Dancer, actor and politician J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, passed away on December 5, 2016 at Chennai, at 68 years of age. She was a disciple of Guru KJ Sarasa.
Veteran Carnatic musician Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna passed away in Chennai (July 6, 1930-November 22, 2016). He was 86.
- Murali and me by Prince Rama Varma
- Balamurali Krishna: The child prodigy who broke the status quo in Carnatic music by Veejay Sai
- Balamuralikrishna's saga of success: Child prodigy, poetic philosopher and Michael Jackson fan by Swarnamalya Ganesh
- How musicians can pay a true tribute to M Balamuralikrishna's unconquerable soul by Anil Srinivasan
Sudha Abdulla Khandwani aka Sudha Thakkar, founder and Artistic Director of Kalanidhi Fine Arts of Canada, passed away in Mumbai on November 3, 2016. She had also served for a few years, as a member of the Board of Directors of Canada's National Ballet School, CanAsian Festival and Rasik Arts, and was the co-director of Ababeel Arts and Ababeel Film Society of Toronto. She was a versatile artist whose deep involvement in the fields of Indian dance, theatre, acting, choreography, photography and film spanned a period of 60 years. In March 2013, Sudha Khandwani celebrated 60 years since inception and 25 years of Kalanidhi in Canada.
inDANCE and I mourn the passing of an exemplary pillar of the Canadian dance world: Sudha Khandwani (1934-2016). She positioned Canada as an important international hub for Indian dance. Sudha dedicated her entire career to discovering, nurturing, promoting and presenting Indian dance from around the globe. Since the early 90's, her meticulous curation of Kalanidhi Dance Festivals has presented a delectable plethora of artists, of various genres in both the classical and contemporary idioms. Sudha Khandwani's triumphant legacy is her proactive diligence in providing a viable forum/space for showcasing Indian dance on a truly global stage. On a personal note, I am grateful to Sudha for her consistent support of inDANCE, irrespective of whether the work we performed was "traditional" or a more controversial, subversive take on taboo subjects. Sudha-Ben, no wanna-be pretender or Quasi-pseudo "artist"/presenter is ever going to replace you. I will not say good-bye, because you are one of those rare people who absolutely deserves an encore……Kudos!
- Hari Krishnan
India's senior-most living choreographer guru Valmiki Banerjee was bereaved in Delhi on November 2, 2016 by demise of his wife Gauri Banerjee, aged 73. She learnt Rabindra Natyam and made it her life. Their daughter Nupur is an accomplished Orissi dancer in Mumbai.
Theatre veteran Heisnam Kanhailal passed away on October 6, 2016 at Imphal after a brief illness. The Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awardee was 75. He was the founder-director of Kalakshetra Manipur and contributed to the field of experimental theatre for more than 40 years and gave it his own local perspective.
Eminent art historian, writer and painter Dr. Dinanath Pathy passed away on August 29, 2016 following a cardiac arrest at Bhubaneswar. He was 74. Brought up in a family of artists and poets, Pathy started career as a muralist and theatre curtain painter. His works have been exhibited extensively in India and abroad. Dr. Pathy was one of the pioneers of the art movement in Odisha. He was founder principal of the BK College of Arts and Crafts in Bhubaneswar, former Secretary of the Lalit Kala Akademi in Delhi and Bhubaneswar, and Chairman of the Ila Panda Centre for Art. He was the recipient of The President of India silver plaque for painting and conferred with the prestigious international Reitberg Award in 2014.
He has published over 50 books in English, German and Odia including classical, traditional, tribal, folk, rural and contemporary art of Odisha. He was founder of Angarag, a quarterly journal focusing on performing and visual arts.
A close associate of internationally renowned Odissi and Bhartanatyam dancer from Malaysia, Ramli Ibahim, Dr. Dinanath Pathy had singlehandedly attempted to revive the Sakhi Nach of Ganjam District, a parallel tradition of Gotipua dancers. His latest collaboration with Ramli was the spectacular Odissi dance production Ganjam for which he provided a wealth of material. His last book on Rethinking Odissi has his frank views on what directions Odissi dance form should take. When I had started my research on Odissi field work in 1966, he had helped me a lot. We last met in Delhi when Ramli presented Ganjam at Kamani. We talked a lot about Alice Boner, a sculptor and great scholar, who had helped Uday Shankar, and later on she had settled in Banaras where on Assi Ghat her house is now Alice Boner Foundation. Dinanath was a director at the foundation. He has written a book on the legendary Sanjukta Panigrahi which needs to be published at the earliest. We will miss him. May his soul rest in peace.
