News and Happenings

Click play on this awesome video and continue reading the post, while listening to it. (Hat tip to Krithika)

Lot of things has been happening in the world of dance and thanks to Facebook and dedicated bloggers there has been no lacunae. Posting the highlights in no specific order.

Came across a well written blogpost in Huffington Post on dancer Smt. Malavika Sarukkai and her spirituality in dance. Read here the full post. Don’t miss the youtube video at the end of that link.

You don’t need to understand. If the artist is soaked and can recreate moments which are intense and electrifying, the audience can feel it. I come and dance to experience. For when I experience, my audience experiences. That’s what I want to do with my dance.

In 2012, Sarukkai celebrated her 40 anniversary of dance by performing anonymously in front of the Nataraja (Shiva) temple in Chidambaram, South India — one of her favorite temples. Her friends urged her to celebrate with a big anniversary performance, but Sarukkai refused.
“When I am in Chidambaram I feel like I have come home. I wanted to offer my dance as an offering for my anniversary. It was the proper thing to do”.

Read this interview of dancer Smt. Nikolina Nikoleski in Himduism Today, where she talks about decline of BN in the capital and calls for revival.  Any takers?

I am saddened to see that Delhi girls’ interest in Bharatanatyam is so low, and going down each year. Even in those who are doing it, the devotion and inner feeling is lacking. Bharatanatyam is not just meant to burn your calories…But this generation is more interested in Bollywood or Salsa or Hip Hop.

Students must see other dancers perform, learn more and get inspired. But now, even at prestigious dance festivals where top artists perform, the auditoriums are empty. Anywhere else in the world such performances would be sold out—you would not be able to get a ticket. But here, where such performances are free and you can just walk in, the audience is not there. I find this very sad, and I believe the whole Bharatanatyam movement needs a revival or renaissance.

Read the full interview here.

Then there was the news/controversial piece. Read here

A dance and music programme on Jesus Christ named “Krista Kavya” scheduled here on Sunday was cancelled following threat calls that there would be protests against it.

Continuing on controversial news, the dancer Smt. Swarnamalya Ganesh was in the news. Read the Frontline article on that topic here.

a group of women activists and writers raised objections to her [Swarnmalya Ganesh’s] argument that the social reformer Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy, whose initiative had led to the abolition of the devadasi system, and the Dravidian movement, which had supported her initiative, had done precious little to keep the traditional dance form alive or to protect the livelihoods of devadasis, who were left to languish in penury.

Swarnamalya’s argument, put forward by others as well, was that the system was assimilated into religion primarily to insulate it from any sort of external interference. But despite the dogmatic religious fettering, a tiny group of reformers had emerged at the turn of the 20th century to “see beyond religion and Sadir” and liberate the devadasis from the “sacred slavery”, she said.

“How can you glorify the devadasi system, a pernicious practice that forced these ‘women of gods’ into prostitution?” asked Oviya, an active Periyarist, who led the band of feminists that raised objections at the lecture. “Swarnamalya’s presentation sends a wrong message about a group of women and their status in society to today’s young girls, many of whom are blissfully ignorant of the complex nature of the issue that had sought to blend the performing art with a social movement. We do have a strong moral responsibility to intervene if any attempt is made to degrade a historical social movement like the Dravidian movement, which fought against the hypocrisy of religious protection. We are justified [in our protest] more so as it [the lecture] took place in an educational institution especially meant for girls,” Oviya argued.

It was the Dravidian movement, in the artist’s opinion, that forced devadasis to emerge as a separate caste group to fight against the forces that supported the abolition.

Moving to other news.  Karthik Fine Arts with Arangham Trust had organized the five-day conference “Purush: The Global Dancing Male” that was curated by Dr. Anita Ratnam and Dr. Hari Krishnan. While the conference was a treat for those who witnessed it, the Therukoothu performance in Nageswara Rao Park can be watched in this youtube link. Embedded below as well.

One can read the daily newsletters that are jam-packed with information here, here, and here. A new blog was created that documented the conference; has more information and check out the first link in the “Further Reading” tab!!!

The post-conference reports were equally interesting to read. Check out Priyalasya’s blogpost here and here. Also, The Statesman’s report and Sabhash’s report on the conference. Don’t miss the reviews section of Narthaki to read each day’s report by Kiran Rajagopalan.

Finally, for those who missed the Nritya Samrachana lecture-demonstration event organized by Sruti and Apsaras Arts. Watch it on youtube. Links embedded below. The first lecture of the lec-dem was not webcasted. But, one can read the report here.

Enjoy! 🙂



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