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May 2017

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"Some people seem to think that good dancers are born, but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained."
- Fred Astaire

As WORLD DANCE DAY slips past us and a new month dawns, I begin with the most recent experience of performing in FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH in New York City.

Read on...

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


Ramli Ibrahim & Sutra Dance Theatre presented 'Amorous Delight'
At Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi, on April 6, 2017
Photos: Avinash Pasricha

Expressions: International Contemporary Dance Festival
Shriram Centre, Delhi, March 27-29, 2017
Photos: Avinash Pasricha



- Kutiyattam performer Kapila Venu received this year's NATIONAL KUMAR GANDHARV AWARD of the cultural department of the Government of Madhya Pradesh, on April 8, 2017 at the Malhar Smriti Mandir in village of Devas in Madhya Pradesh which was Pandit Kumar Gandharv's home for several years. This is the first time the award which was initially reserved for musicians is being given to a performing artiste of a different genre. The award comprises a cash award of Rupees 1,25,000, a citation and a sculpture.

- Bharatanatyam dancer Urmila Sathyanarayanan received the OBUL REDDY GNANAMBAL AWARD for Lifetime Achievement from the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore, Chennai on April 16, 2017.

- Prashant Shastry's Naatyakalakshetra celebrates the 10th year of Nrithya Utsava festivals through the year with NRITHYA PRABHA awards given to senior gurus during the year. It was given to Guru Padmini Ravi in Jan, Kuchipudi Guru Madhava Peddi Murthy in Feb, and musician Shyamala Jagidar in March. Kathak guru Vijayashree Choudhary received it on April 21, 2017 at Mumbai.

- Ranjana Gauhar's Utsav conferred the annual UTSAV SAMMAN 2017 on gurus Saroja Vaidyanathan (Bharatanatyam, Delhi), Durga Charan Ranbir (Odissi, Bhubaneswar), Uma Dogra (Kathak, Mumbai) and Avinash Pasricha (Dance Photography, Delhi), for their outstanding contribution in the field of art and culture on April 28, 2017 at Kamani Auditorium, Delhi.

- ABHAI Annual Day will be celebrated on May 1, 2017 at Rukmini Devi Kalai Arangam, Tamilnadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram, Chennai. The awardees for 2016 and 2017:
NATYAKALANIDHI: Dr. Yamini Krishnamurthi & Indira Rajan
GANDHARVA NIPUNA: Khandadevi Vijayaraghavan (violinist) &Veda Krishnan Ram (mridangist)
NARTHAKA NIPUNA: Deepak Majumdar & Sheejith Krishna
NRITHYAPERUNJYOTI: Radhika Shurjit (a new award from the year 2017 for female dancers above 45 years).

- Utsav Music confers UTSAV NRITHYA RATNA title on Bharatanatyam exponent Lakshmi Viswanathan on May 1, 2017 at Chennai during the World Dance Day celebration.

- Celebrating the centenary of Subbudu by Rajesh Govindarajulu

- Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov and BAC's newly elected Chairman of the Board Diana DiMenna submitted a Statement of Support for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities on April 3, 2017 to the congressional representatives in the U.S. Senate: Senator Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and the Manhattan Delegation of the U.S. House of Representatives: Representative Adriano Espaillat, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Representative Carolyn Maloney, and Representative Nydia Velázquez. This public declaration of support advocates for the importance of the NEA to represent the very best of the American creed: commitment to the beauty of diversity, the thrill of experimentation, and the communion of understanding between the artist and the public.

The period between 1850 and 1950 was a magnificent time for the world of performing arts. The book places itself at the crossroads of understanding modern cultural history. Through ten leading ladies of theatre, including Munni Bai, Mukhtar Begum, Jahanara Kajjan and Moti Bai, the book traces an unwritten narrative of women, performance, nationhood and modernity. The book is a tribute to the giant contribution of these women to the making of art history. All royalties from the sales of the book have been pledged to a rural girl child education initiative.
Flexibound: 208 pages / English
Publisher: Roli Books, Rs.695, available on Amazon

- Remembering 'Mapu' Martand Singh: My mentor, India's textile revival hero by Ashish Mohan Khokar
From INTACH to inspiring designers and promoting weavers, his genius was unparalleled.

- The textile man who understood both tradition and technique by Laila Tyabji
A long-time friend writes about Martand Singh's drive and commitment to document Indian textiles and reveal them to the world.


