Category Archives: discussion

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 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 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 Seventh Episode Part I

Shankar Adisesh: Priya Murle. November 28, 2012 &emdash;
Priya Murle
Image Courtesy: Shankar Adisesh

Hi Friends,

Enjoy the seventh episode of Arattarangetram here.

Special Guest: Smt. Priya Murle, Artistic Director Of Shri Silambam Academy of Fine Arts from Chennai.

0:00 – Madhana introducing the special guest Smt. Priya Murle

1:32 – Madhana’s question – What is your approach to abhinaya?

7:28 – What about rehearsed abhinaya?

8:56 – Experiences in life and its effect on abhinaya

10:31 – Subha’s question – Can the audience find that the abhinaya was changed or perceive it as different from the previous performance?

Madhana’s Segment

14:44 – Video of Padmashri. Chitra Visweswaran (Jayadeva Ashtapadi) Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgmvDtCoqA4 Disclaimer: Arattarangetram does not endorse the dancingindia.net’s views on dance videos. As there are very few videos available to show Chitra akka’s creativity and genius, we had to resort to showing this video.

16:45 – Discussion about the video and Chitra akka’s eye for details in choreography, lighting, and presentation.

24:36 – Video of Padmashri. Chitra Visweswaran highlighting her abhinaya. Thanks to tripmonk0 (Nick) for uploading this video. Link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvLdIwEpTNs

26:40 – Different approaches to abhinaya between different styles or banis

30:19 – Discussion about the video and the subtle cues given to the orchestra

Accompanying artists and their lack of rehearsal

Shortage of accompanying musicians for dance

33:51 – Internalization of the song by the orchestra to strike a rapport in a performance

35:51 – lessons to learn from senior artists

37:54 – Raj’s question – learning abhinaya in a on-on-one class versus learning in a group class – differences

Watch out for Part II and Part III of the seventh episode with Priya Murle in the next post.

Arattarangetram Sixth Episode Part III – Devil’s advocate

0:00 – Devil’s Advocate – “Do you have to believe in God to come across as a bharatanatyam dancer?”

Talking points

  • What is Bhakti?
  • Devotion towards God and devotion towards artform
  • Is belief irrelevant?
  • Spirituality and Religiousity
  • Is it a Journey?
  • Mythology: Just an interesting story?
  • Experience in life and dance
  • What can be a per-requisite?
  • How does an atheist see Bharatanatyam?
  • If one does not believe in God, are you being dishonest on stage that makes an audience believe in the character?

37:55 – Answer to Episode Part II question “Which famous dancer was born in 1936?”

Congratulations to Lavanya Rajagopalan for giving the right answer!!!

39:44 – Final wrap with “Life of Pi”

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 Fifth Episode – Part I

Dr. Rathna Kumar
Image Courtesy: http://www.anjalicenter.org/images/rathna.founder.gif

Welcome to the fifth episode of Arattarangetram. From this episode, we will split each episode as three parts and post it one every week from today, so that viewers have ease of viewing. And from this episode we have a quiz/question for the viewers. Watch out at the end of the Part III video for details!!!

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

0:00 – Introduction of Dr. Rathna Kumar

2:25 – Rathna Kumar talking about her experiences in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi; overcoming hurdles in life. What dance means to her and her mother’s encouragement

Madhana’s segmentYoutubeaanubhava

11:43 – Discussing about the video clip “Swaralaya”
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRhCbGTf7Po)

13:39  – Discussing Alarmel Valli’s dance and her art

19:17 – Discussing one another video of Alarmel Valli of her Abhinaya in the “Lament for a Fallen Warrior” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7H_-lW-PMY). Discussing the imagery Alarmel Valli creates in her dance. Alarmel Valli’s musicality and importance of music in dance.

29:34 – Madhana’s question to Rathna Kumar. “What is your opinion for a dancer, who has learnt more than one dance form, should do to avoid influences of ine art form over another?

33:47 – Rathna Kumar’s gurus: K J Sarasa and Vempati Chinna Satyam. Their roles in her formative years ans her experience with them. Sharing anecdotes about the way her gurus drove their standards in a student.

42:31 – Importance of a guru in life and her loss of losing them in the same year.

45:38 – her upcoming performance in Krishna Gana Sabha this season

Do lookout for the second part of this episode next week!!! Also, send us your comments and views

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