Auroville Cultural Centre’s Dancer Support System

Attention!!: This website is no longer functional! Surprisingly they went off the web after this article was published.

Updates (2 March 2010)- Please do not communicate with this group !!! Suspicious activity probable!!! Please read the following comment from Ramya (Use your discretion!)

Ramya K  has sent in a a link to Auroville Cultural Centre’s (ACC) website.  ACC, according to their website, is based at Auroville, TN, India. Auroville, if I remember right, is near Pondichery. I have been to Auroville a long time ago and I recall seeing a huge globe shaped meditation hall and the develpoment of a community living space and quarters around it. At that time there were a lot of people of other nationalities, (especially French) who visited and lived in Auroville. I am not sure of how it has  shaped up in the last decade or so.

ACC aims to spread the reach of Bharathanatyam through innovative projects. One of their projects consists of providing support to deserving young upcoming dancers. (But a lot of their links are broken as of today!)

Information on their support system for dancers can be found here:-

To be eligible for their support/ assistance services they have decided upon the following eligibility criteria :-

  • You can fill in the application form if you:
  •  are based in South India or Orissa,  are from 10 to 35  years old, are or want to become a professional full-time or part-time dancer,  and fulfil their performance assessment criteria
  • Their assistance and services are offered for free only for dancers who come from middle-class or low-income families. If your family’s income is over Rs. 3 lakhs a year, you may apply for their paid services.

Some of their Long term Projects include:-

1. Setting up of a Video studio for Classical Dance 
2.Research On Classical Indian dance 
3.Internet-based promotion
4.Dancers support system
5.Educational Assistance
6.Natya Mandir Establishment

The outcome of their pilot project is reported as follows:-

“The pilot project implemented for a virtually unknown 14-year -old Bharatanatyam dancer from Chennai:

·     the dancer’s web site is visited by over 300 people per day (25% of whom are from India) specifically looking for the classical Indian dance-related information on  the Internet
·      since March 2005 the dancer has been receiving donations comparable with the average income of a professional Bharathanatyam dancer in India
·      the dancer has received via her web site a number of invitations to give performances/workshops abroad;
·       less than 5% of the visitors chose to read about the dancer’s awards/prizes”

Listed contacts 😦Do not contact!)

by email at
by phone at
+91-(0)9841629630
by post at
Waves,
Auroville,
Kottakupam Post Office,
Tamil Nadu, India 605104

Disclaimer : I am not aware of this organization or any of its members. I am just making this information available to you. Please use your discretion while applying for any assistance or support from any organization.

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17 responses to “Auroville Cultural Centre’s Dancer Support System

  1. Dear Sangeetha,

    The website did exist as you and I know. You can still see the cached shot as it appeared on 25 Jan 2010 16:51:53 GMT.
    http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:mTUmSqySIlQJ:auroce.org/ace.html+auroville+Cultural+centre&cd=18&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=my

    Looks like we need to ask Harinie and Medha Hari about this organization. They seem to be the only listed beneficiaries .

    And another amusing discovery with respect to Wikipedia when I checked out for Bharatanatyam and digged further since I foound the entries hijacked in their own way..

    “Devadasi: truth will out
    I have been so foolish.. I really thought that Santap had a real and sincere problem about the Devadasi and was genuinely concerned about the issues etc…

    It seems that Santap is involved with the website of Medha Hari [1] and has been involved in creating an wiki-entry for her which is basically a promotion of her and is linked to her commericial website. Then the Devadasi entry was used to highlight her and link to this medha hari puff piece.

    So when the devadasi entry started to grow and take on issues that didn’t have a fit with the Medha Hari promotion. Santap started to revert to the entry that basically highlighted her rather than discussed the Devadasi. I couldn’t understand why Santap was going to that revert because it still contained references to the Devdadasi and prostitutes, however the entry is so simple it is not much more than a glorified link to Medha Hari The Medha Hari entry has been identified by others as an advertisement and spam but presently the entry stands and I don’t have a particular problem with that, but I do resent attempts to manipulate the devadasi entry to keep her overly prominent as she is not even a Bharatnatyam master ..yet, and also manipulating the entry to sanitise the Devadasi in apparent keeping with her promotional interests.