- Yoga Retreat
by Navtej Johar

Tara, Jagori, Kangra, HP
May 2 - 7, 2017

- Nadam presents
Abhinaya workshop
by Bragha Bessell

May 6 - 12, 2017 Bangalore

- Sattvika Danse presents
Bharatanatyam workshop
By Jai Govinda

Aug 18-20, 2017 Montreal
Register by May 8

- Attakaklari's Summer Intensive
May 8 - 20, 2017

- Sparsh Studio presents
3 day Bharatanatyam workshop
by Rama Vaidyanathan
May 19 to 21, 2017 Kolkata

- Nrityayatri presents
Abhinaya workshop
by Bragha Bessell

May 19-21, 2017 Pune

- Second Honeymoon to Goa featuring the Dhananjayans

- Soprano Ermonela Jaho answers school childrens' questions about opera

We see artists in India in their eighties, still performing. Some even dance while carrying the heavy paraphernalia of costume and make-up. The Kathakali and Koodiyattam artists of Kerala are an example of the power of will over a frail, worn-out body. The strength of the body, when supported by the heart and mind, cannot be underestimated! I have survived five decades in dance and know that it is all about mind over matter. The practice is relentless; the pain never goes away; the complexity never diminishes. The performance gives joy beyond comprehension. But the dagger of failure hangs over one's body from the beginning of the journey. Performing is not a choice for the faint-hearted. Repetition, rigorous and meditative practice has to be the bedrock of artistic endeavour-the very air an artist breathes. In fact, it is very much about breath! So much of what happens between two breaths is the magic of dance.
('The Mindful Body' by Leela Samson, The Indian Quarterly, Oct-Dec 2016)


- Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Jayanti Bhagavata Mela Natya Nataka Sangam presents 77th Year Bhagavata Mela Nataka Mahotsav
May 17 - 27, 2017 Melattur

- Revisiting Ratan Thiyam's Urubhangam
Thirty seven years ago in November 1980, visiting Imphal, Manipur, for a dance conference with Kamala Devi Chattopadhyaya, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan and Usha Malik, by sheer fortuitous circumstances I saw Bhasa's play Urubhangam in Meitei language directed by Ratan Thiyam. It was an eye opener.

- Kumudini Lakhia on crisis in Kathak
Kumudini admitted that she did not feel comfortable doing abhinaya on thumris with Krishna breaking the pots, harassing gopis, and the basic shringara rasa of thumris. So she looked for abstraction in dance.

- Rachana Yadav's Trishanku and Rama's tribute to her mother
Trishanku was presented on 1st April at Kamani Auditorium in Delhi.... The inaugural event of Madhavi, a dance festival in honour of late Madhavi Gopalakrishnan, the mother of Rama Vaidyanathan, was on 3rd April.

- Nritya Sanrachna: A festival of choreographic works
Under the aegis of Sangeet Natak Akademi, Jawaharlal Nehru Manipuri Dance Academy and Manipur University, a festival of choreographic works by leading dancers and choreographers from different states of India was arranged at Imphal from 22nd till 26th March 2017 at the new Maharaja Chandrakirti Auditorium, Manipur University.

- Sanjali's tribute on Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra's 13th death anniversary
On 7th April on the 13th death anniversary of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, his disciple Sharmila Mukerjee presented Pravaha as tribute at ADA Rangamandira, Bangalore.

THE EASTERN EYE: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

- Magical, Mystical, Monumental
Parjanya Devata (The Rain God), a dance production blending Odissi and Western classical dance form, presented recently in Kolkata by Victoria Memorial Hall in association with South Gurukul Society, could not have been a more grandiloquent affair, in terms of all three elements needed for performative arts: space, time and characters.

- Moods, Movements and Melodies
Sapphire Annual Gala marked recently the running of the series seamlessly for 28 quarters ever since its launch in 2010 and presented debut works by Sapphire and non-Sapphire artistes, collaborators and installations.

- A limitless lustre of love
Ananta, a two-day festival of classical dances presented by Upasana Centre of the Arts, Kolkata, was crafted as an open gesture on the topic of filial loss and love.

TAALAM: Column by Leela Venkataraman
- Fusion or Confusion?
With all the buzz about rightists and leftists, about fundamentalists versus the liberal minded, about secularism against 'majoritarianism,' it seems to me that somewhere people are losing a sense of proportion on what represents plain good taste against what goes for ugliness of mind and thinking.

