Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Amrita Lahiri Presentation "Samudra- Mother Ocean" - At Serendipity Arts Festival - New Delhi - April 2017

"Samudra- Mother Ocean"
Amrita Lahiri 
Serendipity Arts Festival
April 6th, 2017

Amrita presents Samudra at the Serendipity Arts Festival. Here is a note about the production.

Within each of us is an ocean pregnant with possibilities for creation. Tagore in his poem ‘Samudrer Proti’ addresses the Ocean as the eternal mother of the earth. She is not the stereotyped mother brimming with tenderness and self-sacrifice, put on a pedestal. Rather, she is na├»ve, impulsive, powerful, animal-like, fallible, contradictory- an everyday mother.

According to the Book of Genesis, on the third day, God commanded the waters to recede, and make dry land appear. That is the most well known of the stories of the creation. It is matched by legends from several other ancient cultures that speak of the emergence of the universe from an infinite expanse of waters. Tagore in this poem imagines a primordial sea in the process of giving birth to the world, tied to it by an infinitely deep love and longing, almost like a mother’s ties to its child, sometimes fierce and raging resulting in tsunamis, sometimes a gentle lullaby rhythm.

Samudrer Proti gives beautiful imagery for choreography and music, even when we have not used the lines literally. The music is composed by Sudha Raghuraman.

‘Hey Adi Janani Sindhu…’
O Eternal Mother Ocean…
I am earth’s child, sitting on your bank,
Listening to your sound.

I’m thinking, one can understand some of your secrets
Like a relative understands a mute person’s sign language.
It seems, in the midst of my heart, the blood that flows in the veins
Knows the same language, and has not learnt anything else.

It seems, as though I remember, when I was one with
The unborn embryo that was this world in that huge womb of yours
For millions of years your restless musical note
Inside me has gotten imprinted.

That pre-birth memory, on the earth, which is in your womb
That eternal life-pulse of your maternal heart- very slight, muted-
Like a hint, rises throughout my body,
-a few select verses from translated from Tagore’s Bengali poem ‘Samudrer Proti’

Dance Choreography: Amrita Lahiri
Music Composition: Sudha Raghuraman
Percussion: Shambhu Bhattacharjee
Flute: Raghuraman
Mridangam: Chandrasekhar
Nattuvangam: Kesavan


PriyaLasya(C), Do Not Copy, Copyrights Acknowledged

Monday, 3 April 2017

Conscious of Rhythm, Line and Form - Shreya Sridhar - Bharatanatyam - A Report - March 2017


- A Report from Sri Pratap Antony- pratapantony@gmail.com 

Shreya is student of the Smt. Hemamalini Arni, the inspirational guru of some of the finest dancers in the country such as Kiranmayee Madupu.

Shreya Sridhar showed her ability and promise in a good performance at the Kalasagaram Annual Youth Festival of Dance on 18th March 2017.

Shreya performed four pieces opening with the prayer extolling Ganesha, the Lord of Beginnings and Remover of Obstacles: ‘Vaataapi Ganapatim bhaje ham’ in Ragam Hamsadhwani in Talam Adi and composed by Muthuswamy Dikshitar. The next Varnam, the centerpiece of the prerformance expressed the feelings of an ardent devotee of Krishna. 


Varnam: Pachai mamalai Ragam Ragamalika. Talam Adi. Composed by Tondaradipodi Azvar.

Shreya depicted the words of this piece in dance so that we in the audience could understand what the composer described: “Lord Krishna as a green mountain, with coral red lips. He says he would rather not go to the most beautiful Indralokam even if he were sent there, but worship at the feet of the Lord. He is his only refuge. He wishes to have a glimpse of Lord Ranganatha in Srirangapatnam and attain moksha at his lotus feet”. 


The third item was a Padam: Natanam Aadinaar, where Shreya competently illustrated in dance the sheer beauty of the dance of ecstasy and abandon of Lord Nataraja, where the composer Gopala Krishna Bharathi describes the sheer beauty of the dance of Lord Nataraja, where The eight sides of the world shook as he danced, the Ganga overflowed her banks and Adishesha, the great snake on his body trembled with fear. The composition was in Ragam Vasantha, Talam Ata.


The last item of the programme was a Thillana, a pure dance composition by Vazhuvoor Somu Pillai in Ragam Surati in Adi Talam. Shreya peformed this Tillana with nimble footwork and held poses like classic temple sculpture.

The musicians performing on stage merit special appreciation for their excellent musicianship and outstanding performance that made watching a good Bharata Natyam performance an even greater experience.

The musicians were: 

Nattuvangam - Renuka Prasad. Singer- Sweta Prasad

Mridangam- Sridhara Chary. Violin - Sai Kolanka. And assisting the guru, Hemamalini Arni, on stage with the musicians - Kiranmayee Madupu.

