Saturday, 20 December 2014

Natya Darshan; The first morning

Featured here are notes made at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, venue for the 4-day Natya Darshan conference on dance hosted by Kartik Fine Arts which began on Friday. Lec-dems in the morning, recitals in the evening.
<< Over the years, this particular event of the 'season' has built a style of its own. Stage design, projections, reception and communication - is often smart and welcoming. A simple effort of placing vintage furniture on stage for guests and artistes ( Anita Ratnam lent her collection this year) makes a visual statement. Victor Paulraj, now a experienced lighting designer who learnt under the late theatreperson Mithran Devanesan creates the right atmosphere, and with ease.  One plaint though - when all the house lights are switched off at this auditorium, negotiating your way inside is testy.

<<  Art historian B. N. Goswamy delivered the opening address. He did it with ease and offered visuals of loads of Indian paintings, all north Indian. But feedback was that while the art on the screen was sumptuous Goswami sounded more like a high school art teacher asking people to look here, look there right through his 20-minutes talk. He did not move to a higher plane.

<<  Dancer Uma Satyanarayanan, a senior sishya of Chitra Visweswaran who has been on a high in her career this past year presented a new piece curated for this event. But one wondered why she was not asked to share her 'creative process' on this. ( The seminar theme is - Lotuses Bloom). We asked Uma later that evening and she had no answer. She had a paper to read before her recital but  . . . .

<<  The audience watched keenly veteran dancer Shymala Mohanraj on stage - this Sri Lankan veteran who lives in the city and was an early sishya of the great Balasaraswathi. She kept her talk simple but made notable points and gave a nice demo - of dance of another era.

<<  There was a lot of sharing at Aniruddha Knight's lec-dem. One point that the dancer who traces his roots to dancers and musicians over nine generations of the famed Veena Dhanammal family was that there is music in dance and dance in music and the two must go hand in hand for a great recital. "I have to learn the song and be able to sing it before I start performing, " said Aniruddha. Vocalists Usha Shivakumar and Vidhya Sankarnarayanan joined him in the demo - showing the audience the variations a song takes when it is plainly sung and when it is sung for dance.

<<  The hosts have made a few offers to dancers and students to draw them to Natya Darshan but not many seem to be keen. One did not find lots of young dance students in the hall - are they not keen to learn, to watch, to listen?

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