    I therefore find Santap’s accusations that I was using the entry for self-promotion to be incredibly ironic in these circumstances.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Sango123/Archives/July_2005

    Santap, a wikipedia user used a lot of sock puppets (proxies) and just ran away with the wikipedia entries relating to Bharatanatyam, Hinduism, religion and name it those things that linked/were made to link to a dancer’s websites.
    These users are all blocked forever now…
    So I deduce this is how ACC promoted over the internet? I am glad I did not go to these guys 🙂

    Hi Ramya,
    Thanks for sharing the details..
    Hijacking wikipedia, sock puppets, cached snapshots…
    Well, well,that’s a lot for me to comprehend !
    So the take home message for the readers would be don’t go to these guys for any promotion.???.
    Regards,
    Sangeetha

  2. I was amused when you posted this one…since the snapshots of the links showed medha hari’s photos. I wasn’t sure and I didn’t have time as Ramya had to get to the roots. Thanks to her…now we know…

    Please verify twice before you post any news.
    🙂

    Hi Ragothaman
    You are right.. I always begin or end such posts with a disclaimer… But now I need to put one on both ends I guess. Probably a twinkling alert box in between would also be the norm in future 🙂
    Regards,
    Sangeetha

  3. I think the extraordinary dancers like Harinie or Medha don’t need any special promotions. If some of their fans may have gone crazy about them, no wonder. Just read all those comments on their YT videos.

    Hi Dhanya!
    Hmm I am kind of pleasantly surprised about publishing a comment from a IP address that logged in anonymously through Tor Exit Router.
    Regards,
    Sangeetha

  4. http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:-YyuLeXUB7kJ:auroce.org/politics.html+auroce.%EF%BB%BForg/politics.html&hl=en&client=safari&gl=us&strip=1

    Some insight on troubles in Auroville
    On a side note, i wonder what did happen to Medha Hari? She once flooded the youtube with a thousand videos. And then there was a massive clean out of all her videos and now only 1-3 remain. Her website isnt functional either.

    Sangeetha: Oh Ok?
    The above cache also leads to a page from ACC’s previously visible domain. So I am not sure how reflective of the real situation it is. I also get the feeling this is beyond the scope of this blog.
    But anyway ACE doesnt exactly seem like the organization that could support young dancers currently

  5. What are you talking about? Medha’s site is very much alive at Medha.org .

    Sangeetha: Hey that second statement of yours may be just pure gossip without any validation. 🙂
    I strongly feel that the Art is greater than the Artist(e) and that definitely would be so in the case of petty individuals.
    I am not sure about how things like :
    1. posting/(or removing competitors) You Tube videos and irrational links to all nooks and corners that one could manage to think of ,
    2. anonymous manipulation of Bharathanatyam related webspace (including and not limited to wikipedia and the likes/blog-0-sphere, )
    3. Multiple ID comments/article on Indian Music and Dance forums
    will in the real world “popularize” the dancer.
    The few dancers who I have been told advertise themselves agressively on the internet seem to have no more solo programs than the others of comparable standard (from the same hierarchial bracket) and this year’s season schedule from most sabhas were not filled with these names. I hope a management student does a study and publishes some substantial data on modes and outcomes of internet advertising for dnacers!:-)
    The only striking result I have heard of such an internet campaign was the blacklisting of a few websites and general rasika ire!
    I wish all dancers the best and hope they acheive what they really yearn and work for.
    In essence I feel we should stop discussing these cheap gimmicks here and move on to something more constructive/informative.

  6. Who told you about “blacklisting of a few websites and general rasika ire”?? Who are these “rasikas”?

    A reader(just like you but who did not have a yashoo email)sent in some links… 🙂
    Here are a few.. you can do more referencing yourself:-
    http://sthweb.bu.edu/archives/index.php?option=com_awiki&view=mediawiki&article=Talk:Bharatanatyam#Medha_Hari_spam_on_Wikipedia (also questions flooding of SDN’s image and if the website itself should be blacklisted too!)
    http://sthweb.bu.edu/archives/index.php?option=com_awiki&view=mediawiki&article=Talk:Bharatanatyam#Medha_Hari
    http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Spam_blacklist/Log/2007/02 -Lists both bvoila\.fr\/bharatanatyam-dance and \bgeocities\.com\/medhahari
    http://wiki.alfresco.com/wiki/Alfresco_spam_block- This is a list of domain names which are considered spam.
    http://vworld.fas.org/wiki/MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist again lists \bvoila\.fr\/bharatanatyam-dance and \bgeocities\.com\/medhahari
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Pinecar
    http://wiki.w2n.net/pages/Talk:Bharatanatyam.w2n
    Some more and more wikipedia stuff
    general rasika ire.. we may need a vote here?