The dancer’s sense of timing and rhythm and her consciousness of form and line spoke well of her understanding of her training in dance.

*Views of the Contributor.

PriyaLasya(C), Do Not Copy, Copyrights Acknowledged

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Ritu-2017 - A Report

”Pancha Deviyam” Kuchipudi Performance
Sunitha Menon

 Ritu-2017, a festival conceived by Ms. Sisira Praveen and team, who is dancer herself, who also turned into organizer to create platform for dancers to perform. This being the inaugural Ritu festival is dedicated to Kuchipudi and the artistes would perform for the conceptual choreography of Dr. Vasanth Kiran.

 Two up and coming artistes were selected among many applicants to perform in the junior slot, Ms Vaishnavi Margam from Warangal, showed promise, credits to her Guru Mr Sudhir Rao. The second artiste Mr Amarjit Shill, Bengali training at Srinivasa Art Academy under the Guidance of Guru Dr. Sobha Naidu, he chose Meera Bhajan for the evening, in the character ‘Meera’, the stree vesham which he prefers to perform in. He needs to realize the maturity levels as the compositions need delicate handling.

The artists of Dr.Vasanth’s team were next to perform . Their Recital began with ‘Kuchipudi Salaam’ a compositions that gives a glimpse of Kuchipudi’s nuances like Nritta, Nritya, Natya, Chari, Karanas and ends with a Salaam, which is an ode of King Abul Hassan Tanesha, the then Golconda Nawaad who gifted the land, which is today’s Kuchipudi in Krishna District. This composition was penned by Dr. Vasanth himself.

Theme for the evening was ‘Pancha Deviyam’ the concept of five goddesses uniting ultimately into Goddess lalitha. The dancers took a sequential entry one after that other, Ms Prateeksha Kashi as Goddess Parvati, Ms Aswini Nambiar as Goddess Lakshmi, Ms Maalyada Anand as Goddess Saraswati, Ms Rachana Narayanakutty as Goddess Gayatri Devi and Ms Sonu SatheeshKumar as Goddess Savitri. The intricate jathis and choreography, pleasant music and perfect costuming made it a visual treat for the audience.

Each dancer shining as solo performers, came together which was a rare treat. Alliance University is the common thread where department of Performing Arts in headed by Dr Vasanth Kiran and the three among five dancers are Post Graduate students of Kuchipudi and the other two faculty members.

The lyrics had depth in its content which was penned by Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry and Music by Prof. Durga Bhavani Vedantam. The quick-silver movements and the finale of them uniting into Goddess Lalitha, was a moment of goosebumps. The energy of was felt by one and all and the team received standing ovation.

The team of ensemble lead by Dr. Vasanth Kiran, Ramya Suraj and Sruthy Chandrasekhar on Vocal were melodious, Sreehari Anand on Mridangam, Raghunandan on Flute and Sangeeth on Violin gave an apt accompaniment. It would have been even more impactful if only the sound system could have been better. Overall, it was surely an evening well spent and this show deserves many bigger platforms. Kudos to the organizers of Ritu-2017.

The inaugural ceremony  was presided by entrepreneur Mr Gokulam Goapalan and the Member of Parliament Mr. Mullappally Ramachandran.

Contributor Sunitha Menon's Notes:

I reached by the late noon to see Dr. Vasanth was busy engaging an ‘Abhyaasashaala’ (workshop) on Shiva Tarangam for twenty odd students from all over Kerala and it was evident that he is a task master. As I spoke to him for quick minutes before he rushed to change over to wield the cymbals for the evening’s much awaited performance. He had arrived straight from Kolkata after performing for Purush Festival.

Art and especially dance has always had a special place in my life. One dance form that is close to my heart is Kuchipudi, though I hail from Kerala. I have come across a name in the recent past, being  choreographer, Dr. Vasanth Kiran.

About Contributor:

Ms Sunita is an art connoisseur, practitioner and Dance enthusiast. Trained in Bharathanatyam and Kuchipudi forms,  is an IT professional from Bengaluru.

Invite of the program:

*Views are of the contributor
PriyaLasya(C), Do Not Copy, Copyrights Acknowledged

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Dance Fraternity Upset With Government Letter - Nomination of Youth Culture Ambassador - March 2017

A letter supposed to have been issued by Youth Advancement (Secretary), Tourism & Culture Department this month March 2017 drew wide spread criticism from Kuchipudi community including  from the traditional Bhagavathulu families.

