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January 2017

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Welcome to 2017... the Chinese year of the Red Fire Rooster
As we said farewell to a turbulent and chaotic year across the globe, my home city reeled under a series of obituaries...

Our charismatic Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, a classical dancer and film superstar. Gone too soon at age 68.

Political satirist, theatre director and outspoken humourist Cho Ramaswamy.

Over 100,000 trees, 10,000 animals and over 25,000 hectares of agricultural land were devastated by #CYCLONE VARDAH that hurtled through at 120 km per hour on December 12.

With traffic choking the clogged roads littered by fallen trunks and branches, our artistes were busy rehearsing time honoured themes of Gods lifting mountains and saving damsels in distress! Except there was no Krishna to sweep our filthy roads! And no connectivity to send or share selfies!

Some musicians even performed on the morning of the Chief Minister's passing even as a 3 day official mourning was announced!

December was, however, a month filled with many events beyond performance and beyond the borders of Chennai - several to which I was a participant or an eager attendee.


ROVING EYE: A section of impressions, images and inspirations
Curated by Anita Ratnam


Remembering a dynamic woman and a leader
J Jayalalithaa.. glimpses from her life before politics.. in DANCE AND CINEMA

Dancer, actor and politician J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, passed away on December 5, 2016 at Chennai, aged 68. She was a disciple of Guru KJ Sarasa.

Lata Pada and Dr. Wayan Dibia premiered 'Pralaya'
At: Fleck Theatre in Toronto, Nov 11 & 12, 2016
Photos: Mansa Photography

Dr. Anita Ratnam's session at Natya Darshan on Dec 17, 2016
At Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai



- Brahma Gana Sabha conferred NATYA PADMAM on Rhadha on December 3, 2016 at Chennai.

- Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha conferred VANI KALA SUDHAKARA with a purse of one lakh on Alarmel Valli on December 9, 2016 at Chennai.

- Chennai Cultural Academy Trust conferred NRITHYA KALA SHIROMANI on Jayanthi Subramaniam on December 9, 2016 at Chennai. The award includes a citation, gold medallion and a purse.

- Bharat Kalachar awards for 2016 were given on December 10, 2016 at Chennai: NATYA KALADHAR to Kanchana, VISHWA KALA BHARATHI to Ananda Shankar Jayant, ACHARYA KALA BHARATHI to Sheela Unnikrishnan and Lakshmi Ramaswamy, NATYA SANGEETHA BHARATHI to Gomathy Vinayakam (vocal), Thanjavur Subba Rao Babu (violin) and KP Anil Kumar (mridangam), YUVA KALA BHARATI for Prithvija Balagopalan, Shruthipriya and Srividya Sailesh (BN), ALL ROUNDER to Sukanya Kumar (BN, Kathak & Theatre). LIFETIME CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC goes to Seetharama Sharma.

- Sri Krishna Gana Sabha conferred ACHARYA CHOODAMANI on Bharatanatyam guru Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala and NRITYA CHOODAMANI on Kathak duo Nirupama and Rajendra on December 11, 2016 at Chennai.

- The Indian Fine Arts Society conferred NATYA KALASIKHAMANI on Prof. CV Chandrasekhar on December 14, 2016 at Chennai.

- Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai, conferred NADHABRAHMAM title on Guru K Kalyanasundaram on December 14, 2016.

- On December 18, 2016 Nepathya conferred the D APPUKUTTAN NAIR MEMORIAL AWARD on Kalamandalam Ravikumar, chutti artiste, at Aluva, Kerala.

- Trinity Arts Festival of India presented THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD to Bharatanatyam Gurus V.P. Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan on December 25, 2016 at Chennai.

- On January 3, 2017 Music Academy, Chennai, confers NATYA KALA ACHARYA on Malavika Sarukkai. Mohiniattam dancer Methil Devika receives award for the best dancer of the mid-year dance festival organised by the Academy.

- Guru V.P. Dhananjayan is to receive Alva's Educational Foundation's VIRASAT AWARD on 13th January 2017 at Moodbidri, Dakshina Karnataka. The award comprises a citation and a cash award of rupees one lakh.

We created a culture of “pleasing” that is now hijacking us. We want to please everybody: the audiences, the subscribers, the sponsors, the press, the colleagues… a big mistake! Art should not please. On the contrary. Art has to show where it hurts in our societies, in our world. We urgently need the courage back to pick up this role of disturbers again.

