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

(C), Do Not Copy, Copyrights Acknowledged

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
Do Not Copy, Copyrights Acknowledged

Monday, 18 April 2016

"PriyaLasya Classical Dance Platform" * Interactive with Prathibha Prahlad * March 2016

"PriyaLasya Classical Dance Platform" * Interactive with Prathibha Prahlad * March 2016

Interactive with renowned dancer Prathibha Prahlad:
"I feel that one role merges into another"


Prathibha Prahlad, is a celebrated Indian Bharatanatyam dancer whose multi- faceted personality reflects in the outstanding work she continues to do in the arts field. Her contribution goes much beyond her own trail- blazing dance career which has taken her to prestigious platforms all over the world. A cultural visionary, besides being a star performer of Bharatanatyam, her work the field of arts is profound and unparalleled in contemporary dance history. Starting her performance career at the age of 6, she was hailed a star before she turned 20.

The Prasiddha Foundation was established in 1991 with the purpose of fostering love and appreciation for all forms of art and to work through the medium of arts for the promotion of national and international cultural contact.

In recognition of her services to Indian Classical Dances, she was recently honored by Government of India with "Padma Sri" award. We get in touch with her and get her response and discuss what plans she has for future through her dance.

First of all, our heartiest Congratulations for the prestigious Padma Sri from Government of India. Your response when you came to know of the announcement of the Honor? How did you feel?

I was happy of course that I was considered for this award. More, I was relieved that it had finally been announced. Every year, people I met would keep saying that they wished I had got it, they were surprised that I was not part of the list of awardees etc etc. So much so , that when I went on stage, organisers would announce that I was a PADMA awardee !!!! I had to begin my speech on so many occasions saying that I was not a PADMA awardee. At least that was taken care of now.​ ​

Who are the people that need to be mentioned, those who inspired on this journey as (..or even events) that you think helped you in giving your best to classical dance and to attain such a special award?

I find it really cliched when people start thanking persons important when they get the award. It is so 'filmy'. I was always very driven. If I put my heart & soul into something, I made sure I excelled.Thats the kind of person I am. I did watch a performance of Yamini Krishnamurthy when I was 4 , perched on my father's shoulders and I was fascinated. My learning began then. But my parents got to know I was learning two years later, when the teacher wanted me to go on stage for a childrens event. ​

I decided to be a professional dancer when I heard a constant refrain in Bangalore that "Bangalore dancers were not nationally recognised"​ ​ and 'could never be top of the line'. For me , this was a challenge. I had to prove others wrong and I had to prove to myself that I could be a "nationally famous dancer​" too , despite coming from Bangalore. So I worked really hard and spent almost 12 hours a day learning and practising. My mother Smt. Prema Prahlad was a great source of support. She was liberal and understanding. My partner Sri. Ramakrishna Hegde also believed in me and my dance. I am grateful for their presence in the crucial years of my life. ​

I am of course grateful to my gurus , especially Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan and Sri. Muthuswamy Pillai , both of whom had immense confidence that I would "make it big" as a professional dancer. And then there was my mridangist Sri. V.P Ramdoss , who was a pillar of support. It is very sad that none of them is alive today to share my success. ​

You are a Performing Artist, a Teacher, a Choreographer, Organizer - How do you feel about each of the roles.

​ I feel that one role merges into another. I started off as a dancer and along the way ​ ​began teaching. When you grow with your art form, there is an urge to explore, innovate and choreograph. Little by little , the envelope is extended. The choreography part has to be organic. You have to feel the need to explore and innovate. One cannot do it just because others are or because it is contemporary to do so!​ ​

How do you find time to handle such demanding roles.. besides family responsibility?
I live and grow in all my roles everyday. Life and art cannot be kept apart. For me, my life is my dance and my dance is my life. Anything and everything to do with dance , music , theatre and other art forms drive me. They keep me alive.​ ​It is very ,very difficult to be a single parent with no support system​ and be an artiste. Most often, you keep wondering whether you are doing the right thing. Art vascillates between extreme discipline on the one hand and lack of displine on many others, while parenting requires and constancy. It is tough. Of course the financials and keeping a stable home is a big challenge. My attitude is -"I just have to do it" and so "smile and do it".​