The main contention is about the relevance and applicability of appointing a dancer whose main capability is not Kuchipudi but fusion (and more specifically her talent being in dancing with a hoola hoop ring). No doubt her talent in such art form is extra-ordinary, but how appropriate is she being a brand ambassador for a traditional and classical art form ie Kuchipudi, many feel.

Kuchipudi continues to be the dedicated art form even today from the traditional Bhagavathula families from the Kuchipudi village, though it has spread to other population world over.

In the interest of the classical dance form, it is recommended that the sensitivity attached to the issue is recognized by the Government and its officials and a suitable amendment be bought in. That is the request and demand that the Kuchipudi artists and supporters are making.

Some say that more details need to be brought into public domain as to the "circumstance reported" to the Government department, as it is this term that finds mention in the so referred letter.

It is not known as to what is the benefit of such nomination as "Culture Ambassador" in terms of funds allocation, resources, and any other support entail and accrue to the nominee. Since the word "Nominee" is used, it is also unclear as to actual declaration of someone as culture ambassador, whether it is final or not.

Overall it is suggested that the real meaning, intent and circumstance be made clear by the Government of Andhra Pradesh; be made clear so as to not hurt the sentiments of Kuchipudi artists.

Your comments are awaited.

(C), Copyrights Reserved, PriyaLasya

Friday, 10 February 2017

My 40 years in Switzerland...! - Dancing - Sri Dasappa Keshava Speaks - Febraury 2017

My 40 years in Switzerland...!

Born in a Gowda family in the year 1946 at Mysore in South India. Choosing Dance and yoga as my profession was not an easy task in those days but my parents and family members were very supportive in my decision.

I have just completed 70 years. The practice of traditional yoga and the sacred Indian dance have kept me in good health and to lead a peaceful life.

During 1975, with a great will power to achieve success, I shifted to Switzerland. There I got married to Esther Jenny and settled down in Switzerland. We established a cultural institution under the name " Kalasri" in the year 1976, the very first school for Indian art and culture in Switzerland. Kalasri played an important role in propagating the Indian art and culture in an European country. We were recognised as ' Swiss Indian dance couple '. Our three children -Anjali, Ananda and Sumitra have made my life pleasant. It is my fortune that Anjali and Sumitra have taken dance and yoga as their integral part of life. I am very proud of them.

In the past 40 years, I have taught many people belonging to different nationalities. We were invited by many European and Indian cultural organisations to give dance programmes and to conduct lecture demonstrations on Indian art and culture. I have received high appreciation and my work in the field of Indian art and culture has been recognised. I have learnt many good things from European people and adopted those in to my life. I am very happy about my achievements and feel that I am blessed to serve the ancient art and culture of India.

I have not lost my enthusiasm even today to carry on my profession further. Every year I visit my motherland India with great excitement. I take this opportunity to thank all my Gurus, Co-artists, organisers, students,relatives, journalists and friends who are constantly and continuously encouraging and supporting me to work in my chosen profession. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you...D. Keshava

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Thursday, 18 August 2016

“ Dancing Drums” A Report - August 2016 - Shivakumar Pandithar

Dancing Drums - A Report - August 2016
A Report - Shivakumar Pandithar

“Dancing Drums”
 Poona Keraleeya Samaj
Alpabachat Bhavan,Pune
13th August 2016

Cine artist and Contemporary dancer Shobhana and her troupe presented their production “ Dancing Drums” for the Poona Keraleeya Samaj, at Alpabachat Bhavan,Pune on 13th August 2016. 

        The dances were traditional steps on the modern beats and remixed lyrics. Use of acrobat in the presentation were well executed. The costumes were excellent,  in some items they seemed they were inspired by the Oriental style of dance costumes. It was a mix of traditional Bharatanatyam  and Oriental style co-existing on the stage. The cine artists abhinaya was good throughout. Dramatization of the other artists were perfect too.  Synchronized dance and culmination into beautiful formation was hallmark of the presentation. Dances with lot of energies was always to see. The evening saw the fushion of many dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Mohiniattam into contemporary dance steps. 

   The item on dancing drums with various percussion instruments being played by the dancers was good and was well appreciated by the audience.  During the entire event the themes were displayed in the background screen , sometimes those would take away the attention of the audience from the artists performing on the stage. 

   Though multimedia aided the show but too much sometimes spoils the fun. Props were used to enhance the presentations. It was an amalgamation of various topics in the whole evening. The last item on Hanuman Chalisa was bit stretched in artistic presentation, definitely it would not be welcomed to hear the sacred verse at a wrong place where we would normally find remixed hip hop only. 

Dances were good.
Pandithar Sivakumar Perumal

Reports, pandithar sivakumar, aug16, (C), Priyalasya, mohiniyattam,  bharatanatyam, kathak, odissi, kuchipudi, manipuri, classical dance, dance
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