Dance Writing Workshop a combined effort by Narthaki and The Hindu

The writer/critic indeed assumes a great responsibility in terms of  helping  the sustenance and growth of all art forms.  Narthaki and Hindu have come up with this effort to train and educate interested participants. I indeed appreciate the timing of this workshop just before the season unfolds in Madras… and,  those of us who can only wish we were there will get to so lovingly read and reread those reviews that bring accross the season to us in words.

Narthaki lists the following details in the website … and The Hindu organize 
a week long dance writing workshop 
in Nov 2008 at Chennai

Mentored by 2 distinguished writers

– 3 hours a day daily for 7 days
– Watching performances and rehearsals with dancers at Anita Ratnam’s dance space or 
at a specified place arranged in advance where some senior dancers will perform for 30 minutes and have discussions about process and choreography
– Responses about the performance. 

Participants have to pay Rs. 750 only for the entire session
A certificate will be given at the end of the session
All will have to keep their evenings free to watch performances

Participants from outside Chennai have to make their own travel and stay arrangements. 

Exact dates and other details will be announced shortly. 

Those interested, please write to 

Irresponsible review and criticisms just leave so much bitter after taste … It is high time some channelised effort in terms of informing the media is undertaken. Well we indeed need to Thank (with a capital T) the management of The Hindu for being one of the major newspapers which delegates considerable space to the Arts…
Our electronic media?:)  Well, that’s not in our purview..

Well there is also this subjective bias inherent in the human form, in you and in me that we need to  “unlearn” over and over again… Sentiments, emotions and passion runs high in this field and it is indeed difficult to steer clear of all of this and come up with a sensible unbiased review..

5 responses to “Dance Writing Workshop a combined effort by Narthaki and The Hindu

  1. Sangeetha, do you realize that Anita Ratnam and the Hindu are worried that more people read Sangeetha’s blog than the readership of those mountains of self-promotional boredom published on Narthaki and in the Friday Review?

    Do you have any idea of how the honorable editor from the Hindu decides which dancer deserves a review, and which does not? What are the criteria? (I am sorry but I heard that some young dancers who did get their reviews into the Hindu had actually to pay the reviewer). And what irresponsible review and criticisms did you mean?

    By the way, what would you do with this “workshop” certificate? Hang it on a wall and do a puja for it? 🙂

    I did not quite understand it: would the senior dancers pay each participant Rs. 750 for watching them?

    Dear Bharathanatyam,
    Everytime I see a comment from you I really jump with joy… keep it coming girl!(Oh I am not sure here.. But something tells me)
    I am honored once again with the excellent start of your comment 🙂 Thanks for your patronage:)

    You are so funny… While there definitely is an amount of ambiguity about the “real” outcome of this workshop, I am willing to give it the benefit of doubt… Well if we did lose hope there isnt anything else to look forward to isnt it.. I dont beleive in being 100% cynical about everything..

    While I cannot comment on the “pay the reviewer, get the review” practice since I am not privy to such info… I have my regards for this paper which atleast sets aside a few columns for our artforms every week.

    What “irresponsible review and criticisms” am I talking about ?.. . well read a few reviews in the popular websites and a few newspapers. Looks like the reviewers watched a Bharathanatyam recital for the first time in their lives. Well it was a Eureka journey for them and so it is for us readers… “mountains of self-promotional boredom ” that you refer to .. I file it under this category too…Sometimes it is also hard to seperate the Art from the artist and get a bit personal 🙂

    What do we do with the certificate? Well what do I do with any certificate. The only certificate that comes accross as important to me in my circumstance today is my marriage certificate:) and I am very glad about it ! It is well worth the Rs 500 we paid for it… It undoubtedly proves to all VIP authorities concerned that I am worth a spouse visa.. So that’s what a certificate is for to let others know and agree that you know what you know :)… Well for all that you know the second rung publications may be impressed and hire them.. .High hopes eh?

