Winter Arts Intensive at Chinmaya Naada Bindu

January 7, 2015

It was time once again for students of dance and music to experience the rigors and joys of Gurukul learning at Chinmaya Naada Bindu.  The 7-day Winter Arts Intensive conducted from Nov 30 to Dec 6, 2014, drew 34 students from the US and from various regions of India. The popularity of the intensives was evident from the fact that 18 of these were students who had attended one or more Intensives earlier.

Raga Bihag set the mood for the vocal and Bansuri sessions. Starting from basics of svara positions to different rhythm structures, the vocal students learnt 3 compositions in 2 talas from Pramodini Rao, and composed their own taans. Bansuri students were taught complex patterns of taan in a composition by Himanshu Nanda, as well as the techniques of improvisation in Alaap and Jod. Rohit Kulkarni taught Kayadas from Delhi gharana and traditional compositions to the student from Kerala.

Guest lecture by Ravindra Parchure of the Temple of Fine Arts, Singapore, offered a detailed session on music appreciation, riyaz and other aspects; Chandra Pai, a music enthusiast and archivist, gave an insight into the science of good ‘sound’ through microphones. His suggestion of using only 1 or 2 mics for a concert but focusing on capturing the resonance was extremely effective on the day of showcase presentation. Students surprised themselves and the audience in a creative activity suggested by Kalpana Sumanth, in which they worked in groups to compose and present their own music.

The Choreo-Lab designed by Ramaa Bharadvaj created a systematic exploration in the processes of dance-making. Using an original choreography of hers, Ramaa guided the students in areas of structures and forms of movement, elements of improvisation, translating abstract ideas into dance, the application of lyrics, music and rhythms, and key principles for developing a dance from concept to performance. 

A ceation-seminar was jointly presented by Ramaa and guest musician Ramya Sundaresan Kapadia from North Carolina, USA.  Using just one single line of poetry, students were guided through the exciting and spontaneous process of creating 6 varied choreographies, composing original music for them and designing staging directions.  Guest teacher Mohan Kumblekar of Vivekananda Yoga Kendra conducted daily yoga and pranayama sessions for the dancers.

The showcase performances held on the final day presented all students in a 2 hour recital.