DANCING IN THE FAMILY:
An Unconventional Memoir of Three Women
Amritha Deborah Fenn, Public Relations Executive, provides a backgrounder on behalf of Harper Collins publishers on ‘Dancing in the Family’, which is the story of a totally unconventional family that is inseparably linked with the story of Indian dance from the 1920s on.
Ragini Devi, an American woman from Minneapolis, was convinced she had been a Hindu in a previous life and was reincarnated to devote her life to Indian dance. She helped rescue ancient Indian classical dance forms threatened with extinction under British rule in India, and was instrumental in the revival of Kathakali dance, now one of the more familiar Indian styles. Her daughter, Indrani Rahman, continued this pioneering effort. She helped revive the long neglected Odissi dance and presented Indian classical dance throughout the world with her troupe of dancers and musicians. Sukanya, granddaughter to Ragini and daughter to Indrani, carried on the family tradition by teaching and performing the Bharata Natyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi styles of Indian dance in the United States and other countries. In a historic performance in New York City shortly before Ragini Devi died, the three generations danced together, in what Ragini called "the climax of my life...seeing the pure tradition safeguarded by Indrani and
Vastly amusing, candid and moving, Dancing in the Family is the story of a totally unconventional family that is inseparably linked with the story of Indian dance from the 1920s on.
Sukanya Rahman was born in Calcutta in 1946. Dancer and visual artist, she studied painting at the Ecole Nationale des Beau Arts in Paris and the College of Art in New Delhi. Before leaping into the Indian dance tradition of her grandmother and her mother, she studied American modern dance with Martha Graham in New York. She and her husband, Frank Wicks, live on an island in Maine and have two sons, Habib and Wardreath.
Sukanya will be in New Delhi, India from the middle of January 2002 for the launch of her book.
Dancing in the family: An Unconventional Memoir of Three Women