- In a different tone: Amorous Delight presents a challenging theatre of love
Ruminating over the challenges of such flagrant erotic verses on sambhoga and vipralambha sringar as base for a work in what has justifiably been called 'Contemporary Odissi', Amorous Delight draws on blended creative energies from Odisha and Malaysia...

- Contemporary dance expressions beckon
Costume designer Sandhya Raman's studio in Delhi became the venue for an informal and unusual evening of Collisions, comprising movement exploration in contemporary dance, substantiated by a dialogue involving three reputed people in the dance world...

- Impresario India gamely carries on
Despite obstacles in procuring sponsorship, Impresario India mounted the nineteenth edition of its annual choreographic festival, National Festival of Creative Arts, on March 21 and 22 at Stein Auditorium, Delhi.

- Encouraging audiences for the ticketed Divinity Series
Taking the plunge to make a ticketed show of the 'Divinity Series' (April 6 - 8 at the Habitat Stein Auditorium, Delhi) annually mounted by Jyotsna Shourie Dance Centre, was a step in the right direction.

Not just anyBODY - a health and fitness column
- Health Recipes 12: Bergedel Jagung by Uma Pushpanathan

- Effects of chronic stress on performance by Ishika Sachdev
Our endocrine system is like an orchestra, all participating glands and organs have to work together, in harmony, for smooth functioning.

Meet the artistes SANCHARI.. More on the artsArticles


May 1, Chennai

May 1st to May 6th is when ABHAI conducts summer ABHIVRIDDHISHALA with teachers Sathyanarayana Raju and Rama Vaidyanathan. On May 1st is Abhai's Annual day. Abhai honours Yamini Krishnamurti, Indira Rajan, Kandadevi Vijayaraghavan, Vedakrishna Ram, Deepak Majumdar, Sheejith Krishna, Nellai D Kannan and Radhika Shurajith with awards for 2016 and 2017. Rare items taught at the Abhivriddhishala will be performed by young and talented artiste members of Abhai.
At: Rukmini Devi Kalai Arangam, Tamilnadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram, RA Puram, 6pm

May 1, Mumbai
Performance by Smitalay and Jhelum Paranjape for Maharashtra Day Celebrations by Sane Guruji Arogya Mandir
At: Sane Guruji Arogya Mandir Hall, Santacruz West, 11.30am

May 1, London, UK
Kalasagara UK presents SAHASRABDHI VAIBHAVAM in celebration of Sri Ramanuja's 1000th birth anniversary, a thematic dance performance by Usha Raghavan and her students, accompanied by live orchestra. This event is supported by the Jeeyar Educational Trust UK.
At: Patidar House, 22 London Road, Wembley HA9 7EX, 6 - 8pm

May 1 - 28, Kolkata
Schedule for Sapphire Creations Dance Company & Sudarshan Chakravorty.
- 1st May: Sudarshan Chakravorty is part of a panel discussion on 'Dignity of Woman Labour' organized by Novotel in Novotel banquets, 6pm
- 13th May: Sudarshan Chakravorty is a guest of honour in screening of short film THE SIXTH ELEMENT directed by Arjunn Datta and chosen in Cannes film festival at Nandan 2, near Rabindra Sadan, 6.30pm
- 18th May: A special program TAGORE & GULZAR featuring singer Chandrima Bhattacharya and Sudarshan Chakravorty as the narrator and Sapphire dancers at Cafe First Flush, near Gariahat, 7pm
- 28th May: Rotary Club of Calcutta Old City presents a special fundraiser HRIDAYA for children with cardiac disease featuring Sapphire Creations Dance Company's ATITHI DEVO BHAVA with 50 dancers, actors, singers and musicians at Science City Auditorium, 6pm.

May 3, NYC
Jiva Dance's first film short, URBAN NRITTA, has been selected to be screened at the NYIFF, as part of its Shorts program at Theater 3, Village East, NYC, at 6:15pm.

May 3 - 12, New Delhi
Schedule for Geeta Chandran and Natya Vriksha
-3 May: Geeta Chandran and Natya Vriksha Dance Company perform as part of the temple festivities at Ayappa Temple in Ramakrishna Puram (Sector 2), New Delhi
- 5 May: To mark the golden jubilee of the All India Kitchen Garden Association, Geeta Chandran presents 'Heaven-Earth and Us,' in which the dance will react to ikebana being created on stage by Ohara masters Indira Mishra and Syama Balbir.
At: India Habitat Centre, 7.30pm
- 12 May: As part of the centenary celebrations of the renowned music and dance critic Subbudu, Geeta Chandran also pays her tribute, at Chinmaya Mission.