Changing times and traditions, how do you see the classical dances being taught, on new choreographic works, on upholding Parampara?
​ ​
We are living in the information age. So, it is hard to keep distinctons between paramparas etc. I find everything a happy, healthy mix.One does not see sharp differences or distinctions between styles as earlier.​ ​Lots of times, choreographies etc are copied all the time. In India , we do not have strict patenting for artistic works, especially performing arts. So, everyone does everything, after seeing it or maybe imitating. The only difference is in how they do it. I find the "soul" missing most times , while the body moves to perfection.The "soul" to me is the distinctive factor between dancers and that is really what I want to see.​ ​

About dreams that you were able to realize through your works, some may have been remaining unrealized, if so about them.. And about your vision for the future?

​ I have pretty much lived my life on my own terms and have paid a heavy price for it. I love Bharatanatyam​. I learnt it from great gurus and tried my best ​ to do it well. Whenever something inspired me - maybe literature, maybe lyrics, maybe music, maybe just an idea, I explored and did it. So , I dont feel unfulfilled​ as an artiste. What I absolutely hate is politics in dance and I try my best to be out of it.

My future is going to be much of the same thing. I have hopes for the Delhi International Arts Festival blossoming into the most sought after Festival in the world. If it can reach where it has in 9 years, and with not much support, just imagine where it can reach if all agencies and Government organizations involved in the deliberation of the arts come together. I would like the cultural centre that I wish to build in Bangalore become a true multi-arts Centre with free flow of ideas and artistic expressions.

*Wish your dream of Multi-arts Centre in Bangalore turns to reality soon. Thank you for your responses and once again Congratulations
Contributer- Bhavanvitha (


Credits & Keywords- Padmasri, Prathibha Prahlad, Bhratanatyam, Kuchipudi, Interactive, M16-25-1, Do Not Copy,
Copyrights Acknowledged,Feb16, PriyaLasya, Hamara, (C)
*Information as provided by contributor. All views are of the contributor

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Bharatanatyam Performance - Sacred Dance - Adhikaara nandi Utsavam - Kapaleeswarar Temple - Chennai - March 2016

Chi. Sugathan Mohandass – A Kalakshetra Alumnus and The Secretary of Sri Sumukhi Rajasekharan Memorial Foundation performed a “Sacred Dance” in front of “Adhikaara Nandhi Vahanam” at Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore, for the 4th year on the eve of Adhikaara Nandi Utsavam (15-3-2016) for the famous Song “Kaana Kankodi Vendum… Adhikaara Nandhi Sevaithanai” (a Tamizh Keertanam composed by Shri. Papanasam Sivan on Lord Kapaleeswarar and Goddess Karpagambal - Mylapore). 

He also danced to “Ganga Stothram” the verses of Shri. AdhiShankaracharyar in a very vibrant manner since his body, mind and soul had immensely soaked in the sacred Ganges in Kasi, after his pilgrimage to Varanasi last summer-that was the impact of Kasi on him. He has created a niche for himself in Divine Dancing for God. 

The devotees at Kapali temple not only had a darshan of Adhikaara Nandi Vahanam but also the divine dance of the Sugathan in complete veneration. Adding on to the pious flavor, this year Sugathan for the first time performed with full dance costume with salangai which was a visual treat to one and all. The spell bound audience expected few more numbers but he could not continue as it was already late in the night.
Every year, special Pooja is organized on the previous day night of the “Adhikaara Nandhi” Festival by the “Thandarai Vaidhyar” Family – The Donors of the Silver Kavacham of the Adhikaara Nandhi Vahanam (1917). It is the 99th year completion of the donorship. This Family has been closely associated with The Mylapore Trio’s (S. Amarnath, S. Surendranath, S. Aparna) Parents Late. Smt. Sumukhi, Shri. Rajasekharan & Grand Mother Smt. Nagammal for many generations. and Sugathan is fostered by “The Mylapore Trio”. Hence, this Blessed & Rare opportunity for Chi. Sugathan to perform on this auspicious occasion and he wishes & prays to continue his divine dancing throughout for the Almighty….

