damayanti Joshi selflessly and also his muse, Kathak. He organised
Purush Dance Festivals and did much for Kathak in Mumbai. A fine dancer
and teacher, he was an able representative of Mumbai's dance fraternity.
A sad and tragic end and a loss to dance world."
- Ashish Mohan
a long illness, Bharatanatyam guru Peria Sarada (born Sept 1, 1915) passed
away at 3pm on November 4, 2009 at Chennai. She was 94. S Sarada came to
Kalakshetra (Chennai) in 1939 as a young woman of 24, well acquainted with
various works of art and advaita but still a non-entity. When she retired
from Kalakshetra in 1985, she was acknowledged as a diligent scholar and
a fine teacher, her name synonymous with the institution next only to Rukmini
Devi and Sankara Menon.
teacher: (91-44) - 24914044
William Skelton, who took generations of Colgate University students on
the India Study Group that he created and who founded the Colgate Concert
Orchestra, passed away on September 23, 2009. He was 86. A bassoonist,
he also became adept at playing Indian instruments, particularly the veena
and nagaswaram. He was closely associated with the work of Bharatanatyam
guru Sudharani Raghupathy.
artist Serbjeet Singh, husband of art critic Shanta Serbjeet Singh, passed
away in Delhi on the morning of August 28, 2009. He is famous for his paintings
on panoramic views of mountains.
based guru Sundari Santhanam, senior student of Padma Subrahmanyam, died
of cancer, at 7.30pm on August 24, 2009. She was a specialist in Karanas,
and has trained many senior dancers and young promising dancers. She received
the Karnataka Kalashree Award of the Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya Academy
on July 15, 2009.
choreographer / dancer Merce Cunningham (April 16, 1919 - July 26, 2009)
died in New York at age 90. He is credited by many with revolutionizing
visual and performing arts. He formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company
in 1953 and choreographed nearly 200 works for the company, as well as
over 800 site-specific choreographic works. He continued to dance with
the Merce Cunningham Dance Company into the early 1990s when he was into
his 80s. In April 2009, Cunningham celebrated his 90th birthday with the
premiere of a new work, Nearly Ninety, at the Brooklyn Academy of
Music in New York. Also in 2009, the Cunningham Dance Foundation announced
the Legacy Plan, a precedent-setting plan for the continuation of Cunningham's
work and the celebration and preservation of his artistic legacy.
He has also
worked in film and video, collaborating with filmmakers Charles Atlas and
Elliot Caplan. Cunningham extended the frontiers of choreography for more
than half a century, most recently with his use of the computer program
Life Forms now called DanceForms. In 1993, he was inducted into the Hall
of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY.
has been honored with the Arts and Business Council Kitty Carlisle Hart
Award (2002), the National Medal of Arts in a ceremony at the White House
(1990), Laurence Olivier Award in 1985 for Best New Dance Production (Pictures),
and Officer of the French Legion of Honor (2003). In 2000, he won the Nijinsky
Special Prize (Monaco), the 2000 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, (New York,
NY) and was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress, Washington
the doyenne of Carnatic music, popularly known as DKP, is no more. She
was 90. She was perhaps the last among the Golden Female voices of Carnatic
music, others being MS Subbalakshmi and ML Vasanthakumari, together also
known as the 'Female Trinity.' Pattammal's demise on 16 July 2009 has created
a vacuum in the field of Carnatic music. She was the recipient of prestigious
awards like Padma Bushan (1971), Padma Vibushan (1999) and Sangita Kalanidhi
Bausch (July 27, 1940 - June 30, 2009), the German choreographer and dancer,
whose penultimate work Bamboo Blues was inspired by India, died
of cancer in Wuppertal, Germany. She was 68.
Her work broke
down the boundaries between dance and theater, and pioneered a new direction
for theatrical art. Bausch was the recipient of UK's Laurence Olivier Award
and Japan's Kyoto Prize, while in 2008 the city of Frankfurt-am-Main awarded
her its prestigious Goethe Prize.
