CriticalDance Forum

Bharatha Natyam 2003 onwards
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Apr 17, 2004 3:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bharatha Natyam 2003 onwards

I've consolidated two topics:

In San Jose, California:

Dance of the poet

By Anita Amirrezvani
San Jose Mercury News

Subramanya Bharati (1882-1921) lived such a passionate and tragic life that it continues to inspire writers, dancers and filmmakers today. <a href= target=_blank>more</a>

Dazzling debut classical dance performance
From The Times of Oman

MUSCAT — Ank uram 2004 — which presented five young artistes — Alaka Rajeevan, Nisha Tony, Parvathy Balachandran, Poornima Babu and Shriya Raj — at the Sree Krishna Temple — has proved to be an excellent Indian classical dance programme, thanks to the scintillating performances of the dancers.

The dancers, who are students of Shailaja Sreekumar, performed their rangapravesham in Bharatanatyam.

click for more

<small>[ 17 April 2004, 05:16 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Apr 17, 2004 3:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bharatha Natyam 2003 onwards

Dancing Modern / Dancing Indian / Dancing …. In America: The myths of cultural ‘purity’
by Priya Srinivasan for Ballet-Dance Magazine

American audiences perceived Nautch dancers in contradictory ways, with both desire and loathing.

click for more

Author:  kurinuku [ Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bharatha Natyam 2003 onwards

Brits warm up to Bharatnatyam

Times News Network
April 17, 2004

LONDON: From ballet to Bharatnatyam — one of the world’s leading centres of contemporary dance is to lead the West on its first steps towards recognising Indian classical dance as an appropriate classical basis for modern multi-lingual movement on stage.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue May 11, 2004 3:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bharatha Natyam 2003 onwards

Weekend treat awaits classical dance lovers
From The Times of Oman

MUSCAT — It will be sheer poetry in motion at two classical dance shows, scheduled for this weekend.

The first one, which will be held this Thursday, will be a dance ballet presented by disciples of Padmini Krishnamoorthy, a well-known dancer in Oman, who is running the popular dance school Sri Saraswathi Natyalaya.

click for more

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Aug 19, 2004 1:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bharatha Natyam 2003 onwards

She braved hurdles to learn dance
By Renu Ojha for MidDay (Mumbai, India)

Raji Kapil’s world revolves around dance. This 36-year-old Green Acres resident has mastered various dance forms to perfection and she now teaches Indian classical and western dance forms in Thane.

“I would never have been a dancer had I not persevered,” says Raji adding, “My family, especially my grandmother, did not want me to learn dance. But I managed to persuade my parents and they allowed me to learn bharatnatyam when I was in Class 7.”

click for more

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bharatha Natyam 2003 onwards

Full of grace

The Hindu

RESPLENDENT IN a beautiful blue costume that presented her willowy figure in the best light, Ganga Grace struck a fine figure impressing with her deep concentration and poetic movements during her performance for Natyanjali Trust. <a href= target=_blank>more</a>

Author:  cerise [ Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:57 am ]
Post subject:  Kalai Karviri

Kalai Kaviri
St.Martin’s in the Bullring, Birmingham

17th June 2005

A faithfully detailed and well-polished Bharatanatyam performance is happily not a rare sight in Birmingham. It is highly unusual, however, to see such a treat taking place in a Christian church. Kalai Karviri’s performance company of fifteen dancers represents the University College of Fine Arts of the same name, which is based in Tirachirapalli, South India. The college take approximately two –thirds of its pupils from amongst talented out-caste youngsters, funding and training them to professional standard, financed jointly by the charitable projects of the local and global Christian and Hindu faith communities. The college’s population is made up of roughly half from each religion, and succeeds in creating a harmonious spiritual-based education that emphasises worship through artistic practices. Hence Kalai Karviri find themselves in Birmingham city centre providing a free open-door performance. This is part of an extensive UK tour throughout this month and July: for more details see the Guardian Guide.

The performance programme was a mixed platter of Bharatahatyam, Kathak and traditional folk dance. It was clear that Bharatanatyam is the college’s speciality and this special quality shone out through the skills of the vibrant young performers (for the Baratanatyam-heads: the college's style can be traced back to Rukmini Devi Arundale of the Kalakshetra Foundation). Despite some dubious detours into Creationist theory evangelism and ‘western’ fusion dance, the repertoire was an exhilarating combination of the three strands of the art form. Abstract, technique-based Bharatanatyam exemplified the aesthetic charm of pattern rhythm and geometry infused with a radiantly buoyant expressive quality only seen emanating from expert dancers. A sparser, almost entirely gestural piece showed the beauty of dance-as-prayer.

To the audience’s delight, there was also a lighter narrative duet: a battle between the Peacock and the Snake. Two short solos ingeniously expressing the movement qualities of each of these two animals: the Peacock erect an moving with tiny flexed- footed steps whilst making staccato ‘pecking’ neck movements; and the Snake, arms entwined and vertical, executing a swift twirling manoeuvre on the knees and shaping 3-D ‘S’s with the ribs and torso. Then a conflict erupted, ensuing in a somewhat spurious struggle. Imagine the audience’s surprise when the Peacock’s nondescript ‘tail’ suddenly fans into a huge and glorious display of real peacock feathers. She stands over the supine snake, iridescent against a backdrop of stained glass windows. Exquisite. Enough to make those of the most catholic of tastes feel like leaping from their pews and dancing in the aisles.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Jun 19, 2005 4:33 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks a lot for this review, Cerise. When beautiful dance art can be used for social benefit as well, I am a very happy bunny. It is also intersting to remember that the most rewarding dance events are not dependent on cost alone and free concerts like this one can sometimes give greater pleasure and satisfaction than something costing $150.

