Arattarangetram Season 2 Episode 2 (Part II)

Hello Arattarangetram viewers, here is the continuation of Season 2 Episode 2 of Arattarangetram, featuring Uma Sathya Narayanan, senior disciple of Chitra Visweswaran.

To listen to just the audio from the interview, you can download the mp3 from here (right click link and select “save link/target as”).

 

0:14 – Devil’s Advocate: Dance music vs. Carnatic music

9:18 – Discussing a musician’s ego when accompanying a dancer

13:06 – Communicating with musicians for dance orchestration

18:10 – Uma’s musical training with A.S. Murali Sir

22:14 – Chitra and Visweswaran’s relationship dynamic as dancer and musician

27:47 – Training for dance music

31:19 – Challenges for dance musicians

35:40 – Solutions for challenges for dance musicians

41:43 – Uma talks about singing for Chitra Visweswaran’s productions

49:55 – Rapid Fire

Thanks for watching!

Arattarangetram Season 2 Episode II (Part I)

pic 2 Pic by Avey Varghese, Courtesy – Uma Sathya Narayanan

Hello Arattarangetram viewers, this is the first part of Episode II of Arattarangetram Season II. In this episode, our special guest is Uma Sathya Narayanan, senior disciple of Chitra Visweswaran.

To listen to just the audio from the interview, you can download the mp3 from here (right click link and select “save link/target as”).

0:05 – Madhana introduces the booklet Sathya Narayanan

2:30 – “YouTubaanubhavam” – Discussion on Uma Sathya Narayanan’s video – http://youtu.be/XjDa4i6X4yc?t=7m25s

5:00 – Uma Sathya Narayanan answer’s Raj’s question on Chitra Visweswaran’s baani, Uma Sathya Narayanan’s interpretation of it and comparison of Chitra Visweswaran’s baani with other Vazhuvoor baanis

8:13 – Uma Sathya Narayanan talks about her initial days at Chidambaram Academy of Performing Arts

9:59 – Uma Sathya Narayanan answers Subha’s question about the idea of “abandon” in dance and how it comes with experience

12:22 – Raj asks Uma Sathya Narayanan about how her personal technique has evolved

15:34 – Subha plays another video clip – http://youtu.be/lP7MCmHisZA?t=47s

16:50 – Subha asks Uma Sathya Narayanan on grace and happiness in Chitra Visweswaran’s baani

19:26 – Kathak Influence (Birju Maharaj ji) in Chitra Visweswaran’s baani

21:13 – Do today’s dancers or does Bharatanatyam in general lack a sense of abandonment/spontaneity? Uma Sathya Narayanan answers..

23:38 – Effortlessness in dancing and its importance

24:55 – Drawing inspiration from nature for dancing

25:53 – The atmosphere in Chidambaram Academy of Performing Arts, Chennai and how it is conducive for learning art forms

28:09 – Experience about working in group – “Panchali Sabadham”

30:53 – Approach towards music, stage decor for Bharatanatyam

34:16 – Shadow play in “Sakhyam” production with Lakshmi Parthasarathy Athreya

36:24 – “Body language” for mime in Bharatanatyam

37:31 – Footwork intonations (vallinam, mellinam) in YouTube video

40:00 – Pressure on the artiste to handle lights, stage craft, and other logistics before show – India vs. abroad

44:31 – Uma Sathyanarayanan answers Madhana’s question on how the artist in her responded to her husband’s loss

51:12 – Family support in getting Uma Sathyanarayanan back to dancing

53:43 – Social stigma towards her dancing

57:30 – Vail Sathyanarayanan sings “Adhuvum Solluval” Javali (Sourashtram, Adi, Dharmapuri Subbarayar)

Watch out our blog for Part II of this episode with Uma Sathyanarayanan!

