Tag Archive: dance

Jonathan Hollander    “India stands out in the world for having eight distinct classical dance forms and hundreds of folk dance forms so the richness of Indian music and dance can never be fully understood or explored. There’s always more material to discover,” he explains. The company has also been conscientious about its work in dance as a means of ‘social cohesion’, most prominently in conflict zones around the world, including Thailand, Iraq, Israel-Palestine and North and South Korea. They are also known for their workshops and programmes that reach out to schools and young talent about the importance of dance. Among the most significant of these programmes is the 20-hour ‘Dancing to Connect’ programme conducted by their dancers in over 62 countries. The company, led by Jonathan, was also instrumental in establishing arts education at the school levels in New York Public schools.

When we undertake a programme like this, it inspires us, makes us love our art form even more because we see that it can do something for people. It can bring joy and reveal capacity to other people that they didn’t know they had.” This stems from their deep concern for the world and the need to understand what they, as dancers can do.

“As a team we contribute a lot. When we do this, we set tasks in motion. Young people like to dance, you are not going to teach somebody to dance in 20 hours, but you can create an environment where they feel free to experiment and innovate.


Weight of Joy was devised exploring the title’s seemingly contradictory ideas — weight and burden, paired with lightness and joy. Languet asks, “What is the price to pay for a joyful moment? For there are both pure moments of bliss, and others that can harm people.” He began by “asking each dancer for his/her definition of not happiness, but joy. Then my interest lay in the conditions of emergence of joy, where does it come from”…….Creating ways to enable disabled and non-disabled people to dance together, Languet explains, is about moving away from preconcieved notions of a so-called standard model of movement for a normal body. Instead, he gives “everyone tools to develop their own repertoire of movement. It is about re-assessing what can be beautiful.”


Hakanaï converges the technology zeitgeist with a cathartic dance to evoke nuances of evanescence.Hakanaï, which is Japanese for ‘fleeting’and ‘delicate,’is described as a “choreography that draws the evanescence of dreams and the impermanence of things.” This emotive digital art and dance was created by Claire Bardainne and Adrien Mondot of the Adrien M et Clair B Company in 2013 after careful formulating with a large team of programmers, scenographers, sound designers and visual artists.

The poetics of the precise

….Neha Lavingia’s small-format works may be described as visual haiku. They speak of the precise, the poetics of the minimal. “In the push, pull and shove of life, how often do we take the time to stand, to stare, to wonder, to feel, to experience?” …….


Madhvi Subrahmanian, another Mumbai artist, is known for her larger-than-life ceramics that emulate the human form. They evoke a gamut of textures, shapes and shades, but she has scaled down the size of some her works and those are the ones that fit in perfectly with this show. She continues her exploration of and reflection on the urban environment and its disconnect with nature, as she had done in her recent solo show, ‘Mapping Memory’. ‘Mappa Mundi’ maps the routes of her daily journeys while ‘Dilli’ is constructed with cones as markers of time. Her work titled ‘Blue Print’ juxtaposes the city map with a house, directing attention to the human desire for congregation and dwelling.

The works of the three artists are united by their architectural feel and their quietness. While Minimalism as a movement was primarily dominated by male artists (as was painting itself), in the early 1960s artists like the late Nasreen Mohamedi and New York-based Zarina Hashmi created a space for women artists to experiment with minimalism. Mohamedi’s retrospective at The Met Breuer in New York created waves among the cognoscenti.

The spartan nature of her straight lines and grids said much more than daubs of paint could. Her work unwittingly broke several assumptions about ‘women artists’.

It is generally assumed that women paint decorative canvases and dwell only on feminine subjects. While this might be true of many women artists, several male artists too create decorative and autobiographical works.

Gender does not and should not decide the stylistic domain of any artist. One would be best advised to ignore the gender of the artist and enjoy the art, given that it is a universal language that urges us to uncomplicate our lives and go for the simple.

The reclaiming of public spaces is the running theme at this year’s Urban Lens Festival

He could have raged on about it, but was advised by a confidant to get creative instead. The expression of dissent would then last forever, not just stay relevant for the moment. So Prabh Deep started articulating angst and anguish in his rap songs. He now has a loyal SoundCloud following and revels in the endorsement he has been getting, not just from family and friends but, as he puts it, from his “hood” (neighbourhood) as well.