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Jul 29, 2005 11:47 am ]
Post subject: 

Profile of a young dancer from the SJ Mercury News.

Young dancer in spotlight


By Lisa Fernandez

Mercury News

When 11-year-old Maya Ramachandran takes the stage Saturday, she will be the youngest solo dancer in an annual summer series hosted by San Jose's Shri Krupa Dance Foundation -- the Bay Area's oldest dance company of its kind.

Her youth offers many benefits.


Author:  cerise [ Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Psyche: the modern self @ mac Birmingham UK 14/10/05

Sankalpalam presents
'Psyche: the modern self'
mac, Birmingham, 14th October 2005

A contrast between historical tradition and present-day interpretations of Bharata Natyam seemed to be what was, perhaps a little too esoterically, implied by the title of 'Psyche: the modern self'. The event was an evening performance of two new works by Stella Uppal Subbiah; one entirely new (Meenakshi), and one a re-working of the ancient mythical tale of Rukmini’s marriage to Krisha (Rukmini).

'Rukmini' was a wonderfully precise adhesion to traditional classical Bharata Natyam movement vocabulary, choreographic structure and overall style, with the integration of tabla and vocals onstage and narration through spoken and sung verse by the dancers at heightened points of action within the narrative. In fact, the piece could be regarded as a textbook example of classical Bharata Natyam story-telling, although stylistic interpretations of such a detailed artform are always a topic of hot debate amongst the South Indian dance magic circle. The five dancers (Mavin Khoo, Liz Lea, Shijith Nambiar, Stella Uppal Subbiah, Mira Balchandran Gokul) are all uncontested master solo technicians in their own rights, yet worked seamlessly together as a unified storytelling machine. There were occasional moments when Liz Lea looked slightly less at home with the dynamics of choreography better suited to shorter limbs, and the geometry of her postures and gestures became markedly over-precise in compensation. However, the overall aesthetic of the company exuded under-stated elegance, the subtle sunset colours of the lighting and costumes complimenting a demure but assured movement landscape, punctuated by glimpsed peaks of full-beam emotion. Like a sunset, or a classical western orchestral work, 'Rukmini' demonstrated that, done well, this style of story-telling communicates its effect only when each moment is perceived with clarity and in relation to its preceding events.

Beautifully and graciously presented as the piece was, there was some, but not much, concession to context such as spoken English translations of a few key phrases from the vernacular text. Admittedly, an artform of this stature must not be diluted or unnecessarily modernised, but there were hints that this performance was for the pleasure of the initiated minority only. With programme notes ‘explaining’ that the “structure of the traditional varnam which develops both the abhinaya and nritta”, it is little wonder that the audience numbers were meagre.

A revelation of “the modern self” was more clearly apparent in the second piece to be shown, 'Meenakshi', and the arrangement of the programme invited the audience to contemplate the differences between the two works. 'Meenakshi', a contemporised non-narrative choreography evidenced influences of minimalism (a spare white, wash-lit set and recorded, pared-down tin taal accompaniment) and western contemporary dance (floorwork sections, re-arrangement of facings deconstructing the 2-D face-on full body view) but with classical gesture “inspired by classical tamil literature of different periods” as the movement foundation. All dancers looked at ease here, majestic even, dressed in celebratory red with golden trimmings, and presenting what is now the more popular or contemporary (although by no means secularised or disrespectful/disresepected) version of Bharata Natyam with which younger UK audiences identify.

Author:  kurinuku [ Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:06 am ]
Post subject:  Rajika Puri and Dancers

Cultural Grafting
by DEBORAH JOWITT for the Village Voice
published: April 4, 2007

Rajika Puri calls her gently provocative performance Conversations with Shiva: Bharata Natyam Unwrapped. With the help of director Yuval Sharon, she has deconstructed and overlapped the numbers of a typical Bharata Natyam solo program to create the image of a village of women, where movement patterns become conversations.
more in the second half of the linked article

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:47 am ]
Post subject: 

From the SJ Mercury News.

Dance master preserves South India tradition
By Sandip Roy
Special to the Mercury News

When Chitra Visweswaran was 3 years old, her mother scoured London for an Indian dance teacher. At that time, during the 1950s, there were few classical Indian dance schools in the British capital, especially for 3-year-olds. Eventually the girl was enrolled in ballet classes.

"If I am light-footed at all today, it's thanks to that early training," says Visweswaran, now one of India's most acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancers and the recipient of one of its high honors, the Padma Shri. She performs Sunday in San Jose in a program presented by South India Fine Arts.


Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

From the San Jose Mercury News.

Indian dance teacher helps students reach cultural milestones
By Mark de la Viña
Mercury News
Article Launched: 07/14/2008 01:34:00 AM PDT

It began after a simple dance performance at Stanford University in 1977. Vishal Ramani had barely left the stage when several Indian immigrants approached her about teaching their children the ancient art form of their homeland.

Since then, Ramani and her Shri Krupa Dance Company have become a means for Indian ex-pats in the valley to stay connected to a motherland thousands of miles away.


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