Purush Perspectives 4: Learning Bharathanatyam in Adyar – boon or bane?

When Lakshmi Vishwanathan talked of the Adyar army on stage at the Purush Festival, referring to gurus C.V. Chandrashekar, Balagopal, Janardhanan, Adyar Lakshmanan and V.P. Dhananjayan she could have easily been making the case for Madras-20 postcode to be designated a UNESCO intangible cultural space! Throw in the female Gurus that abound in a two-mile…

Purush Perspectives 3: From the Archives

The silk shirt of the legendary dancer Ram Gopal was from ARMANI….errr..A.R.MANI from Madras! Snippets like this kept us entertained throughout the Purush conference! I’d like to make special note of the presentation of Aashish Khokar who recollected the above anecdote, not least because of my research interests in copyright and heritage but because it…

Purush Perspectives 2: Environment and the arts

In an evening of ‘Baitak Bhav’, [A session where artist is sat down and expressing] on the last day of the Purush conference in Madras, the 22nd of December 2013, Birju Maharaj made my point really well about nature as inspiration for dancers. Fresh from riding the wave of my National Parks award, I was…

Purush Perspectives 1: 173 Chakkars

To grow in dance is not to learn new items or even make new items. To grow in dance is to learn something fresh and to stimulate one’s thinking to the depth where one feels the way one felt when one took that big step – that big step which you were not sure would…

Reflections on Dance and Nature

I have just been awarded the UK Volunteer of the year 2013! It is such a thrill! Now, I feel like Miss. World – Environment! And have ideas for using dance to make the National Park more vibrant, even more beautiful and a hub of interest for progressive art types! I have an amazing time…

The Pushpanjali Six

Bringing together six Bharathanatyam dancers who hadn’t worked together before was a bold move that Dr. Geetha Upadhaya took when she wrote to us mooting the idea that we participate in the Pushpanjali item she had in mind for the grand celebration of the 20th anniversary of Kala Sangam at Bradford. As it turned out,…

Tradition continues… and changes

I had the opportunity to catch some live Korean music this week and a chance to speak to its practitioners, albeit only briefly. The hosts, on a work visit to Seoul, treated us to some great traditional music, hospitality and of course, food. I have always wondered about the irresistible allure of tradition for official…

Music and dance: The relationship

‘Old habits die hard’ I said to myself as I read Anita Ratnam’s comments on Saayujya, a collaboration between musician and dancer, the dancer being Priyadharshini Govind. Anita’s detailed account of Priya akka’s aharya fiasco brought back old memories as a teenager when the seniors and juniors at Abhinayasudha, my alma mater, used to perform…

Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali is in town!

I knew of Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali, and then I hear high praise for her from my mum. Imagine my delight when I hear she is going to be visiting the North of England. Dr. Bali is a patron of Kala Sangam, an arts organisation based in Bradford, England. She is going to be speaking to…

Looking forward to the 2013 ‘Madras season’!

With the rain bucketing down and central heating being switched on, the mind wanders in search of cheer and at this time of year it is the anticipation of yet another energy filled, uplifting Madras  music and dance ‘season’ (or Christmas depending on your cultural background).  This year I would be starting off with the…