- Dr. Sunil Kothari
Sutra Foundation is saddened to hear this morning the passing away of one of Odisha's finest artists, scholars, writers - Dr Dinanath Pathy. A renaissance man of Odisha, Dinanath Pathy was not only an artist par excellence who integrated the various artistic genres but was also a cultivator of talents and builder of institutions. Just recently in 2016, Sutra was fortunate to have collaborated with Dr Pathy in two major Odissi productions - GANJAM and AMOROUS DELIGHT. Sutra Gallery had also presented Pathy in several solo and group exhibitions. Dr. Dinanath Pathy had written one of the most insightful critiques on Odissi, Rethinking Odissi, which contextualised Odissi's evolutionary development within the phases of its reconstruction in the twentieth century. He had worked extensively with Dr. Eberhard Fischer of Rietberg Museum, Switzerland, and made Odisha's art and culture known to the world through their collaborative publications. Dinanath Pathy was also a champion of the Odissi works of the late Debaprasad Das through the publication of Arts Quarterly, ANGARAG. He was one of the main persons spearheading a major Visual Arts Conclave to be launched today for the new Ila Panda Centre of Arts in Bhubaneswar. RIP, my dear Dinanath.
- Sutra Foundation
Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi guru Dr. K Uma Rama Rao passed away in Hyderabad (July 4, 1938 - Aug 27, 2016). She founded the Lasya Priya Dance Academy in 1985 in Hyderabad. She was one of the first Brahmin girls to take to the all-male dance drama format of Kuchipudi along with her sister Sumathy Kaushal. She trained under several legendary gurus of the first generation like PVN Rao, Kancherla Rama Brahman, Vedantam Lakshminarayana Sastri, C R Acharyulu and Nataraja Ramakrishna. She trained in Bharatanatyam from K N Pakkiriswamy Pillai. After marriage she gave up performing and took to full time teaching.
Uma Rama Rao worked on several choreographies and extensively researched and wrote on Kuchipudi. She published a book 'Kuchipudi Bharatam' in 1991. She also received a PhD for her thesis on Yakshagana Prabandhas of Thanjavur king Shahaji II. She received the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2004 for her contribution to Kuchipudi. With her demise, Kuchipudi lost another vital link to the first generation of teaching methodology and transference of cultural knowledge.
Yoga guru TKV Desikachar (June 21, 1938 - August 8, 2016) passed away in Chennai. As son and student of T. Krishnamacharya, he had the privilege of living and studying with his father from 1960 until Krishnamacharya's death in 1989. For over 50 years, TKV Desikachar devoted himself to teaching yoga and making it relevant to people from all walks of life and with all kinds of abilities. His teaching method was based on Krishnamacharya's fundamental principle that yoga must always be adapted to an individual's changing needs in order to derive the maximum therapeutic benefit. The Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram was founded in 1976 in Chennai with the aim of making available the heritage of Yoga and in later years Vedic Chanting as taught by Krishnamacharya. TKV Desikachar was one of the founders and a managing trustee of the KYM.
- The master of 'yoga for the moment' by Navtej Johar
- He touched the lives of so many of us in so many ways. We are so blessed to have had the association of this teacher par excellence, who brought alive the teachings of yoga in his own inimitable style. We are so blessed to have received his healing touch. He had that unique ability to relate to every one of us at our own level. As a brilliant teacher, his teachings live on through his students. And in our hearts and our memories, his words, his teachings, his generosity and our precious experiences with him live on. (Nrithya Jagannathan on FB)
Renowned poet, theatre director and dramatist Kavalam Narayana Panikkar passed away in Thiruvananthapuram on June 26, 2016. He was 88. (He was born on April 28, 1928 in the picturesque village of Kavalam in Kerala). He has penned more than 25 Malayalam plays and explored the unique folk traditions in Kerala. He worked closely with theatre stalwarts like C.N. Sreekantan Nair and G. Aravindan, bringing a new rhythm and grammar of acting to theatre. Panikkar gave a new lease of life for the age-old Sanskrit drama tradition on one hand and on the other, he identified the interrelations between the evolved art forms and folk arts, successfully creating a fusion that has enthralled the contemporary audience since then.