Music gives meaning to his life, makes him feel alive; the street where he has been living for almost two decades is his anchor and inspiration. And the two passions come together in a song called ‘Delhi 18’ (an ode to his pincode). The defiance reflected in their music stems as much from circumstances and situations as it does from the claustrophobia (physical and psychological) they feel in their homes and lives.

The journey of immigrants in Daphna Awadish’s enchanting Journey Birds is across countries. The unique animation presents individuals as hybrids between human beings and birds, those who have flown far away from their original nests to build homes elsewhere. Four narratives — of Nona, Irene, Abraham and Karen — provide commentary as Awadish explores the aching for a homeland and the curiosity for a new habitat. I still don’t know where I want to be, says one of the immigrants. I can’t say whether I am at home here, says another.


Political Mother - Hofesh Schecter

Today – Political mother – By  Hofesh Schecter company – Where there is pressure , there is folk dance  ! – harmonious chaos or chaotic harmony ?? Innovative , the dance and music blend into each other  , the moves are emotive and energetic .Overall definitely worth it for the innovative mix of lighting-music-dance , but prefer watching contemporary  ballet ( waiting for a good cb troupe to tour  India…..)

August 24 – the DCH play @MPTF 2014, was more of like “Om Shanti Om”  song in that Farah Khan filck …… less of  theatre,  more of theatre personalities ,   but kudos to the trio for showcasing contemporary / budding  hyderabadi theatre /culture  ( courtesy , open cultural places like Lamakaan , the GZ and AF)

P.S:- ‘Tis been a week of discovering new sounds – thanks to OD @twitter for introducing me to the amazing Gillian welch – country music speaks to the soul

Also , ‘ THE BLACKLIST episodes have some really fab OSTs………….(but worth watchin’ for one-man show- “the Spader” – never disappoints. )


Coco’s lunch and The Prophet

17th November 2013 –  mom’s b’day  – took her to the dance ballet which she enjoyed too, differed from my usual single outings…, Prophet –  profound  – self reflective , apt in India – are people drawn to the prophet by the serenity of countenance or is his/her countenance of  serenity a mask to gain followers /disciples /ulterior motives ????  I dance no more on a stage , ‘coz the world is my stage now and the rhythms of the nature are  my dance beats ……….. deep dialogue ,accompanied by an amazing narrative voice ……… impressed by the artistic /talented duo – srikanth -savitha.

24th Nov  2013 -Could not attend Plaistow , but Coco’s lunch (24th Nov) more than made up for it – reminded me of all the wonderful carribean (and soothing bolivian ) mixtapes dad brought from London  , shared with him by  trainees from Africa ….. when I was a kid …………but amazing , the way the band fused Carnatic with Western …..and the Afro beats – out of this world ……….foot starts tapping to the beat –  “involuntary rhythmic movements ” ….too much of neurology hangover……Go NovFest !….


The Art School Post


Vintage Indian Clothing


Two of early 20th century art/dance schools in India, Santiniketan/Viswa Bharati and Kalakshetra were not just involved with a revival of Indian dance and art traditions but were also responsible for a new kind of aesthetic.  Khadi, so intregal to the freedom movement, was homespun cloth worn by India’s poor – a symbol of spartan simplicity and an eschewing of luxury. The art schools on the other hand were involved with the revival or reinterpretation of textile traditions, even as they discarded western dress and goods and embraced swadeshi. Both schools were responsible for certain sari styles. Kalakshetra lent its name to saris that were based on existing textile traditions in South India though some of the patterns were new.  On the other hand batik (possibly introduced in India due to the South East Asian influence) and kaantha (a type of stitch that had hinterto been used…

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Ballet Gifs

balletomaneassoluta:Svetlana Zakharova

 Contemporising the past – The HinduExcerpt

Darkened dervishes. Skeletal and vegetal motifs. Sexual frissons. Ranvir Shah spends a scintillating evening at the Paris Opera.

The Paris Opera is a grand institution. One enters to a welcome by tuxedoed staff who gently usher you in. The beautiful people of the dance world — artistic directors, choreographers and dancers, critics and the cultural cognoscenti — are all here in their finest. It’s a special evening at the Opera in this year’s Ballet Season. Its director of dance, Brigitte Lefevre, has commissioned a brand new work on Ravel’s Boléro, but it is preceded by three earlier pieces.

