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Invite for my Bharatha Natyam Programme

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CHITRA SWAMINATHAN in The Hindu

For Radhika Shurajit, Bharatanatyam is not exclusively for the elite.

Radhika Shurajit

LOOKING FOR CHALLENGES: Radhika Shurajit with a disciple.

Just the other day when Radhika Shurajit entered the canteen of a sabha after performing a lecture-demonstration and saw the ‘today’s special’ board that was put up, she became emotional. At the bottom of the board was written ‘Thaka Dhimi Tha’ along with a simple sketch of a boy and girl dancing. Apparently, the man who runs the canteen likes Radhika’s dance show by the same name on Jaya TV, and thought the title aptly reflected the Margazhi mood.

Another memorable instance is when the owner of a small brass vessel shop in Pazhani from where Radhika bought a pair of salangai suggested that she watch talented youngsters perform on ‘Thaka Dhimi Tha’.

“Responses such as these are what make my artistic journey fulfilling. And, I feel really good about reaching classical dance to the common man through the popular medium of television,” says Radhika.

Her award-winning weekly dance show ‘Thaka Dhimi Tha’ has completed 350 episodes. Conceived of and directed by Radhika, the show provides a platform to up-and-coming Bharatanatyam artists from across the country, and sometimes abroad. It also features senior exponents of the art form as judges.

Television helped Radhika regain the rhythm of her life when a knee problem put an abrupt end to her promising performing career. “I used to perform along with my sisters Shobana and Gayathri and we were popularly referred to as Trio Sisters.” Disciples of the Dhananjayans, the sisters made a name for themselves in the dance field in a short time.

“It was difficult to come to terms with life without dancing. It was then that I turned my attention towards the small screen and thought about doing a show based on classical dance. Thankfully, the idea has been very well received.”

“Dance through lens” became the focus of her life. She analysed and explored the art from a new angle. She also learnt to shoot dance sequences with different cameras. “Performing before a camera is not the same as performing on stage. The expressions, make-up and costume should be understated. Otherwise, you could end up looking dreadful in close-up shots. A dancer should be conscious about the limited space and time. She or he should know when not to look at the camera. I learnt many such things from experience and observation.”

Besides ‘Thaka Dhimi Tha,’ Radhika has also made dance capsules for BBC, come up with ad campaigns and choreographed classical dance sequences for films, including the award-winning “Nila Kaigiradhu…” (from “Indira”). But, what she seems to enjoy most is training youngsters who join ‘Thrayee’, her dance school.

“Every time a student performs, I see myself in her. I think it’s very important for any youngster to learn an art. It adds a new dimension to one’s personality and helps them look at the world from a different perspective,” says Radhika.

Over the years, she has choreographed a range of thematic performances, including those based on the compositions of Balamuralikrishna, Kannadasan’s songs, songs rendered by M.L. Vasanthakumari and M.S. Subbulakshmi in films, Sangam poetry, and more.

“Passionate about cinema, I adapted many of the lyrical gems of yesteryear into my dance. It’s thrilling to choreograph them in my own way. I do not tamper with the music, but sometimes add appropriate jatis. Being used in films does not mean these compositions are less poetic. If modern verses can be taken up, why not these timeless melodies?” says Radhika.

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If you are looking for books on Bharata Natyam, Carnatic music or books (or CDs, and DVDs) on any Indian arts, head straight to The Karnatic Music Book Centre in Royapettah, Chennai. The small shop, located near the Deccan Plaza hotel (near the Royapettah bridge), has all cultural books under one roof. The shop is run by Mr Vinod Kumar and Mr Hemant Kumar.

You will find one of them in the shop itself. They are extremely courteous  and helpful.

They also have a Web site: http: http://carnaticbooks.com/ . Use the drop-down menu at the top to change your preference for currency. If you are buying from India, click on the drop-down menu to change it to Indian Rupees.

The address is:

The Karnatic Music Book Centre,

23A, Sripuram First Street,

Royapettah, Chennai – 600 014

Phone: (91) 044 – 28111716 ;  28113253

When you head towards Mylapore from Royapettah, take the road on the left of the Royapettah flyover. The road that turns left next to the Deccan Plaza hotel is Sripuram First Street. The shop is at the second building on the left.

Please don’t rely on Google Map search. Though the Google search throws up the correct address, the map shows a wrong location.

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Inextricably entwined with the sacred belief and philosophy of the people of India, the classical arts, are the ladder of understanding that encompasses all learning, all sciences and all discipline leading tAnusham logoo Gnana. The sojourn of an artist is as much within himself as it is without. From the mundane to the divine, from gross to the subtle, religion to aesthetics the arts traverse a path so hidden yet so apparent. The quintessence of Indian ideology is based on the oxymoronic substratum of losing yourself to find ‘Oneself .Tradition sows the seed, time nurtures and experience ripens the fruit called learning. To partake of that fruit, to revel in that magnificence, to experience that Aananda- we have set out.
– Anusha and Narendra

THE GURUS

With my gurus
Narendra Kumar

Narendra Kumar is an early student of the Dhananjayans. He has earned a name for himself as a skilled Bharata Natyam dancer and choreographer. Eager to explore different dimensions in dance, he has studied martial arts such as Kalaripayyattu, Silambam and Tai-Chi. He has his dance establishment Anusham and is a teacher, choreographer and performer, along with his wife Anusha. He travels to the US often to work with dancers/choreographers and to aid them in their productions.

Anusha Narendra Kumar

Anusha Narendra Kumar is a disciple of the Dhananjayans and is well known as an excellent exponent of Bharata Natyam. She is the wife of Narendra Kumar and they are gaining a reputation as a skilled dancing couple. She is a teacher in their school “Anusham” and they also work with dancers in the US conducting classical dance workshops and assisting in choreography. She won audience appreciation and critical acclaim for her performance in Living Tree. She is also earning a name as a fine visual artist.

Click here to read the article by Samanth Subramanian about L. Narendra Kumar in the Sunday Magazine section of The New Indian Express

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The Cultural Talent Search Scholarship Scheme aims at providing facilities to outstanding young children to develop their talents in various artistic fields. Children in the age group of 10 to 14 years studying either in recognized schools or belonging to families practicing traditional art forms are eligible for the scholarship.

The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) provides 500 new scholarships each year, out of which minimum 5 seats each are reserved for all the states and at least 3 each for all the Union Territories. Minimum 10 scholarships are reserved for the state of Jammu and Kashmir also. While awarding scholarships preferences are given to children of families practicing traditional art forms. Special emphasis is given to rare arts and crafts which are becoming extinct..

The scholarship awarded under the Scheme is initially for two years and is renewable after every two years till the completion of the first University degree stage of education or up to the age of 20 years whichever is earlier subject to the awardees maintaining good progress.

BASIS OF SELECTION


Children in the age group of 10-14 years studying either in recognized schools or belonging to families practicing traditional, performing and other arts are chosen for the scholarships.
The outstanding children in various cultural fields such as traditional forms of music, dance, drama as well as painting, sculpture and crafts are selected for the award of scholarships. Special emphasis is given to rare art forms, which are in the process of becoming extinct.

CCRT Contact details

Centre for Cultural Resources and Training
Under the aegis of  Ministry of Culture,
Government of India
15-A, Sector – 7, Dwarka,
New Delhi – 110075

Telephone: (011) 25088638,
25088630, 25074254, 25074258
Fax: 91-11-25088637,
Gram: CENCULT
E-mail:- skdgccrt@del3.vsnl.net.in

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Hi!

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Please feel free to write to me at this email ID: email ID

Vidya Dinakaran

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