Arattarangetram Season 2 Episode I (Part III)

Image Courtesy: artindia.net

Hello Arattarangetram viewers,

Welcome to Season II of Arattarangetram. This is the third part of Episode I of Arattarangetram Season II. In this episode, our special guest is Anjana Rajan, Visiting professor at New Delhi’s National School of Drama and the Shriram Centre for Art and Culture, and Correspondent and Senior Assistant Editor with The Hindu from New Delhi. 

Devil’s advocate

0:00 – Devil’s advocate question “How hard is it separate an objective self to a subjective self? Can we keep our personal opinions away from our writings?”

  • Literary criticism
  • Keeping the art/science of criticism alive
  • Closeness of artist and critic
  • Reason behind the opinion written must be qualified
  • Points of evaluating a performance
  • Responsibility of the writer
  • Arts are subjective, inherently
  • The art reaching out to the audience, the writer reflecting it in the writing
  • Avoiding careless writing or safeguards for honesty and integrity

17:47 – How do artists react to criticism? Do they take it in the right way? What parameters does the The Hindu have in place while recruiting dance writers?

  • Art criticism is lacking in India
  • Need for professional courses for dance journalism/criticism
  • There are very few who learnt dance and write and there are others who have observed a lot
  • There is a difference between review and publicity of the performance. Most of the time, the organizers/dancers confuse these two.
  • Expectation of a good review from dancers
  • Writing about non-dance things
  • Writers should have technical expertise and integrity

26:30 – What happens when the reviewer’s/critic’s view on writing was not the one shared by the entire audience? How can we look at those writings again down the memory lane?

  • How to check these and putting safeguards.
  • Transcribing three-dimensional dance to words is not easy
  • Cherry-picking from the reviews
  • Over used words and adjectives such as brilliant, good, bad, nice should be avoided at all costs

34:05 – Who is the critic favoring in the writing? The lay-reader or the dancer?

  • Usage and explanation of technical terms to the lay-reader
  • Writing should bridge the artist and the reader, who are not dancers
  • Increase the perception of the audience

39:30 – Dancers who are in the autumn of the career. How would their dance be evaluated as compared to young dancers?

  • Can be covered as an event.
  • The need for reviewing their performance
  • Young dancers need to be told how to view the dance of older dancers
  • Anecdote from Golden jubilee of Indian Independence, organized by Sangeet Natak Akademi.

47:26 – Do you think reviews today are hard or are bland, in context of the dance critic Subbudu? How do you react to reviews that border on rudeness?

  • Is the same yardstick being applied to dancers, of the same group, of the dancers with same approach to dance?
  • Dancers not wanting reviews
  • Being on the pleasant side of society
  • Care for the art

58:59 – When a critic is invited to review, how do you change roles and forget the things that happened during the day?

  • Try to make oneself neutral
  • Quality of a critic “One should really love the arts – Charles Fabri”
  • Passionate towards art has a quality to wash away the disturbances of reviewing
  • Checking if the reaction is from the moment of watching the dance or from the prior experience in the day.

1:03:37 – Rapid Fire round

Arattarangetram Season 2 Episode I (Part II)

Image Courtesy: Rajendran K Srinivasan
Image Courtesy: Rajendran K Srinivasan

Hello Arattarangetram viewers,

Welcome to Season II of Arattarangetram. This is the second part of Episode I of Arattarangetram Season II. In this episode, our special guest is Anjana Rajan, Visiting professor at New Delhi’s National School of Drama and the Shriram Centre for Art and Culture, and Correspondent and senior assistant editor with The Hindu from New Delhi. 

Raghu’s Segment – Dance history

00:33 – Raghu’s question: “In recent years, there has been a reduction in space for dance writing in print media. What are your thoughts on that?

1:28 – Anjana Rajan touches upon the following topics:

  • Entertainment is given more prominent
  • Commercial aspect
  • In early days, the review was published the day after the performance and that was a norm, which changed to once a week publication.
  • Readership for arts and theatre writing
  • Editorial matters: who is listening to whom?
  • What are the other alternatives space for arts/dance based journalism?
  • Gyan Darshan event with live audience and audience calling in. The reach is from interior of the country.