L’oiseau de Feu (the Bird of Fire), by Igor Stravinsky, which was commissioned by Serge Diaghilev in 1910 and reinterpreted by Maurice Béjart in 1970, is the first piece. The romance of the phoenix’s rising is fore-grounded by the heady times of the revolution and resistance, and carry just the hint of the original. Dancers in fatigues create patterns — assembling and disassembling with the interjections of the bird of fire.

Then came L’après midi d’un faune — the classic piece of ballet performed by the all-time great Vaslav Nijinsky. The faun in all his animal sensuousness is re-invoked in a wonderful revival by the dancers of the Paris Opera. The charm and delight of watching the nymphs, dressed in Greco-Roman costumes literally lifted off a Greek vase, come alive in the lilting music and gentle dance moves. There is an incredible sexual frisson between the faun and the grand nymph that must have scandalised the audiences of the early 20th century. The rocky landscape set is recreated authentically and we are transported back in time, revelling in the poetics of attraction created by Claude Debussy’s score. Immediately following this was Afternoon of a Faun — an interpretation of the earlier piece by American choreographer Jerome Robbins.

Finally the treat of the evening — Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet’s reworking of Ravel’s Boléro. Collaborating with the international performance artist Marina Abramovic, who also worked on the scenography, the work was a revelation of the wonders artistic synergy can produce.

The Boléro has meant many things to many people. It is a piece of music that moves you deeply as you are pulled into its ever-swirling vortex. On the stage the dancers are slowly spinning — darkened dervishes who, after a while, start collapsing on the floor. It is a constant; falling down and being revived by the pull of the music — like magnetised puppets

Slowly the capes come off to reveal gauze-like white gowns embroidered with skeletal and vegetal motifs — all white on white. The dancers’ tempo of entering a centrifugal energy on stage is further heightened by the spirals of grey electronic static, which falls on the floor with incandescent, sharp points of light. Circles from the floor intersect, reflected by doubling on a large mirror, angled diagonally above them, and create patterns. The spectacle lasts 20 minutes and the standing ovation is half that!

I come out enriched and am sneaked backstage to meet the team. Everyone is gushing. I tell them it reminded me of the worship trances of the goddesses of the Malabar, Bhadrakali and her sisters, their incredible tantric energy. Animist, primal, seductive and magnetic — the work is hauntingly embedded in one’s memory despite the simplicity. It is a true work of art.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui says, “I come from a Sufi tradition and found this material primordial and forceful; it allowed us to interpret many things through the spiral. The costumes were trying to evoke Mexico’s festival of the Dead.”

Damien Jalet, who has worked with him for over a decade now, says “It is the movement of ascending and descending and a certain magnetic force that is important to me in this piece.”

They are both thrilled to have collaborated on the conception and set with Marina Abramovic — who is known most famously for her performance piece at the Museum of Modern Art in New York The Artist is Present, where she engaged with the audience for over 700 hours. “I knew their work and always wanted to do something creative with them,” she says. “Even though I have worked with dancers, this was a first for working with choreographers. This collective work has opened up many questions — what about the Boléro do we like? I think the repetition and the obsessive quality of the music provokes many sentiments. I find it electric; it evokes life, death, jealousy, love, hate, the erotic — all the extreme emotions. It’s like a shamanic ritual mixed with elevated spirituality.”

Three pieces of music — Stravinsky, Debussy and Ravel. Four choreographers and their interpretations to contemporise those works in their times. What does an evening like this evoke? As the programme notes say, “Creations, reinterpretations, transpositions: the history of dance is built around this incessant back and forth between past and present, giving rise to a unique sense of time that goes beyond the human context.”

Finally, it is about contextualising in the contemporary. What was daring, subversive, exciting, revolutionary and shocking becomes over time dated, museumised and fossilised; yet it is celebrated in our collective memory. Think of the work of Uday Shankar in the last century, the work of Mrinalini Sarabhai, and finally that of the iconic Chandralekha, 30 years ago. They are all moments in the history of contemporary dance expression in India. Yet, the interpretation of Ravel’s Boléro showed me that the markers of modernity, the gate keepers of critical reinterpretations, will always show us ways to see things anew — recreating and reimagining — finally rejoicing in a contemporary relevance. That is, we could say after all, one of the purposes of all art.