We have built theatres and arts centres, and we created festivals to produce and present art works and to welcome audiences in the best possible conditions. But, during the years, most of these structures and organisations have become rusted and sclerosized. They became dinosaurs.

Originally meant to support the artists, they got organised very well, often too well, and so lost the needed flexibility to respond to the specific needs of specific works. The artists now have to follow the policy and the rules of the houses instead of the other way around. We urgently have to reconsider the role of theatres and festivals, as instruments to facilitate and valorise artists again. And we need more flexible structures, production houses that can work tailor-made with artists.

Often I hear organisers say, “It is nice, but not for my audience.” Who is that audience? A monolithic block of people? And who are we to say what they want to see? Underestimating is an insult. Being demanding is a sign of respect….. Also, in this pleasing culture, we constantly adapt to who is addressing us. We answer in the different languages, in the different logics of our counterparts. Mistake again.

To the politicians we speak with political arguments; to subsidisers and sponsors we speak with financial, economic arguments and of huge audiences. To audiences we speak with entertaining arguments; with the press we speak with superlatives and exclusivity arguments. And with colleagues, we confirm each other. We must urgently find our artistic language and artistic arguments again.
- Frie Leysen
(‘Disturbing, not pleasing, should be art’s role,’ Richard Watts,, Jan 28, 2015)


- Premiere of documentary film
On Dr. Tushar Guha

Jan 5, 2017 Mumbai

- Kala Pradarshini presents
19th Natya Festival

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Jan 15-18, 2017 Chennai

- Samved Society for Performing Arts presents
27th Pt. Durgalal Festival

Tata Theatre, 7pm
January 27, 2017 Mumbai

- Kala Vandanam premieres
Ritu - The Seasons

Anne Simley Theater at Hamline Uni, 7:30pm
January 28, 2017 St. Paul, MN


- Sparsh presents
Abhinaya workshop
By Mandakini Trivedi

Jan 6 - 10, 2017 Kolkata

- Sri Sumukhi Rajasekharan Memorial Foundation celebrates
Margazhi Bala Utsavam

January 17-24, 2017 Chennai
Registration deadline: Jan 10, 2017

- Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company
Audition for Kathak dancers
Male & female

January 15, 2017 Delhi

- Sunatya Academy of Performing Arts presents
Kathak workshop
By Mamta Maharaj

Jan 25 - 29, 2017 Bangalore

TRENDING by Ashish Mohan Khokar
- Everyone wants to perform
As the year rolled by, what trended most? All over India, all just wished to perform. No matter what level of training or technique, as though nothing else mattered!

- Stellar presentations at DIAF
The Capital was agog with a series of performances of dancers from within India and abroad, as Delhi International Arts Festival filled up the various venues with mind boggling variety of performing arts.

- Astad Deboo's Eternal Embrace
During the contemporary dance festival at NCPA, Mumbai, Astad Deboo premiered his latest work Eternal Embrace for two nights (Dec 9 & 10, 2016) to live music by Japanese musician Yukio Tsuji.

THE EASTERN EYE: Column by Utpal K Banerjee
- Stirrings and Stillness, Sounds and Silence
The recent workshop on Creative Movement Therapy, organised by Rhythmosaic from Kolkata was facilitated by Tripura Kashyap, co-founder of Creative Movement Therapy Association of India - and herself a noted choreographer, movement therapist and dance educator.

- Away from performance arena
In the exhibition mounted by Udayan, the effort was not only to present the photographs, musical instruments and props used by the maestro, but also to enlighten people about the immense contribution of Uday Shankar in the field of performing arts in general and dance in particular.

TAALAM: Column by Leela Venkataraman
- Recall the then to plan the now of the Kalinga Indonesia Dialogue
Bhaba Sangama as the artistic representation for this interaction of India and Indonesia saw Odissi and Balinese dancers in confluence.

- Konark Festival beckons again
With the magnificent tower of the historic 13th century temple of the Ganga King Narasingha Deva dedicated to the Sun God as backdrop, the elaborately decorated open air auditorium at Konark once again became the venue for showcasing group productions of Odissi along with other pan-Indian classical dance forms.

- What the genius from Kashmir gave to Indian philosophy and thought
Kamlesh Dutt Tripathi mentioned how while being very alert to the continuity of a discipline preserving its identity (sthiti), Abhinavagupta was also very aware of change amidst gati or movement through time.

- My mother, My dance by Jothi Raghavan
My mother… my dance… I can't separate one from the other. I dance because my mother wanted me to. I am living her dream.