He was the founder-director of the theatre troupe Sopanam, which formed Bhashabharati, a centre for performing arts and research in Thiruvananthapuram. Panikkar successfully introduced indigenous music of the regional Sopana Sangeetham as an organic accompaniment to Mohiniattam. Eminent dancers like Dr. Kanak Rele from Mumbai and Bharati Shivaji from New Delhi have worked with him in this project. The system and structure of Mohiniattam recital developed by Panikkar from tradition has found its place in the Bombay University curriculum. Panikkar has to his credit more than hundred compositions which are today choreographed and performed by many prominent dancers.
He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 2007, Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1983 and Sangeet Natak Fellowship in 2002. He also got the Kerala state film award for best lyrics in 1978 and 1982. He is survived by his wife Saradamani and singer son Kavalam Sreekumar.
Aruna Sundarlal, the Founder and Managing Trustee of Bangalore School of Music, passed away in Bangalore on June 23, 2016 after a brief illness. She was 77. Founded in 1987, the school is the country's third formal school for Western music.
Odissi Guru Kanduri Charan Behera passed away at Kims Hospital in Bhubaneswar on June 21, 2016.
Renowned playwright and poet Gopal Sharman passed away on June 16, 2016 in Delhi. He was 81. Along with his wife Jalabala, he founded the Akshara Theatre in central Delhi in 1972.
Sharman has authored fourteen plays and many television programs, but is best known for his dramatised version of the Ramayana written in English for the Royal Shakespeare Company of Great Britain.
Odissi Guru Ramani Ranjan Jena passed away on March 26, 2016 in his village Remuna at Balasore, Odisha.
Born in 1941 at Remuna village in Orissa, Ramani Ranjan Jena was initiated in Odissi dance at an early age. Among his teachers at various stages were Gurus Gayadhar Panda, Ramaswami, Ramgopal Mishra, Raghunath Dutta and Mayadhar Raut. Eventually, Jena found in Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra his true mentor in the field, and learnt the art under his guidance at Kala Vikash Kendra, Cuttack, from where he obtained a master's degree in Odissi. A highly respected teacher, Ramani Ranjan Jena has taught Odissi dance at various institutions including the Odissi Research Centre in Bhubaneswar, Kalakshetra in Chennai, Kala Vikash Kendra in Cuttack, Nrityagram near Bangalore, and the Triveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi. For some time, he also taught at Osaka in Japan. At his own institution, the Kamala Kala Peetha in Cuttack, Jena trained a number of dancers of repute including his son Rashmi Ranjan Jena.
Ramani Ranjan Jena has been bestowed several honours for his work including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Orissa Sahitya Akademi Award in 2009, the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award in 2008, and the Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987.
Kathak Guru Asha Joglekar passed away on March 18, 2016 aged 80. She founded Archana Nrityalaya in 1963 in Mumbai. She was awarded Sharang Deo Fellowship by Sangeet Peeth of Sur Singar Samsad in 1994. She was a senior examiner (Dance -Practical) of Graduation and Post Graduation examinations of Pune University, Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal and Kathak Kendra, Jaipur.
Abhinaya guru Kalanidhi Narayanan passed away on February 21, 2016 at Chennai. Born on December 7, 1928, she was one of the early Brahmin (non-devadasi) girls to learn Bharatanatyam and perform it on stage in the 1930s and 1940s. She quit dancing after marriage. After a gap of 30 years, she returned to dance in 1973 and became a much sought after teacher of abhinaya. She founded Abhinaya Sudha in Chennai. She has trained many top dancers like Priyadarsini Govind, Bragha Bessell, Meenakshi Chittaranjan, Ramya Harishankar, Sharmila Biswas, Hema Rajagopalan, A. Lakshmanaswamy to name a few. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan (1985) the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Bharatanatyam (1990) and Kalidas Samman (1998).