Related articles

Let’s dance – The Hindu. Excerpt

 In a city where Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music are often the preserve of the privileged, Kalakshetra serves as a counterpoint, offering a life-altering experience to its students, many of whom come from deprived backgrounds

“Have you eaten, akka ?” Kali asks politely, before picking up a stainless steel plate and helping himself to a dosa . He’s a third-year dance student, and his journey from Kovalam (a fishing village on the outskirts of Chennai) to Kalakshetra has been the stuff of dreams. V. Kali never imagined that he would, one day, learn dance at this premier dance institute, much less chit-chat over dosa and coffee with dancers from Russia and France. …………………………………But he’s been dancing since he was in Std. II. “I thought I was dancing Bharatanatyam,” he laughs. He couldn’t have known, as there was no money for dance lessons. Kali’s father died when he was six-months-old; his mother, a coolie, raised him and his three sisters. Kali, in fact, had never heard of Kalakshetra until his sponsor, Tara Chand, saw him dancing for the inauguration of the ‘Tsunami Kuzhandai Valarchi Maiyam’ in Kovalam. Recognising his talent, she brought him to Kalakshetra, where he got an admission and, from the second year, a scholarship. “If I hadn’t come here, I would’ve had to go to work.”

Except, Kalakshetra itself was hard work. “The first year, my body ached from dancing; I cried, but I was also keen to learn. Teachers and friends helped. They taught me how to walk, talk, and dress. You know, I spoke no English when I came here, and I was very shy to speak up. Now, I can!” he says in a mix of English and Tamil. Dressed in a striped kurta , his wavy hair smartly cropped, Kali tells me about visiting home every other Saturday to see his mother. “She’s very soft. I want to earn money and look after her. And I want to choreograph; I want to go abroad…”

Outside the 100-acre campus, established by Rukmini Devi Arundale, Kali’s dream might remain one; after all, Chennai’s classical dance and music scene, besides being fiercely competitive, is often seen as the preserve of the moneyed and/or the understudy of the famous. Classes are dominated by the upwardly mobile, often hailing from communities steeped in the classical arts; and many of the budding artists are privately tutored and personally groomed. But here, Kali stands a fighting chance — and all that’s demanded of him is commitment, a willingness to work hard and of course, a passion for the arts.

“Rukmini Devi laid the foundation for a very democratic access to arts, cutting across economic strata and communities not normally associated with arts,” says Karunakaran Menon, Director-in-charge, Kalakshetra. “Where else but Kalakshetra,” he asks, “do you find a boy from a fishing village, a labourer’s son and a Mexican dancing to the same Sankarabaranam varnam , side-by-side?”

Founded in Adayar (inside the Theosophical Society) in 1936, Kalakshetra moved to the current location in Thiruvanmiyur in 1962 and has since garnered for itself the reputation of one of India’s premier dance schools. (Besides dance, music and arts are offered at the Diploma level.) Overseas students add to its cosmopolitan character, and its alumni today teach in every corner of the world. Together, they inspire the next generation, especially aspiring male dancers; only, not many are from Tamil Nadu.

If numbers are anything to go by, small-town Tamil Nadu isn’t sending (to Kalakshetra) as many dancers or musicians as Kerala; an irony, given that the art forms originated in the state. Several reasons are cited for these skewed numbers, among them, Tamil Nadu’s penchant for professional degrees, and the arts seen as something worthy of being pursued only part-time. “Moreover, Tamil Nadu has several government music colleges. But those who can afford it opt for private lessons anyway,” says musician Sai Sankar, former student of Kalakshetra and a teacher here since 1986.

Classical dance is, moreover, not perceived as aspirational enough. Tamilselvan M., a first year dance student, faced stiff opposition from his family when he left his job (as draughtsman) and joined Kalakshetra. His decision meant that the family was once again dependent on his father’s income as a security guard. With no knowledge of dance or music, they resented him — a potential breadwinner — choosing dance over a career. “But my friends are sponsoring my fees. Even if I earn one rupee from dance, it will give me more happiness than what I earn being a draughtsman,” he says.