Thiagarajan, best known by family and friends as Sarasi Raj, passed away
in her Pierrefonds, QC home on Monday June 29, 2009. She was the
founder/guru of the Peali Arpana Academy of Classical Dance, with locations
in Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
board's member Srigopal, passed away on June 25, 2009. He was a great enthusiast
of the performing arts and devoted to Odissi music and dance.
of India's greatest dramatists, poet and actor Habib Tanvir (Sept 1, 1923
-June 8, 2009) passed away at Bhopal at the age of 85.
His most famous
plays are Agra Bazar (written in 1954 but first staged in 1958,
completing 50 years of stage presence in 2008) and Charandas Chor
(1975) that's considered his masterpiece. He founded the Naya Theatre in
1959 in Bhopal. A pioneer in Hindi theatre, he is most known for his work
with Chhattisgarhi tribals, bringing their stories, music, the Chhattisgarhi
dialect and even untrained performers hailing from villages, to the contemporary
stage. He went on to include indigenous performance forms such as nacha,
to create not only a new theatrical language, but also milestones such
as Charandas Chor, Gaon ka Naam Sasural, Mor Naam Damad and Kamdeo
ka Apna Basant Ritu ka Sapna. Tanvir has also written several screenplays
and appeared in a host of films, including Richard Attenborough's 'Gandhi.'
He has won
several national and international awards, including the Sangeet Natak
Akademi Award (1969), Padma Shri (1983), Kalidas Samman (1990), Sangeet
Natak Akademi Fellowship (1996) and the Padma Bhushan (2002). He was nominated
as a member of the Rajya Sabha (1972 -1978). His play 'Charandas Chor'
got him the Fringe Firsts Award at Edinburgh International Drama Festival
in 1982. It was included in the Hindustan Times list of 'India's 60 best
works since Independence.'
S Rajaram, former Director of Kalakshetra, Chennai (1995-2005), passed
away on June 1, 2009 in Bangalore. He was 85. He came to work in Kalakshetra
after retiring from All India Radio. The grandson of Mysore Vasudevachar,
Rajaram was a Carnatic musician and composer, who composed music for several
Kalakshetra dance dramas like the last 3 parts of the Ramayana - Sabari
Moksham, Choodamani Pradhanam and Maha Pattabhishekam.
Bala Ganesan, husband of Uma Ganesan (Cleveland Cultural Alliance), passed
away suddenly in New York on May 10, 2009.
Moozhikkulam Kochukuttan Chakyar, renowned Koodiyattam artiste and Padma
Shri award winner, died of a massive heart attack at 9.30pm on April 15,
2009. He was 81. He is survived by his sons Margi Madhu and Margi Narayanan.
Kochukuttan Chakyar was born in 1928 in the Ammannur Chakyar family. He
studied under Kidangur Narayana Chakyar, Painkulam Rama Chakyar, Ammannoor
Madhava Chakyar and Mani Madhava Chakyar. He was famous for his Vidushaka
roles and for Prabandha Koothu. He was resident guru for nearly twenty
years in Margi, Thiruvananthapuram. Kochukuttan Chakyar was the mukhya
acharya of Nepathya in Moozhikkulam, Kerala.
exponent Keremane Shambhu Hegde passed away on February 3, 2009. He was
70. He died on the stage he loved, as he was playing the lead role of Rama
in a play called 'Lava Kusha Kalaga' at Gunavante, a small village in Honnavara,
Karnataka. His father Keremane Shivarama Hegde was a great Yakshagana artiste
and he followed the northern style of Badagu Tittu. He was the director
of Idagunji Mahaganapati Yakshagana Troupe founded by his father. He is
survived by wife Gowramma, son Shivanand Hegde, a daughter, and elder brother
the way my friend, to the singeing pain
And all the
way out of it.
the pockets of warmth...
And out they
go, some forever... To brave the cold...
Kumar Nayak (husband of Kathak dancer Rani Karnaa, Samskritiki Shreyaskar,
Kolkata), passed away on January 8, 2009 at 5pm at the Kalinga Hospital,
great scholar and historian of Odissi Dance, Dr. Dhirendranath Pattnaik,
passed away on January 1, 2009, at his Cuttack residence. Dr. Pattnaik
was 75. He was the most important pillar, involved in the reconstruction
and resurgence of Odissi. He traced the history of Odissi till the present
form and brought out its birth and transformation through the years to
its present position.