  7. Who are “the others of comparable standard (from the same hierarchial bracket)”?

    Ms. Yashoo.com,
    I have quite a few in my mind that I am not obliged to share with you.

  8. If “most sabhas were not filled with these names”, I know an agent who will fill all sabhas with any name that pays a handsome “donation”. Would you help these dancers share the expense?

    Well again Ms. sukanya @ yashoo,
    I wasn’t the one with a website screaming with the dancer support titles.. If you know an agent I am happy for you and your friends. Well ACE website and the internet advt techniques identified in wikipedia are definitely not the way!
    I had comments both pro and against this marketing strategy. The ones that voiced against this “intense marketing” had an identifiable IP address. But somehow the pros never did (proxies, anonymous log ins)… I am thinking about it.

  9. this year’s season schedule from most sabhas were filled with dancers 40+, like usual. sabha admins (usually 60+) don’t know what is wikipedia/internet.

    does the general rasika ire comes from anonymous (& jealous) dancers which you put in the hierarchical bracket? may we see their dancing?
    why you can’t share their names? somehow i have a very big doubt that they can match medha. see, spammers like http://www.youtube.com/user/heeavymetal are busy today also.

  10. Please do tell us of the dancers of comparable standard to Medha Hari.

    How did you compare?

  11. @Ramya:
    Are you a dancer yourself?
    I can\’t find the cached page with performance assessment criteria.Do you have it? Did you get a response to your application?

    @Sangeetha:
    Its a great suggestion that somebody should publish a study on modes and outcomes of internet advertising for dancers.Did you see the number of fans of Mythili Prakash on FB? I think the viewcount on youtube matters also.

    @yg:
    If you want to know what happened to Medha Hari, drop me a message @:
    vinodini.raghavan(@)indiatimes.com

  12. AB, NC, Ms. Khoo,
    Thanks for your email. I am sorry I will not be able to give out the IP addresses of the commenters. So please try elsewhere. I will also not be able to confirm if they are from the IP addresses you have provided. I am really really sorry.I cannot email the same info to you because I am not sure of your identity.How do I even know you are not part of the group you mention?

    Hi Vinodini,
    Thanks for your comment.. No I have not seen the FB group… How exactly do you think You Tube view counts matter? For repeat rasikas or for new ones?Would love to hear from you.

    Ms. Kavya,
    Please dont try to send in your comments again and again. You could feel righteous saying them, but I wouldnt feel so putting them up. You want to appreciate someone or criticize someone constructively with no intentional malice, I will be happy to provide a space… but I am just not upto anything else.. Sorry again. At the end of the day dont you think it is better to make someone than break someone?

  13. you said “At the end of the day dont you think it is better to make someone than break someone?”
    How true…being aggressive towards one person never helps.

  14. Lack of opportunities for Medha Hari for solo performance shows pathetic jealous mindset of our countrymen. We have seen a number of videos in internet, nobody can match medha or harinie. Some dancers are really good and promising …….and few children ………..who are popular in YT), which surely shows us that despite of well-known political/jealous ‘rasika’ class, a new bunch of bharatanatyam virtuosos are rising. I am proud of them, and happy to say they need no promotion, a few YT clippings are enough to establish their capability. If someone thinks otherwise they can prove it by posting their favourite dancers in YT as well.
    By creating gossips about these talented youngsters and their hardworking gurus, people are doing great disservice to this old traditional art. So long they are young, fit, and capable of giving us such visual treat, we must watch them and if possible promote them in various stages in India and abroad.
    Hope ‘rasikas’ understand what ailed our traditional art.
    cheers
    B. Bhattacharya, USA

    Hi Bhattacharya,

    Glad to hear your views. I had to remove the names of the dancers you had mentioned (as examples of rising talent) because I dont want the readers to get the feeling that they were associated with ACE or internet spamming. Going by your own wortds “By creating gossips about these talented youngsters and their hardworking gurus, people are doing great disservice to this old traditional art.” That wouldnt be fair to them. Please go ahead and write a note of appreciation in any other positive thread and I will publish the same. I think it always nice to appreciate deserving dancers.