But for Keralite brothers, Kailasanathan and Geethanadhan, studying at Kalakshetra was a childhood dream; one that their parents encouraged. Hailing from Kannur, the family has some connection with the arts (their father, a carpenter by profession, also dabbles in theatre). But it was the famous alumni from the region — Dhananjayan, Janardhanan and, more recently, Shijith Nambiar — who inspired them, even as children, to tell everybody they were going to be dancers.“Kalakshetra’s male dancers are very famous for their bani (style); men, here, dance like men. Naturally, we want to be performers, but we also have to teach; only then we will earn money,” they say, pragmatically.It is the same pragmatism that Venugopal K. echoes. Speaking in Malayalam — laced with Tamil for my benefit — the young, slim student says he’s very keen to be a performer. “But you can be a full-time performer, only if you’re from a rich family. Jeevika kaasu venum illaya, akka (you need money to live, isn’t it sister?),” he says simply.Photos: R. PRASANA

There are plenty of job opportunities for Kalakshetra students, especially in private institutions in Tamil Nadu and Kerala (Government jobs, unfortunately, elude them as the students are only diploma holders — and not graduates — when they complete the four-year programme). Sunitha E. is waiting to take up one such job in Ooty. She needs to work and send money home to repay the loan taken for her sister’s wedding. “But the four years here have been great! I’ve learnt English. I’ve made good friends, and I’ve even forgotten non-veg food!”

……………………………Walking past the airy classrooms, we reach the big banyan tree; under its enormous canopy, students sit cross-legged, on floor mats; teachers sit in a semi-circle, on a raised platform; among them isGuru A. Janardhanan, former Principal of Kalakshetra, who trained under Rukmini Devi. The assembly begins right after the bell. A tanpura sets the pitch, crows caw in accompaniment, and voices rise in prayer and song.

Mohammad Rashan is standing on the second row, a little to the left of the Ganesha idol under the tree. He sings the praise of Goddess Saraswathi, with his eyes closed, hands raised, palms facing the sky. He’s from Kurunagale, Sri Lanka, where his father works as a mechanic. Rashan had previously trained in Kandian dance; here, he’s learning Bharatanatyam, but his family is not aware of that. What do they think he’s up to? “Costume designing,” he says, his cheeks dimpling as he smiles. “My mother’s family is very orthodox — some think dance and music is haraam ; they will not accept dancing as a career.” But Rashan wants to follow his religion as well as his passion. “I do namaaz five times a day, I fast during Ramzaan and I also want to dance. Now, I will go to Colombo and start a dance school,” he says, a little unsure how his six siblings will receive the news…

There’s clapping under the Banyan tree, whose stout roots are etched with names of past students. Janardhanan is distributing certificates for the prize-winners of the past year. Sai Komala, third-year music student, is awarded a certificate for the highest percentage of attendance for her year. The great granddaughter of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Aiyangar, her journey to Kalakshetra was neither easy nor straightforward. She had no parental support, and lived in an orphanage before coming here. “When I saw this campus, I really liked it. At the orphanage, they asked me to go the Government Music College. I insisted on coming here, as the teaching is better”.

Devi. P, a first-year PG dance student is here for the same reason. “When I told my mother — a cook in a doctor’s house in Tiruvannamalai — that I wanted to pursue dance, she asked me to learn in Tiruvannamalai itself”. As the only parent (Devi’s father died years ago), with a son working as a lorry cleaner, her mother felt Kalakshetra was out of their reach. “But it’s precisely for candidates like her that Rukmini Devi introduced scholarships,” says Janardhanan. “She felt poverty should not stop you from learning the arts”. “And I want to, in turn, inspire students from small town Tamil Nadu to take up dancing”.

The infrastructure at Kalakshetra is clearly a boon for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. For many here, routine visits to the sabhas — to listen to a Carnatic recital or watch a dance-drama — wasn’t part of their childhood. “But their challenges are not very different from the ones that foreign students face. To ramp up, they practise with their classmates, before and after their lessons. There are no restrictions on hostel timings. The talented and hardworking children show great progress, and catch up with their peers by the second year!” says Sai Sankar.

