attenDance awards 2017
December 22, 2017
AttenDance, the annual on Indian dance, will soon be 20 years old (in 2018). Ten years ago, its editor-publishers Elisabeth and Ashish Khokar felt the need to fill the gap in the field where awards either came too late or after much "seeking." They also felt most young people needed support, validation and appreciation at the right age - 40 to 60. They wished to honour and award those, whom the system had bypassed and not recognized because they were not pushy, but their art deserved recognition from society.
In its 7th year now, this spirit and approach is maintained except in case of Lifetime Awards, which by definition goes to someone established or veteran or accomplished and often already decorated with national awards. The young awardees go on an internship abroad. This helps young talents with a skill development and value addition. This aspect makes it more sensible and more meaningful.
There are 5 iconic dance names that get platformed and awards are named after their memory.
Ram Gopal Best Male Soloist Award - most national agencies have forgotten him. In past, this award has been given to Satyanarayanaraju, Sanjay Shantaram, Rahul Acharya, Aniruddha Knight, Kalalamandalam Suresh, now Gururaj. Mohan Khokar Dance Writing/documentation award in the past, has gone to Avanti Meduri, Anita Ratnam (for narthaki), Gowri Ramnarayan, Sruti Janaki, now Dr. Nandini Ramani. Earlier recipients of Uday Shankar Award for Choreography are Murali Mohan Kalva, Syed Sallaudin Pasha, Jayachandran Palazhy, Upadhya sisters, Usha Venkateswaran and this year the recipient is Daksha Mashruwala.
Alternate years, a dance couple award is given named after Nataraj-Shakuntala, the pioneers. Anuradha-Shridhar, Nirupama-Rajendra, Tushar-Puja Bhatt have received it. This year it was not given, as Rukmini Devi Award for significant contribution was given to Dr. Vasundhara Doraswamy. In past, gurus Kittu Krishnamurthy, S. Radhakrishnan, Radha Shridhar, Bhanumati have received it. And lastly, Maya Rao Lifetime Achievement Award has been bestowed on Maya Rao herself, then Vimala Rangachar, Jayalaksmi Alva and now Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam.
After an elegant, short ceremony, young dancers showcased their art while older ones were showcased on screen, through a short film. Specially designed stoles with attenDance insignia, classy plaques with each word in well thought out citation, and bonding over dinner made it truly a fraternity feeling. AttenDance awards have slowly become a benchmark in dance circles. The Mohiniattam pair, the Nair sisters, conducted this year's ceremony with aplomb. Nadaswaram sounds welcomed all. Awardees were welcomed by a shower of rose petals. Padapuja was done by young budding blossoms of Sonalika. All past awardees helped in some practical way. It was truly a genuine dance people's event.