Not just anyBODY - a health and fitness column
- Yoga and dance by Srimathy Gopalakrishnan
Perhaps the only all pervading truth is that everything has a beginning, a primordial source that causes Genesis. So it is with art forms, be it dance, yoga, or any other martial art.


- Lil Buck at Fondation Louis Vuitton
The jookin' dancer takes on masterpieces by Picasso and Matisse in a moving tour of the museum's latest exhibition.

- Urban Nritta by Jiva Dance
Bharatanatyam dance against the backdrops of New York City, nritta synchronizes original dance and music with the constant rhythms of the city where the artistes live and create. In the film, Jiva Dance performs 'Into the Battlefield,' from its original work 'Mayura: Blue Peacock.'

- Pleiades
Performance & Choreography: Saya Watatani, Maki Yokoyama

Edited by Anita E. Cherian, Associate Professor, School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi. Published by Tulika Books in association with Gati Dance Forum
Tilt Pause Shift engages the knotty question of dance in today's India. The contributors to the book include Ranjana Dave, Navtej Johar, Sundar Sarukkai, Brahma Prakash, Paromita Vohra, Padmini Chettur, Abantee Dutta, Shabari Rao, Rajyashree Ramamurthy, Justin McCarthy, Arushi Singh, Veena Basavarajaiah, Rose Merin, Himalay K. Gohel, Parvathi Ramanathan, Anita E. Cherian, Gabriele Wittmann and Esther Sutter. The choreographic portraits have been edited by Gabriele Wittmann and Esther Sutter.
248 pages, Hardback/colour illustrations
ISBN 978-93-82381-85-3 / Rs.1950

Meet the artistes -SANCHARI.. More on the arts

Articles Season reviews


Jan 1, Chennai
Sri Sumukhi Rajasekharan Memorial Foundation leads children, youth, elders & music institutions in the 15th Year BALA VIDHWAN BHAVANI from 6am to 8am. Feel the divine experience of bhakthi & Margazhi chill in this spiritual walk. Start from Mylapore Kapaleeswarar Temple, go around the Four Mada streets by singing Bhajans and Namavalis.

Jan 1 - 24, Kolkata
Schedule for Sapphire Creations Dance Company
- 1st Jan at Minerva Theatre, 2pm: Press meet of National Theatre Festival organised by Minerva State Repertory, where Sudarshan Chakravorty is part of the Committee.
- 9th Jan, Stadel Banquet, Salt Lake Stadium, 7pm: Sapphire Creations Dance Company presents ATITHI DEVO BHAVO. 16 dancers including Purulia Chhau, Santhali performers engage to tell the story of India showing diversity and how different regions have certain unique specialities from Bangla Pata Chitra songs to Ganesh vandana to Vande mataram and more.
- 15th Jan, Scottish Church Collegiate School, 11am: Sudarshan Chakravorty is judging the mega ALL-BENGAL TALENT HUNT organised by Indus-Edutrain Company with 400 students from all over Bengal in music, dance and vocals
- 16th Jan, Haldia Stadium, Haldia: Sapphire Creations presents ATITHI DEVO BHAVO, a celebration of music, visuals, movement and rituals of India drawn from eclectic sources fusing tradition, acrobatic, folk and modern Contemporary dances.
- 20th Jan, Uttam Mancha, 6.30pm: Sapphire Creations presents NRITYOKOLPO, a mosaic of acrobatic, folk and modern Contemporary dances.
- 24th Jan, ICCR, Kolkata, 7pm: Sapphire Creations organises its SAPPHIRE QUARTERLY ARTS SERIES, Quarter III, 2016-17 in Bengal Gallery of ICCR where Sudarshan Chakravorty performs his solo EKAHARYA on Gender Fluidity in tradition and its juxtaposition with the social norms set to live Dhrupad singing and digital video art. A prelude to the performance will be an improvisation by Sapphire dancers to Hindustani Thumri and vocals by Chandrima Bhattacharya
Concept, Choreography and Performance by Sudarshan Chakravorty, Lights: Dinesh Poddar