…………………………………..“Rukmini Devi envisioned this years ago — art touching and transforming lives — long before we used words like ‘cultural exchange and outreach programmes’,” says Menon. Indeed, Kalakshetra, the institution she founded, teaches one to live with the arts.

E from Neurochoreography

attended the Neurochoreography lecture yesterday and down with sunstroke…………….but ’twas  well worth it………..one of a kind and a lot to learn – both – from the subject and the speaker as well .

Excerpts from the presentation –

series  of lectures + 7 dance numbers ………. not boring at all , ……..as the main dancer explained in her introduction  , since it was an experimental  theme……..the focus would not entirely be on core classical bharatanatyam………….so there were ballet splits………. an acrobatic- type dance to show one of the neuronal themes…….western instrumental music accompanying indian classical dance- overall a visual /auditory……..no , a total aesthetic treat .

The best part to me , was the speaker …….an eminent neurosurgeon …………………but what strikes one immediately   is the stark simplicity of the man –  in  his  dressing ( when will  i learn ????????????  i doubt in this lifetime )……….blending into the audience  really and his unassuming demeanor …………you realize  the dancer was not exaggerating  when she described him – as ” so simple, humble and modest “………………..  a rare breed . He took the lecture from science to arts …… blending them and ended  with – spirituality.

  • first was an introduction – parts of brain – lobes etc. brain states are body states
  • neurophilosophy/neuroaesthetics – dance of the brain
  • we automatically tap our feet to the music
  • PET scans of the brain reveal inner choreography
  • every proton/atom in the brain undergoes the dance of creation- destruction………………….(.i luved  this  metaphor- all life is but  a dance of creation and destruction……….and beyond ………)
  • The BODY MANDALA –  the space surrounding the movements of the body – when dancing –PERIPERSONAL SPACE
  • body schema – dance moves at unconscious level – gracefully
  • kinetic – one performs movements in brain virtually
  • ingredients of dance
  1. rhythm
  2. coordination
  3. balance
  4. multisensory integration
  5. emotions – amygdala
  6. motor activation

Ended with a beautiful definition of dance  – something like – quadri……….quintessential………….should luk it up.

Last but definitely not the least  ……………. his   correlation between- mind -body -spirit……………lllluved the way he put in words – pure  literary treat ” natya shastra to veda …..from veda to yoga …………shiva the dancer – in the nataraja pose- explained by a pic


he controls the demons /negativities with his foot , at the same time balancing and maintaining a graceful posture………to have balance in thought , word and deed………and an undisturbed serenity/tranquility in his face – the ultimate goal of   life ..from ananda to anantha ……… if  dancing in bliss to the divine dance……….will help us reach the tao of lao …….the zen of zenith…… the nirvana of the buddha  …………

intercepted with quotes by poets and neurologists……..wordsworth, oliver sacks etc.

heard m.s’ s  madhurashtakam used in one of the pieces…….

everything is interconnected now ……….  arts-science-spirituality……mind-body-spirit

reflected by wordsworth’s quote in the lecture “ And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.   (  http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/daffodils/ )

events in march  – 3rd , 17th ,   10th and 24th .

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/a-goldfish-minute/article4373985.ece            – We find causes to fight for and then, just when we have stirred up enough talk to get something going, we open another tab.


………………………………, if you ask me, it all boils down to this: we get bored too quickly and too often. We’ll try everything once, but the problem is, we’ll also usually try it only once. Or twice. Sometimes, we might even stick to it for a whole month or year but, sooner or later, we move on to something shinier or, like it is nowadays, darker. Everything catches our attention. A good-looking face, an emotionally manipulative Kony video, a really happy South Korean man. We find causes to fight for and then, just when we have stirred up enough talk to get something going, we open another tab..

Let’s face it: today, when we have Google and Wikipedia to tell us everything, Poirot’s favourite little grey cells are severely under-worked.

Like a lot of people out there, I feel strongly about a lot of things. A parched beggar knocking on my car window leads me into a lengthy, involved and modestly sensible debate about the state of things today, with respect to our homeless, unemployed and poverty-stricken population. A sickening gang rape and murder in my adopted city sets me off on a short, but very charged, warpath. A homophobic statement on the news makes me want to grab and shake the next person with even the slightest reservations about LGBT rights. I am not apathetic, not even a little bit. I could pride myself on that. I think I even did, once upon a time.