Bharatanatyam Guru Mrinalini Sarabhai, the doyen of classical and contemporary performance, passed away on January 21, 2016 at Ahmedabad. She was 97.
"AMMA IS SINKING", came the cryptic Whats App message at 10 am on Thursday morning, January 21. I was on my way to a dance conference and had to stop to call my friend who had sent it to me from Ahmedabad. Minutes later, the end had arrived.
"AMMMA HAS PASSED" my phone read. For 80 years, Mrinalini Sarabhai held her own on the centre stage of dance. The person who unlocked for me the intellectual potential of Bharatanatyam in the mid 1970s, her approach to dance, performance and allied visual arts was unparalleled. More than 19,000 students have been trained at DARPANA, the academy she started in 1948. Celebrated, awarded, honoured and praised, Mrinalini, lovingly called AMMA by thousands of dancers, is irreplaceable.
Her guest column ASK MRINALINI will forever carry her thoughtful replies to sometimes banal and irrelevant questions.
- Anita Ratnam
A star, a gorgeous lady, dignity and grace personified; losing her is a real loss to the world of dance. She connected the old world of Sadir to the new world of Bharatanatyam with more empathy than many others. Mrinalini Sarabhai! A star had passed away.
- Swarnamalya Ganesh
Mrinalini Sarabhai (1918-2016) - the first dancer of modern India to bring social justice issues into dialogue with Indian classical dance - leaves behind a void that can never be filled. Her tenacity, intellect and unequivocal belief in the power of the arts to benefit society is awe-inspiring. I will always be grateful to her for her writings and her choreographies such as "Memory is a Fragment of Eternity," which, as a child, opened my eyes to the potential of dance to both educate and entertain.
- Hari Krishnan (InDance)
A life in dance - A documentary on Mrinalini Sarabhai
Tribute to Mrinalini Sarabhai
Mallika's befitting farewell to Mrinalini
Mrinalini Sarabhai - a peerless Natarani dances into the light by Anita Ratnam
Mrinalini: An icon, High priestess of Indian Dance by Anita Ratnam, Deccan Chronicle
Mrinalini Sarabhai (May 11, 1918 - Jan 21, 2016) by Ashish Mohan Khokar
Remembering the legendary danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai
And the curtains come down gently on 'Amma' Sarabhai by Geeta Chandran
Dancer, patron of the arts Mrinalini Sarabhai: Her feet are footsteps in Ahmedabad's history by Leena Mishra
Mrinalini Sarabhai (1918-2016): Dance was the 'radiance of her spirit' by Veejay Sai
Era of grace ended with Mrinalini's death by PTI
Mrinalini Sarabhai, legendary dancer, dies at 97 by Maulik Pathak
Dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai dies at 97 by IANS
Mrinalini Sarabhai loved Chennai, city of her birth by Kamini Mathai
A step in time: Mrinalini Sarabhai's contribution to Indian dance continues to glow bright by Suanshu Khurana
Legendary dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai dies at 97
Mrinalini Sarabhai: Legendary Indian dancer dies
Dance icons pay tribute to Mrinalini Sarabhai...
Mrinalini brought Bharatanatyam to fore by VP Dhananjayan
A well wisher of humanity by Anjana Rajan
Guru Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai's senior most disciple Padmini Ramachandran, director of Natyapriya, passed away on January 17, 2016 at Bangalore. She was 71. In her younger days she has made appearances in films like Dil Hi To Hai (Hindi), Iruvar Ullam (Tamil) and Narthanasala (Telugu), mostly as a dancer in song sequences. She has also made an appearance in Ang Lee's Life of Pi. She has choreographed many dance dramas, apart from TV serials. Padmini was a recipient of Rajyotsava Award and Shantala Award for 1996.
More about her
Annabhattula Krishnaveni (c. 1925- Jan 16, 2016) was a senior dancer and musician in the Kalavantula community. She started to train at the age of five. She gave a number of performances before things changed drastically in the 1950s.