May 4 - 13, Basel & Titterten, Switzerland
Schedule for D. Keshava and Kalasri group.
- May 4, Basel: Anjali, Sumitra, D. Keshava and the Kalasri dance school create a Flashmob at Tanzfest Basel, Kaserne Basel, 6.45pm
- May 6, Basel: Anjali, Sumitra, D. Keshava and the Kalasri dance school perform at Tanzfest Basel, Barfüsserplatz Basel, 4pm
- May 7, Basel: The Kalasri youth dance company performs at Tanz der Kulturen, Tanzfest Basel, Union Basel, 2pm
- May 13, Titterten: Sumitra Keshava performs Bharatanatyam with Irish musicians, at
Gemeindesaal Titterten, Baselland, 8pm

May 5, Chennai
Sharmila Mukerjee presents Odissi at Sri KapaleeshwaraTemple for Vasant Utsav at 6.30pm.

May 5, Bangalore
Anuradha Vikranth presents MAYURA SANDESHA for the Academy of Music's dance festival 'Nritya Rangoli.' Mayura Sandesha is a solo dance narrative elucidating the longing of the tribal heroine Valli, for her beloved hero Skanda. A unique 'Chitra Nritya' technique is introduced in this dance feature where the dancer dances on a spread canvass. While dancing, the Peacock is drawn with her feet, making the beautiful bird her messenger to bring back her beloved.
Venue: Chowdiah Memorial Hall, 6pm.

May 5, Bangalore
Nadam presents an Abhinaya presentation by Bharatanatyam dancer Bragha Bessell.
At: ADA Rangamandira, JC Road, 6.30pm

May 6, Palo Alto, CA
Rasika Kumar presents a Bharatanatyam solo SHAKTI UNVEILED - RECLAIMING THE GODDESS with live music. This show presents issues that plague women today including negative body image, assault victim shaming, and eve teasing while drawing from the energies of Kali and other Mahavidya goddesses to propel us towards a better, more equal future.
Concept & Choreography: Rasika Kumar, nattuvangam & direction: Malavika Kumar Walia
Vocal, music composition: Sindhu Natarajan, mridangam: Aditya Ganesh, flute: Ashwin Krishnakumar, violin: Vikram Ragukumar
At: Cubberley Theater, Palo Alto, 3:30pm

May 6, Aliso Viejo, CA
Ramya Harishankar participates in 16th Annual International Day, Soka University.

May 6, Mississauga, Canada
Sampradaya Dance Creations presents AALAAP performed by Usha Gupta Dance Entourage from Edmonton, Alberta under its signature performance series - the Kalangan Series. Choreographed by Kumudini Lakhia, this work will be performed by 5 dancers in the Kathak tradition including : Sudeshna Maulik, Sanjukta Sinha, Anuj Mishra, Marla Palakkamanil and Riya Alika Mittal.
Venue: Sampradaya Theatre, 4-3250 Ridgeway Drive, Mississauga, 7.30pm

May 14, Lemont, IL
Natya Dance Theatre presents a special fundraiser in support of the Indo-American Heritage Museum and the forthcoming exhibition 'Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation' which explores the Indian-American experience and the community's vital political, professional, and cultural contributions to American life and history. Natya senior dancers perform BHARATHI: MY MOTHER, with choreography by Hema Rajagopalan.

May 16 - 26, Calicut, Nelambur
Schedule for Deepa Narayanan, Kuchipudi Parampara Foundation, Bangalore.
-May 16-20, Calicut: Kuchipudi & Andhra Natyam workshop by Deepa Narayanan & Kala Krishna for Swathi Thirunal Kalakendram
-May 22-26, Nelambur: Kuchipudi workshop

May 20, Lemont, IL
Natya Dance Theatre celebrates the artistic accomplishments of Natya's students with Spring Student Showcase performance.
At: Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, 10915 Lemont Road, 3:30pm.

May 25 & 26, NYC
La Mama Movies! Dance Festival presents ETERNAL EMBRACE choreographed and performed by Astad Deboo. Music composed and performed by Yukio Tsuji.
At: La Mama Theatre, Downstairs, 66 East 4th Street, NY 10003, 8pm

May 26, San Francisco, CA
Abhinaya dancers present SANCHAARI - Elaboration, at the San Francisco International Arts Festival.
At: Cowell Theater, San Francisco, 8pm

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