Not now though. Not after I’ve realised that I’m surrounded by almost identical people, cardboard cut-outs with big hearts and a short attention span. I’ve been where almost everyone else has been. I’ve held an issue close to my heart, fed it my anger and sadness and ideas and solutions, and then left it out there in the cold to fend for itself.

The cathartic, almost numbing effect words can have, the way they fool us into thinking that we’ve done our bit. And so, after a well crafted debate, whether on or off paper, most of us stop. The weight is off our shoulders. Some other, more pressing, more demanding issue is waiting to be looked after. And so, we level up.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/republic-of-the-offended/article4373986.ece      –  We are becoming a nation of individuals and groups who get offended at anything and everything. If it is not the out-of-context remarks of well-known academic Ashis Nandy at the Jaipur Literary Festival then it is the presence of Pakistani writers at festivals and sportspeople on playing fields………….For instance, when we read news day in and day out about little girls, some as young as three years old, being raped, do we get offended? Recently, in Mumbai, there was the story of a five-year-old girl in Dharavi who was lured by a man who offered her chocolates and then raped her. Her parents went looking for her and found her crying outside a public toilet. She was bleeding and could barely explain what had been done to her. Such stories should outrage us. What is happening to our society that even little girls on their way to school have to be protected from these predators?

Look at our cities. All of them are turning into giant garbage heaps. The authorities claim the mess is beyond their control. And citizens, the very same who take offence at so much else, seem not to mind as they add their might to enlarging these mountains of garbage. It never occurs to them that perhaps they too need to reduce the amount of waste they generate. So we live in the midst of this filth and do not get offended. We point fingers. Or we simply look the other way.

Here is my list of things about which all of us should be “offended”: that in this “free” country, where our 63-year-old Constitution promises women equality in all spheres, they continue to be second class citizens; that they continue to be denied the right to even be born; that they continue to be denied the right to education if they are poor; that they continue to be denied the right to have control over their own resources; that they continue to be tortured and killed for not bringing enough dowry; that they continue to face verbal and physical abuse inside their homes if they so much as dare raise their voices; that they continue to be assaulted and raped irrespective of their class or creed and that they continue to be abandoned and isolated if they become victims of sexual assault because they are deemed “spoiled goods”. Yes, take offence by all means but on issues that a civilised society should not tolerate.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/why-have-you-forsaken-me/article4373988.ece   –

Rejection happens to everyone, but the person isn’t being rejected as a whole.Some experience a sense of relief, some others bewilderment, but most are hurt, sad, angry and maybe even hostile. And, mercifully only occasionally, some may find the pain and mortification too much to handle and end up coming to the drastic conclusion that their lives have no further value and may harm themselves. Or they may angrily plot and even execute a vengeful act against the rejecter, like throwing acid on an unresponsive object of desire or affection.

Rejection happens to everybody. Certain severe forms of rejection such as child neglect or abandonment, social ostracism and oppression on account of caste, social class, religion and the like, are more intensely painful, are more closely related to hierarchical power equations, result in feelings of unimaginable helplessness, have deeper psychodynamics and merit being considered separately. I will therefore confine this exploration to the more quotidian forms of rejection which, for the sake of convenience, can be classified as taking place in the inter-personal and social spaces.

‘need to belong’, the second tier in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. Although in the animal kingdom, social exclusion often results in extreme consequences, even early death of the excluded creature, it’s not always as catastrophic for the human race, only because there are a large number of social groups we can belong to, unless the group that rejects us defines our primary social identity, as do groupings like caste and religion to many of us. Inter-personal rejections, as in being rejected by a parent, a child, a lover, a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a co-worker and so on, take place in the context of a specific one-on-one relationship in which we have invested our emotions, expectations, time and energy. As a result of this investment, we start looking at ourselves through the eyes of the other person. When, for whatever reason, the other person disinvests from the relationship, particularly when our investment remains intact, we experience a sharp stab of rejection for our self image takes a beating. For, after being rejected, when we look at ourselves through the eyes of the rejecter, we don’t any more like what we see.