13:34 – “What do you think the philosophical difference between acting and abhinaya? How do people in theatre react to emoting in dance?”

28:30 – “Some Dance compositions – prior to Margam

Catch Part III here https://arattarangetram.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/arattarangetram-season-2-episode-i-part-iii/

Arattarangetram Season 2 Episode I (Part I)

Image Courtesy: Anjana Rajan
Image Courtesy: Avinash Pasricha

Hello Arattarangetram viewers,

Welcome to Season II of Arattarangetram. This is the first part of Episode I of Arattarangetram Season II. In this episode, our special guest is Smt. Anjana Rajan, Visiting professor at New Delhi’s National School of Drama and the Shriram Centre for Art and Culture, and Correspondent and Senior Assistant Editor with The Hindu from New Delhi.

0:00 – Raghu Introducing the special guest Smt. Anjana Rajan.

Raj and Madhana’s segment

1:39 – Video from Louis Malle documentary “L’Inde fantôme: Reflexions sur un voyage

http://youtu.be/UueMNMoFEl4?t=9m36s

Anjana Rajan reminisces about her days in Kalakshetra.

08:37 – Subha asks “How important is to keep it (tradition) intact?

14:00 – Raj asks “How you started learning Bharatanatyam and can you tell us about your journey?

26:49 – Raj and Subha ask “How was the transitioning from Geneva to Kalakshetra?

35:17 – blooper

35:59 – blooper continued

37:15 – Subha’s question “Your experiences with Rukmini Devi Arundale in Kalakshetra

49:49 – The second video is of archive of Rukmini Devi Arundale  http://youtu.be/pZbtCfF-1-8?t=7m43s

50:52 – Subha asks “People who have interacted with Rukmini Devi Arundale and those who did not interact: the change in polarizing views. What are your views?

  • Subtlety in art
  • debate on adavus
  • The term “sanitizing the abhinaya”
  • Looking at why things were done at that period of time.

52:29 – UPDATE: It is the garuda mandala of the 2nd Tat tai tam adavu and not the 7th natta adavu as mentioned. Apologies for any confusion

1:00:50The Delhi art/dance scene, then and now

1:12:55Contrasting qualities about Delhi and Chennai

1:15:56 – Madhana’s question: “How does yours and GS Rajan’s synergies play at home and on stage?

1:25:55Language barriers while learning dance at Kalakshetra

Watch out for Part II and Part III of the same episode with Smt. Anjana Rajan in the next post.

Part II – https://arattarangetram.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/arattarangetram-season-2-episode-i-part-ii/

Arattarangetram Ninth Episode

Still from "Sibagamiyin Sabadham". Image courtesy: Madurai R Muralidharan
Still from “Sibagamiyin Sabadham“.
Image courtesy: Madurai R Muralidharan

Hi Friends,

Here is the Ninth episode of Arattarangetram. Our special guest is  Shri. Madurai R Muralidharan, Founder-Director of Nrithyakshethra Dance Academy, Chennai (http://www.muralidaran.org)

0:11 – Madhana introducing the special guest, Shri. Madurai. R. Muralidharan

Madhana’s Segment

1:40 – Madhana’s Question “How and when did you start composing music for dance?”

12:11 – Madhana’s question “For composing dance music, what aspects do you keep in mind? What differentiates composition made for dance from others?”

Raghu’s Segment – Dance history

16:12 – Raghu’s question “As a dancer and choreographer, after reading a literature, how do you go about the process of choreography? How do you bring the spirit of the literature on the stage?”

32:01 – Snippets from Dance history “Karaikaal Natesa Dhandayuthapani Pillai”

Click here to see the presentation: episode9

References: 

Raj’s segment – Devil’s advocate

37:34 – Raj’s question “How to train a child alongside learning dance? What other classes can be supplemented?”

46:25 – Knowledge of Language in dance

53:08 – Blooper

54:04Devil’s advocateWestern instruments in a Bharatanatyam performance. Are they destructive or constructive?