    Rasikas can never be jealous, because they want the best, but promoters of artistes can! I am sure a lot of people do agree with the your point that young talents need no undue promotion and spamming as a way to gain recognition. And infact gaining recognition isn’t so simple like saying “a few YT clippings are enough to establish their capability”.

    Establishing one’s capacity is important and it is more so important to do it with responsibility . Spamming and manipulating encyclopediac entries in my view is also “doing great disservice to this old traditional art.” I am not sure how many people “close to/in the world of Bharathanatyam” have the time/inclination to see it on the net though.

    And I hope you realize it may not be possible/agreeable for everyone to go with your statement, ” So long they are young, fit, and capable of giving us such visual treat, we must watch them and if possible promote them in various stages in India and abroad. ” Some want a visual treat, some are looking for other. I know a person who attends dance recitals for the musical aspect! I have known people who only attend lec-dems. I have known people who only attend their dance class shows for reasons as varied as they dont want to corrupt their style by being influenced by others or for the fact that the teacher may be angry if they didnt attend! What you look for and why you attend a performance may not be true for another fellow member of the audience. A “what to look for” cannot be enforced upon. So Art appreciation is subjective, but ethics is not!

    Both performers and hardcore “fans ” (I dont want to use the term rasikas for this group) need to develop tolerance. Tastes can never be standardized. Acceptance of variety is the key to growth in any creative field. And lack of it may plague any art form.
    Cheers to Bharathanatyam
    Cheers to you !
    Sangeetha

  15. Hi Sangeetha!

    You seem to denounce gossip and mudslinging, but on the other hand you are trying to convince the rasikas about some imaginary connection between the 2 dancers in question, the ACE, and the spammers. I am sorry, it sounds like you and Ramya are just jealous. There is no lack of opportunities for Medha Hari. There is just a lack of funding, and you know it very well!

    Geetha

  16. Thank you for publishing this and thanks for removing some names, anyways they were example cases(there are plenty more, whose name I did not take, so its better not to take any name). I must admit that I have no formal knowledge of this great art, but have a little experience with another ancient form of temple music (dhrupad) which suffered a lot because of bias (from kings courts to modern age stages) and lack of promotion. As a result dhrupad suffered near-death experience!
    Surely opposition against talented children show small mindedness of our society. I refer to some bloggers who mentioned their jittery feeling wherever medha hari/SDN was mentioned in other blogs, someone went ahead accusing the ‘caste based teaching’ of bharatanatyam! I feel we should bother more about the matrons who manipulate everything including sharing big stages with politicians, foreign tours and big titles, while their dances lack ‘araimandi’!
    I fully agree with your point about ethics and art appreciation, but I would take a different approach to look at it. Some cannot promote themselves using internet, they have to struggle harder, rasikas could find them out and possibly help them. Some can promote, let it be, I am sure readers would use their discretion. Promotion doesnot affect a real rasika, or a spectator like me who is trying to understand this art. We need not bother, if it can give us good result like letting the outer world know about somebody like medha/harinie. To abide by Ethics is a personal duty, I mean even the talented children like them must learn that with responsibility.
    I am saying all these because I had almost no idea about Bharatanatyam, as a music lover from eastern India we had only watched ‘promoted’ artistes in doordarshan which hardly had an impact on viewers like me. I fell in love for BN after watching Medha, so I thank all the new age children, for at least trying to preserve our most cherished art form for the future. In future if they dont do well, we can again sit and dissect the reason.
    Finally I would like to request rasika’s through your blog to educate the world about what good BN is. Chennai has got the best, but they are not seen in Delhi/north/east India! Inferior dancers from close circles of political art groups ‘represent’ BN in national/international stages, which do pain us.
    Cheers to you for maintaining this blog
    B. Bhattacharya

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