Jan 2 -28, Bangalore, Chennai, Cambodia
NADAM’s schedule for Jan 2017.
- Jan 2, Bangalore: Navvarsh Mahotsav
Venue: Sri Prasanna Maha Ganapati Devasthanam, Koramangala, 7.15pm
- Jan 17, Chennai: Kala Pradarshini Festival
Venue: Preetha Reddy Auditorium, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore, 7:15pm
- Jan 27 & 28, Cambodia: NADAM ensemble will be presenting KATHAK KI KHANAK in the "Festivals of India Abroad" organised by Ministry of Culture, Government of India at Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Jan 4 - 21, Chennai, Delhi, Varanasi, Bangalore
Bala Devi Chandrashekar presents KARNA: DESTINY'S CHILD
- 4th Jan, 7pm, India Habitat Centre, Delhi
- 6th Jan, 7.30pm: Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai
- 8th Jan, 7pm: Kala Prakash, Varanasi
- 10th Jan, 6pm: National School of Drama, Delhi
- 16th Jan, 6pm: IIT Chennai
- 21st Jan, 7pm: Drishti Festival, Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Bangalore

Jan 4 - 28, Mathura, Karnataka, Rajkot & Ooty
Schedule for Nirupama, Rajendra and Abhinava Dance Company.
- Jan 4, Mathura: ADC presents the mega production RAAM KATHA VISMAY for the golden jubilee celebrations of Chathurvedi & Shah Company at 7pm.
- Jan 11, Rajkot: ADC presents BAHURANG for the SAPTHAK FESTIVAL at 6.30pm at the Theatre of Club House, Rajkot.
- Jan 26, Mysore: ADC presents BAHURANG for the festival of Kuvempu Nagara Saugandhika Udyanavana, 7pm.
- Jan 27, Bangalore: Nirupama & Rajendra present Kathak classical duets with live music for the 33RD KINKINI FESTIVAL at J.S.S. Auditorium, Jayanagar, 7.30pm.
- Jan 28, Ooty: ADC performs for the District Conference of Rotary District 3181 at 7pm.

Jan 7, Chennai
Janaki Rangarajan performs for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, at 7.30pm. She will premiere a rare and challenging Tanavarnam.

Jan 7, 8 & 14, Aurangabad
Mahagami Gurukul organises its 4th season of AURA AURANGABAD dance concert series every weekend from 7pm to 8pm for the cultural development of Aurangabad city and also for the development of Aurangabad as a Tourism and Heritage destination.
At: Mahagami.

Jan 7 - 29, Bangalore
Schedule for Madhu Nataraj and Natya Stem Dance Kampni
- Jan 7: KAMPNI KUTCHERI solo performer series- featuring Keertana Ravi (BN) & Katerina Bruch (Contemporary) on 'Creating new audiences for dance'
-Jan 15: BHARATA TO BARTENIEFF - Dance educator & Laban/ Bartenieff professional- Rajyashree Ramesh, partners with NIKC to bring a 3 phase certification course in movement analysis & Dance Therapy especially created for Indian dancers & movement professionals.
- Jan 21: 'Aakash' & excerpts of Kampni choreographies at the Drishti Festival of Dance,
Venue: Chowdiah Auditorium
-Jan 29: MAYA ARPAN, a spectacular showcase featuring 175 students of the NIKC
Venue: Gurunanak Bhavan

Jan 8, Mumbai
The Attakkalari Repertory Company performs MEIDHWANI: ECHOES OF THE BODY at Tata Trusts' Performing Arts Festival. MeiDhwani attempts to explore and reaffirm the centrality of the human body, mind, and spirit in live performance. By linking the Tamil and Sanskrit words Mei (Body) and Dhwani (Echo or Suggestion), the word MeiDhwani subtly alludes to 'Echoes of the Body' in imagined landscapes.

Jan 12 - 27, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune
Schedule for Uma Dogra and Samved Society for Performing Arts
- 12th Jan: Senior disciple Indrayanee Mukherjee dances in SWAMI HARIDAS SANGEET SAMMELAN, Kolkata.
- 13th Jan: Performance in SANSMARAN FESTIVAL in memory of Guru Rohini Bhate in Pune.
- 15th Jan Uma Dogra & disciples dance in UPVAN FESTIVAL, Thane.
- 17th Jan: Senior disciple Sarita Kalele dances in EKATATVA for Glory Award function at Nehru Centre, Mumbai.
- 27th Jan: Samved Society for Perf Arts & Uma Dogra present 27TH PT. DURGALAL FESTIVAL featuring: Uma Dogra with her disciples in TAAL CHAKRA & Odissi dance production SRIYAH by Nrityagram.
At: Tata Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai, 7pm

Jan 21, Bangalore
Rukmini Vijayakumar performs in Gudiya Sambrama, The Bengaluru Temple Festival 2017.
Venue: Sri Gudada Ramanjaneyaswamy Devasthana in Hanumanthanagar, 7pm to 8:45pm

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