Category Archives: dance history

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/

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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 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 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

Arattarangetram Sixth Episode – Part I and II

Welcome to the sixth episode of Arattarangetram. We did not have a guest for the first two sections of this episode.

0:01 – Introduction by Raj

Madhana’s segment – Youtubeaanubhava

0:16 – Discussing about the video clip “Shobana Live 2” by Shobana aka Shobana Chandrakumar
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXbm7hhxPYo) Bhairavi Varnam “Mohamana” (Video Courtesy: tripmonk0)

Discussion on her choreography

07:45 – Should we show smile or bhavam while doing nritta sections?

09:36 – Persona or Technique? What comes across on stage?

11:45 – Sanchari part of the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXbm7hhxPYo) “Bhoga Tyagesa”

15:41 – Difference in execution of the sanchari by Shobana and the previously discussed Balasaraswati’s video (http://youtu.be/fmV2OXSNjZk?t=18m24s).

16:43 – Mridangist (Nellai Kannan) role in the sanchari

19:48 – Wrapping up Madhana’s segment

21:34 – Lokadharmi versus Natyadharmi

Raghu’s segment Dance history

25:31 – The Year 1936 – Why it is a significant year in Bharatanatyam?

26:55 – Blooper

27:30 – Actual start of the Dance History presentation (Image Courtesy: Dance history column @ http://www.narthaki.com; http://www.cinemanrityagharana.blogspot.com; Google Images)

38:30 – Previous episode (fifth)’s question to the viewers “What is the crown of Nataraja made of?“ and its answer

References: 

http://tamilartsacademy.com/books/siva%20bhakti/chapter11.html

http://tamilartsacademy.com/journals/volume1/articles/festival_of_dance.html

41:36 – Current episode’s question to viewers “Which famous dancer was born in 1936?

Watch out for the Part III of the sixth episode!!! Send us your answers by commenting in this blog/video or in our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/399141770149481/)

Arattarangetram Fifth Episode – Part II

Dr. Rathna Kumar
Dr. Rathna Kumar

Welcome to Arattarangetram’s fifth episode. Here is the Part II of this episode. Part I can be found here. And from this episode we have a quiz/question for the viewers. Watch out at the end of the video in Part III for details!!!

Special Guest: Dr. Rathna Kumar, Anjali Center for Performing Arts from Houston, Texas.

Raghu’s segment – Dance History

0:00 – Brief history about the other famous devadasi – a contemporary of Balasaraswati – Chennai Swarna Saraswathi

3:50 – Discussion about her and devadasi costumes in general

6:08 – Rathna Kumar’s experience of seeing/witnessing Balasaraswati’s dance and other legends while growing up in Chennai.

8:22 – Her views about teaching and her passion. Her mother, her grandmother and her family’s influence in her life.

15:48 – Raghu’s question to Rathna Kumar “Being a child artist in film industry and a classical dancer, what is your views on current portrayals of classical dance in Indian movies“. Discusses about Sai-Subbulakshmi.

21:20 – Future of classical dance – There is hope!

23:43 – Anecdotes from her days of being a child movie star.

25:23 – Sharing anecdotes of her interaction with actor Kamal Hassan

Watch out for Part III of the Fifth episode and the quiz at the end.

Arattarangetram Fourth Episode

Hi Friends,

Enjoy the fourth episode of Arattarangetram here.  At the outset, apologies for the echo that you hear while viewing the video. We will definitely troubleshoot this in the next episode.

Special Guest: Sangeetha Shyam – Bharatanatyam and the Worldwide Web blogger

(Link to the blog: http://sangeethas.wordpress.com/)

Sangeetha Shyam

Introduction:

00:18 – New member of Arattarangetram, Raj’s introduction

00:42 – Subha introduces the Special Guest for the episode, Sangeetha Shyam

02:31 – Madhana’s question to Sangeetha about the Bharatanatyam and worldwide web blog (http://sangeethas.wordpress.com/)

04:24 – Subha’s question to Sangeetha about her experience of maintaining the blog and her related web based activities. (http://onlinebharathanatyamacademy.wordpress.com/)

Madhana’s Segment

07:53 – Discussion about “Bala” 1976 by Satyajit Ray, where Bala demonstrating the padam “Unnai Thoodu Anupinen” in Ragam Saveri

followed by discussion about “musicality and dance”

18:24 – An excerpt from the Mohamana Varnam from the same documentary, where Bala is shown performing to the “Bhoga Tyagesa” and discussion about the line Bhoga Tyagesa.

followed by discussion about Balasaraswati.

Acknowledgement : The video shown was uploaded by another blogger Minai, who maintains the blog “Cinema Nritya Gharana“. 

Link to the full documentary “Bala” 1976 by Satyajit Ray

Raghu’s Segment

31:12 – Raghu’s question to Sangeetha about her experience of learning under Padmashri. Chitra Visweswaran

followed by being a teacher from a student

42:14 – Video excerpt showing the Devadasis doing alarippu who were in the service of the Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda in 1930.

