- The French Connection!
May 7, 2006
STEM Dance Kampni & Alliance Francaise de Bangalore celebrated
World Dance Day & the 10th Year of STEM Dance Kampni on April 25, by
showcasing an extravaganza of classical, contemporary, martial and folk
dance forms. Kathak guru Maya Rao, Usha Datar, Geeta Narayanan and Amit
Heri graced the gathering.
commenced on a lively note with a group of Somana Kunitha performers from
Lakshmi Venkateshwara Natya Mandir leading the audience into the concert
hall. Natya STEM Dance Kampni performed excerpts from their various works,
including Mandala, based on the ancient Buddhist art of the same name,
and Tarana, which was a blend of Flamenco and Kathak. Interestingly, Tarana
was a collaborative effort with artist Raghava KK, where the dancers gave
form, shape and movement to his paintings. Raghava also appeared on stage
with the dancers, and added colour to their movements with his vivid strokes.
Heri reminisced about the humble beginnings of STEM Dance Kampni in the
Alliance auditorium. Their first performance as a group was held there,
with the troupe members pitching in, in their own small way to get it up
and running. She thanked guru Maya Rao for supporting STEM through the
dancer Vyjayanthi Kashi enacted the famous Amrita Manthan scene from Indian
mythology in a very energetic fashion, where Lord Vishnu appears in the
form of the beautiful maiden Mohini and outwits the asuras. Sanjay and
Shama Shantaram, trained in both Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, did a tarangam
based on the six senses that human beings possess. Their balance and skill
came to the fore in the sequences with the pot and the plate that are characteristic
of a tarangam.
tried to give all the dance forms their due. Probal Gupta rendered an interesting
padam choreographed by Kalamandalam Govindan Kutty in the Kathakali style.
To complete this cultural circle, Odissi dancer Vani Madhav, from the Deba
Prasad Das gharana, performed 'Dasavatara,' the glorious description of
Lord Vishnu's ten incarnations.
display was the mime by Kala Gangotri. Two artistes from the troupe enacted
a woman dressing up for a meeting with her lover and had the audience in
splits. Their comic timing was indeed commendable, and they made optimum
use of the sound effects.
this spectacular display of energy and movement, there were some engaging
talks on dance education and dance documentation by Geetha Narayanan and
Ashish Khokar respectively. Narayanan lamented the perception of dance
as an 'extra-curricular' activity and stressed the need for dance education
in order to create an appreciative audience. She spoke about how there
were no takers when a few artists volunteered to teach dance in Bangalore
schools. Khokar discussed the importance of archiving the history of dance
and information on practitioners who have helped in the evolution of various
art forms. Both of them managed to provoke the listeners' grey cells in
a very constructive manner.
director of Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, commented on how this showcase
of Indian art in an essentially French space would make Indo-French cultural
bonds even stronger. This was one of those special evenings when the artistes
managed to put their art across to a potpourri of people from different
cultures and countries, by emphasizing on an unbroken chain of passion
and fulfillment that is the base of art.