    “would the senior dancers pay each participant Rs. 750 for watching them?” Well this is a real thought provoking question… Bharathanatyam, I just hope that we dont have to assemble audience this way for all BN performances like the way these politicians do.. Sometimes I must confess that I find all this so bleak and want to jump the wagon and rechristen this blog.. Carnatic Music and The WWW and start off all over again.. I definitely would enjoy a wider viewership and there would be such positive vibes all around…I could really use some of it. Bharathanatyam as an art form could use some collective positive vibrations… Lord Nataraja to the rescue


  2. {Comment Moderated}
    Curious who will be those “2 distinguished writers”… And the “senior dancers”? 🙂 I am not 100% cynical about everything all the time, by the way. Just asking questions…

    As for “the second rung publications”… They take everything, almost garbage too, and never ask for your “certificates” anyway. The copy editor will cut it the way she likes. Take Chennaionline, for example.

    What do you think of the Bharatanatyam reviews of ? Their dance correspondent is a very funny man, very committed, though: he attends ALL performances he can, and has written over 400 reviews,

    Reviewers published in the newspapers find it hard to accommodate both the new-to-Bharatanatyam readership and the expert Bharatanatyam audience. It’s difficult to find the right ratio, the perspective, and the how deeply you will analyze, and with what microscope. 🙂 And then squeeze all that in 200 words. And then make it look “objective”… and bland… lifeless… sterile… and boring, eventually. Alas! The Hindu does not allow the reviewer to get too personal. 😦 The editors think that reviewing Bharatanatyam is like reviewing bank services or the condition of the streets…impersonal… dead… 😦

    As for Carnatic Music… Yes, I guess there are 10 times more people interested in it than in Bharatnatyam… And therefore you don’t see as many bad musicians on the stage as bad dancers. The standards in music are far easier identified by far more rasikas.

    It’s “bleak” when the standards fall. That’s the initial price we pay for the popularization; quality is converted into quantity – for a while, and in 20-30 year’s time we will surely see the improved standards in Bharatanatyam too.

    Sangeetha, don’t you know that 80% (or more?) of the Bharatanatyam rasikas ARE assembled the way the political gatherings are? How many come because they want to watch a Bharatanatyam recital? And how many come to watch a GOOD Bharatanatyam recital? Most come because the dancer is their relative, classmate, dance classmate, neighbour. Daddy’s brings his driver, mommy’s hairdresser, colleagues, etc.

    Sangeetha: That was enlightening Bharatanatyam. 🙂 I appreciate yor positive forecast for BN in 20-30 years time. My God will I live to see the light? Now you seem to be more postive than I am 🙂

  3. Dear, you are a ruthless moderator…. 😦

    …… has a reputation of being so scared of accidentally displeasing the dancers and the gurus with his personal observations and comments (which are often very insightful, deep and professional, by the way), that hardly any substance trickles down into the — official reviews… It’s a pity. Too much politics.

    Yes! if you would like to call me “ruthless” it is fine with me Bharatanatyam.. As I told you earlier I am trying to look at everything positively… I am like the kind you ban out of your blog.. I can just see Krishna everywhere or atleast try.
    Best Wishes,

  4. devika,when are you gonna stop teasing & annoying the dance community with your clever comments?

    Hi Maheshwari,
    I think you have addressed this to “Bharatanatyam” if I havent mistaken.. Well if it is V.R. Devika you are talking about, isnt she a student of the Dhananjayans?… seems like mistaken identity to me.

    Best Wishes 🙂

  5. Hey Sangee ! Its heartening to know that such a workshop is coming up under the aegis of The Hindu and Narthaki.Iam quite eager to take some guidance from the mentors who will be there.I think it is a very useful initiative and will definitely help lots of up and coming writers/critics.Iam attending it! will let you know of the happenings……………

    Hi Kavitha,
    That’s nice to hear. please keep us informed… we are all ears..
    Really appreciate it!

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