suganthan mohandass, (C), Sri Sumukhi Rajasekharan Memorial Foundation, Mar16, Bharatanatyam, Kapaleeswarar Temple, Do not copy, Copyrights Acknowledged, 15

Saturday, 12 March 2016

'Samskritam-Natyam’ on Feb. 8th, 2016 - A Report

‘Samskritam-Natyam’: A beautiful presentation by Lakshmi Mani & Naveena

--SaarasvataSamiti Club, M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women

As part of its ‘Samskritotsava’, the popular institution of Chennai, the M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women, Nungambakkam, invited renowned Kuchipudi exponent, Lakshmi Mani and her daughter, Naveena to present the topic, ‘Samskritam-Natyam’ on Feb. 8th, 2016 at the College premises at 2pm. The institution, reputed for its co-curricular activities, meant to expose its Sanskrit students to the manifold presence of the divine language as seen in Indian arts, by way of its Club, ‘Saarasvata-Samiti’. While the topic itself is notable for its sheer range, the lucid yet vivid presentation proved to be a wholesome treat of enlightenment and entertainment.

Lakshmi Mani brings with her several decades of beautiful artistry and universal accolades for exquisite abhinaya. Her daughter, Naveena proved to be a riveting speaker, her erudition and ready wit keeping the audience spell-bound. Together, the duo regaled the audience of young students, leaving them yearning for more.

The topic was viewed from two clear perspectives and was enriched by aptly-curated Powerpoint slides—

> Works on Natya, which are in Sanskrit

> Works in Sanskrit, with Natya as an important component.

Starting with works in Natya which are written in Sanskrit, Naveena coursed through a plethora of works, both popular and lesser-known, carefully choosing the salient and peculiar aspects to let students have a holistic view. Lacing her lecture with anecdotes and quotations, many extempore, the speaker succeeded in establishing a rapport with her audience steadily. Apart from the Natya Sastra, Abhinaya Darpana and Nrtta Ratnavali, students were informed of works such as Nartana Nirnaya, Shringaraprakasha, Nataka Lakshana Ratnakosha, et al.

Moving on to the presence of the varied aspects of dance as spotted in Sanskrit works, the speaker sprung a surprise onto the students by stating that the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet emanated at the end of Shiva’s cosmic dance, from his Damaru. While quoting relevant passages/verses from famed works such as Malavikaagnimitram, Vikramorvashiyam, Gitagovinda, Krishna Leela Tarangini, popular devotional hymns, etc. the speaker also gave glimpses of some metrical arrangements (vrtta) in poetry, which correspond with musical rhythmic structures (gati). Certain beautiful embellishments(alankaras) were also highlighted. The speaker also proved her versatility by singing a few Sanskrit compositions of later composers such as Maharaja Swati Tirunal, Annamacharya and Oothukkadu Venkata Subbaiyer.

The Talk was informative, without being pedantic, while also involving the students in activities like Mookakelih(dumb-charades with Sanskrit words/phrases), a quiz on meaning/etymology of often-used words, various Indian classical dances, the varied ways to interpret a single phrase in dance, etc., all of which pushed the borders of creativity and thinking of the student-audience.

Lakshmi Mani proved a master of her craft in her Kuchipudi demonstration. Presenting a rare Tarangam, glorifying the Lord Venkateshwara, her depiction of the story of Haathi Ram Babaji, a great saint-devotee of the Lord, was especially a visual treat in the way the characters were beautifully contrasted. The item culminated with the dance on the brass-plate as per the custom of Kuchipudi dance and this was greeted by the audience with astonishment and appreciation. To say it was an afternoon well-spent is to simply understate!

- Saraasvata Samiti

Samskritam-Natyam, Report, (C), Mar16, Samskritotsava, Chennai, Contributor, Do not copy, Copyrights Acknowledged,