Link to the full video: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/maharanee-of-baroda/query/maharanee from timestamp 07:10

More info about the video from Minai’s blog:

http://cinemanrityagharana.blogspot.in/2012/07/rare-video-clips-of-devadasis-uday.html

http://cinemanrityagharana.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-devadasi-video-mystery-solved.html

References:

1:00:19 – Subha’s question to Sangeetha about judging a performance

Subha and Raj’s Segment

1:02:55  –  Devil’s advocate topic “Ideal/Best diet for a dancer and should dancers watch their weight”

Topics touched upon:

  • glycemic index
  • BMI
  • Rice
  • thrifty gene hypothesis
  • south indian diet
  • fitness – resistance exercises
  • ideal body type for dance
  • criticisms towards dancers being overweight
  • mental stress on dancers about watching weight

1:27:25 – Rapid Fire round to Sangeetha by Subha

Send us your comments and views

Arattarangetram Third Episode

Friends, Apologies for the delayed posting of the third episode. Due to some technical glitches the video could not be published immediately after the shoot.

Special Guest: Dr. Joyce Paul Poursabahian

Youtube link of her dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6XSuWR0-AE

Introduction:

00:22 – Subha introducing the guest Dr. Joyce Paul Poursabahian

01:28 –  Madhana’s question to Joyce akka about her PhD in Anthropology of Performance studies.

Madhana’s Segment

11:41 – Reviewing the Trikala jathi from the documentary “Sanchari”, based on Leela Samson.

15:30 – Joyce akka’s experience with her guru Leela Samson.

21:58 – A jathi from the varnam “Roopamu Joochi”in Thodi Ragam, followed by the sahitya part

23:17 – Leela akka’s abhinaya and related discussion about Abhinaya

27:14 – Challenges of teaching Abhinaya

Raghu’s Segment

34:49 – Dance notations in 4th century

References

•Early Tamil Epigraphy: From the Earliest times to the Sixth Century AD. By Iravatham Mahadevan, 2003, Harvard Oriental Series Volume 62, Harvard University Press.

•http://www.hindu.com/lr/2003/08/03/images/2003080300280403.jpg

•http://sangeethas.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/inscriptional-evidences-related-to-dance-and-male-dancers-in-tamilnadu/

•http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_-07hPytYBXc/TKHfM9GkYKI/AAAAAAAAAew/7HcU4ps2HHQ/s1600/erode.jpg

•http://www.hindu.com/mp/2005/10/08/images/2005100801370301.jpg

Subha’s Segment

42:29 – Rapid fire round

47:21 – Devil’s Advocate: Do we need an Arangetram? What does it stand as of today?

Topics touched upon:

  • Joyce akka’s own arangetram experience
  • Money involved (Arangetram fees vs tuitions for regular class)
  • Solo performance as a challenge
  • Pressure from others and within
  • Emotional aspect of doing/completing an arangetram

Arattarangetram Second Episode

Second Episode of Arattarangetram:

This episode is dedicated to Late Padmabhushan Guru Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam

Special Guest: Kishore Mosalikanti

Introduction:

00:15 – Subha introducing the guest artist
Madhana’s segment:

00:58  – Kishore Mosalikanti sharing his experience about his guru.

06:30  – Discussing the Kuchipudi dance drama “Krishna Parijatham” by Uma Murali Krishna and Group. This was choreographed by Padmabhushan Guru Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam

Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt8zgCY2V_U

09:53 – Discussing the Tarangam in Kuchipudi

14:25 – Discussing the Narada and Krishna conversation in the dance drama “Krishna Parijatham”

20:23 – Discussing Bhama Pravesha Daruvu from “Krishna Parijatham”,

followed by more discussions on Kuchipudi.

Raghu’s segment:

26:20 – Pallava sculptures related to dance.

First sculpture depicting Nataraja – Seeyamangalam

Kuncita Karana of Shiva – Kailasanathar temple, Kanchipuram

Court Dancer – Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram

References:

followed by

36:55 – Discussion on nattuvangam in Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam

Subha’s segment:

41:26 – Recording practices of live performances by audiences.

Clip shown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm7A6_qHLOc

Some questions asked:

  • Can we control the audience completely?
  • Is there IP rights for Indian traditional music and dance performances?
  • Archiving choreography vs. piracy of choreography
  • What about Ethical values of requesting a copy of the music/choreography/video?

Arattarangetram Pilot Episode

Since this was the pilot episode, we did not invite anyone. However, in the future episodes you can join the discussions too…

Segments:
04:40 – Madhana’s segment, discussing Sudharani Raghupathy’s youtube video. Kshetrayya padam “Evvade” in Shankarabharanam, Mishra Chapu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArOD3VXQGlE

18:45 – Raghu’s segment, discussing “Ten things about Bharatasenapatiyam”

Sources:
Tamizhar Nadana Varalaaru (Tamizh) and History of Tamizh’s Dance (English) by Prof. Raghuraman, Nandini Pathipagam, 2007
Bharatasenapatiyam by R.S. Jayalakshmi at Music Research website
(http://www.musicresearch.in/categorydetails.php?imgid=67)

37:04 – Subha’s segment, discussing “Current generation of dancers vs. older dancers”

Please do send us your comments and response!