Topics touched:

  • Recreating sounds in a program
  • Using other Indian instruments in a concert
  • Use of instruments in a solo vs. group productions
  • Base tones, Sharp tones
  • Acoustic vs. Electronic instruments
  • Use of instruments at the appropriate place in the concert
  • Keyboard gamakams

Shri. Madurai Muralidharan’s North American tour of “Sivagamiyin Sabadham” 2013

  • July 5th – Toronto – FETNA
  • July 12th – London – Manidha Neyam Trust
  • August 24th – New Jersey
  • August 31st – New York
  • September 7th – Detroit
  • September 15th – Dallas
  • September 21st – Houston
  • September 28th – Mary land
  • October 1st week – Connecticut
  • October 2nd week – Philadelphia
  • October 4th week – San Francisco

Arattarangetram Eighth Episode – Part III

ab8b69b4-1693-49f3-86d1-b1cc1fe7fe87wallpaper
Clockwise: Swamimalai Rajarathnam Pillai with Lalgudi Jayaraman; with T. Balasaraswati; Smt. Jayakamala Pandian (Images reproduced with permission)

Special Guest: Smt. Jayakamala Pandian, Artistic Director of Rajarathnalaya Arts Foundation, Bengaluru

0:00 – Devil’s advocate “How to make current kutcheri padati of Bharatanatyam accessible for non-dancer audiences?”

Topics touched:

  • cinema influences in classical dance
  • folk dances
  • changes in format
  • do such changes dilute the classical art form?
  • classical dancers in cinema
  • how is the same song choreographed for cinema and for a stage?
  • Swamimalai Rajarathnam Pillai and cinema

23:42 – Rapid Fire round

Arattarangetram Eighth Episode – Part II

Clockwise: Swamimalai Rajarathnam Pillai with Ravi Shankar and Kumari Kamala; with Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai; Smt. Jayakamala Pandian with SKR in a program (Images reproduced with permission)
Clockwise: Swamimalai Rajarathnam Pillai with Ravi Shankar and Kumari Kamala; with Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai; Smt. Jayakamala Pandian with SKR in a program (Images reproduced with permission)

Special Guest: Smt. Jayakamala Pandian, Artistic Director of Rajarathnalaya Arts Foundation, Bengaluru

Note to viewers: Due to technical difficulties the conversation about Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai got interrupted. We have continued discussing the same thread in this video.

0:00 – Continuing the conversation from Part I of Arattarangetram Eighth Episode.

1:08 – Students who joined under Swamimalai K Rajarathnam Pillai after their arangetrams.

Raghu’s Segment

2:59 – Raghu’s Question “How did you imbibe the teaching methods from your father? Also, how did your father imbibe from Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai?”  Discussing about Swamimalai K Rajarathnam Pillai’s teaching, his humility.

13:46 – Vocalist turned nattuvanaar – How important is the inclination of music to teaching?  Discussing about SKR and Lalgudi Jayaraman.

17:37 – Was Swamimalai K Rajarathnam Pillai choreography graceful due to his music?

18:10– Smt. Jayakamala Pandian sings a singati from Khamas varnam, emphasizing the musicality of Swamimalai K Rajarathnam Pillai.

19:35 – How challenging is it for current dance vocalists to render sangatis like Swamimalai K Rajarathnam Pillai?

24:18 – Vazhuvoor Bani and its intricate sollukattus.

Dance History

26:25 – Slideshow of “Historical snippets about Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai”. Showing video from Film Division’s 1954 “Bharatanatyam” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL1hsfInhIc timestamps from 5:11 and from 6:31 onwards (Thanks to youtube user kvammayi for uploading the video!)

34:03 – Smt. Jayakamala Pandian identifies the vocalist as Radhakrishnan and Swamimalai K Rajarathnam Pillai and other members of the troupe in the video.

38:45 – Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai reciting Jathis in the Film Division’s 1954 video.

39:38 – Trivia about Jayakamala Pandian’s name and discussion about Kumari Kamala

43:30 – Speciality of Vazhuvoor Bani/Style

Bonus video: Watch Smt. Jayakamala Pandian doing a demonstration of Virutham for “The Indian Fine Arts Society”

Arattarangetram Eighth Episode – Part I

Smt. Jayakamala Pandian

Hi Friends,

Enjoy the eighth episode of Arattarangetram here.

Special Guest: Smt. Jayakamala Pandian, Artistic Director of Rajarathnalaya Arts Foundation, Bengaluru

0:00 – Subha introducing the special guest Smt. Jayakamala Pandian

2:55 – Madhana’s question – “How is the dance scene in Bengaluru? How different  is it from Chennai?”

10:22 – Her favorite bangalore dancers

10:50 – Does Bengaluru has as sabha culture like Chennai?

11:52  – How do Bengaluru audiences perceive classical dance?

Madhana’s Segment

14:42 – Video of  “SKR 80 function held in Chennai, 2012” Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B10xj-1yCnY

Jayakamala Pandian recounting the experiences of organizing the event in honour of her father, Swamimalai K. Rajarathnam Pillai’s 80th birthday celebrations.

22:23 – Unique teaching method of Bharatanatyam by SKR to his students

25:30 – Vazhuvoor nritta and its uniqueness: How is grace incoporated in the style? Explaining Ramiah Pillai’s and SKR’s teaching vazhuvoor bani.

38:00 – Collaboration between Bharatanatyam artists – an established norm.

Watch out for Part II and Part III of the seventh episode with Smt. Jayakamala Pandian in the next post.

Arattarangetram Seventh Episode – Part II and Part III

Priya Murle
Image Courtesy: The Hindu

Hi Friends,

Enjoy the seventh episode of Arattarangetram here. In this post you will see the dance history and Devil’s advocate segment.

0:00 – Part II and Part III

0:15 – Raghu’s question to Priya Murle “Can you elaborate on your M.Phil dissertation on the topic of Sadharaikarana and realization of Brahman”

8:00 – Dance is the fifth veda and is divine

12:50 – Dr. Godavarish Mishra – Her guide for M.Phil dissertation

Raghu’s segment

13:35 – “Aharya trends in Sadir”

40:19 – Sudharani Raghupathy’s doordarshan series about Aharya

42:22 – Raj’s question “What was your experiences with Therukoothu? How did it influence your dancing?”

49:00 – Aharya of therukoothu

References:

•Nautch girls, Hyderabad; a photo by Hooper and Western, 1860′s
•A Nautch Girl [from Ceylon], from Customs of the World, ed. by Walter Hutchinson, London, 1931
•Gentoo dancing girls from Madras, displaying jewellery,” a photo by Nicholas and Curths, 1870
•“Dancing girls of Pondicherry,”1836-45
•Coolie life in India–an operatic performance,” from The Graphic, 1878

•Bharatanatyam – Sunil Kothari 1979
•Women of Pride – Lakshmi Vishwanathan
•Balasaraswati : Her art and life – Douglas Knight
•Dance Dialects of India – Ragini Devi
•Nityasumangali – Saskia C Kersenboon

52:00 – Comparison with Melattur Bhagavatha Mela

55:00 – about Amba Shikandi

Devil’s advocate

57:27 – “Economics of a professional dancer. How does a dancer put up a performance financially? How practically is it viable?”

Topics touched

  • Teaching and Workshop as a source of income
  • Professionalism
  • Orchestra asks Money
  • Rehearsal
  • Season is mad, as everybody is tired
  • Government intervention with December season
  • Recognition of artists in public
  • lack of arts management
  • Stamp of approval from West
  • Lack of awareness of existing grants by Government of India
  • pressure on artists
  • academic pressures on students
  • are cities culturally aware?
  • find remedial measures
  • artists as methods of change

1:03:44 – recounting an anecdote about Sudhrai Raghupathy and Padma Subrahmanyam

1:30:30 – Rapid Fire round with Priya Murle by Subha

1:38:00 – Parting thoughts