In other words, it’s not a rejection of you, but an assessment, right or wrong, of the perceived differences between you and me. If we keep this in mind, and never allow anyone else that much of control over us that we feel completely devastated when they distance themselves, we might never need “rejection therapy”, an online game that gets you used to being rejected by rejecting you over and over again in hundreds of simulated situations. And just as we value pleasure more when we have experienced pain, or profit more when we have suffered losses, so too do we appreciate the joy of acceptance more when we have mourned the grief of rejection.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/lone-warrior/article4473319.ece             -……………  Unfortunately, society’s penchant for topsy-turvy is still going strong.


We still live in a country of dichotomies. Not least among these is the irony that often, those who spend their lives in training, practice and discipline of various genres of dance are assessed by those who know nothing about the art. As a result, financial support for art is dependent on the whims of such non-aesthetes!

No wonder a celebrated dancer like Astad Deboo speaks of having to search for platforms despite over four decades in the profession. If he finds himself answering the tactless questions of “young marketing geeks” of the corporate world who quiz him about numbers and mileage and try to get the best deal for the money they might invest in his productions, he has also recently declined an invitation to perform at the prestigious Khajuraho Dance Festival because of the “ridiculous kind of money they offer.” He adds, “The sad part is, dancers accept it.”

That, he explains, has been his journey, and he is “not feeling sorry for it.” He takes pride in knowing that “nobody can point a finger and say, ‘He’s there because so-and-so helped him’.”

http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/01/08/12-things-you-should-never-stop-doing/ –  Start doing these things now and never stop…

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/memory-plays-truant/article4324629.ece Memory plays truant – Despite the rising number of people with dementia, awareness of the problem and support for caregivers is abysmal,………….. Where will we get nurses/helpers we can trust and who are also trained in dementia care?

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/crime-and-punishment/article4324619.ece – Guilt and shame, inevitable human emotions that usually serve a constructive purpose, can sometimes assume pathological proportions.    (had  read Crime and Punishment  Fyodor Dostoyevsky – mentioned in this article – eons ago – shud read it again…………..)

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/great-statesmen-great-lovers-of-books/article4303270.ece – The weather and temperature in Kerala imparted a special smell to those magazines. The heat, the golden light coming through the windows, the smell of mangoes and the silence broken only by the tick-tock of a clock on the ground floor: the summer of 62 is a summer never to be forgotten. My passion for reading grew stronger with every passing day. Very soon I agreed with Logan Pearsall Smith, “They say life’s the thing, but I prefer reading.”



Dancing with the divine

The dance I dance becomes more beautiful each day,

When I can open my heart and swing both ways.

To feel for the ones I like and even those I don’t.

What a blessing to be shown,

That I can dance better being connected yet detached.

Involved in the music yet matching step

With the one I’m dancing with.

Being aware of the other’s grip

And of my hold, I was told,

Not to cling tight, but relax.

Yet fear of falling and failing can impede grace.

I also know one can be consumed in the race.

Of getting to some other wonderful place

That promises peace

And I start to relax right now into a space,

Where, my emotions do not make me ill at ease.

And in that softening

I find the opening to slip away

From grips that are hard

And hearts that are cold

The more I dance the less I fear

I glide away from the familiar

And yet it all seems the same

The dance where I twirl

Not afraid to unfurl

Into all my glory

I see myself entwined

Dancing with the divine

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/treasures-of-spain/article4349453.ece –    Massive stone foundations and medieval ruins, dating back two thousand years, lie along the town’s plaza and now serve as a meeting point. The interiors of homes, cafes, restaurants, bars and even banks, are still adorned by Roman arches; their own personal souvenirs from history. The oldest shop that stands in the town dates back to the 1700s, and has been continuing its legacy of selling candles for almost 300 years. The cobbled streets culminate in the colossal Catedral de Tarragona, which is perhaps the only evidence of Moorish influence on the town; Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance eras are equally reflected in the cathedral’s architecture.

The lane with the painted dividers.PhotoS: Shivya Nath

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/blueprint-for-a-life/article4349446.ece  –  Mukund Padmanabhan looks back fondly at his days in the small and unusual Blue Mountain School, Ooty.  ……………was pleased to see “the school beginning to smarten up a bit and the children looking a bit less… wild.” I was extremely pleased to learn that it was Pearce who thought up asthachal , that simple but beautiful practice where children collect on a hillock in the evenings to watch the sun go down in quiet reflection.



Landmark event:(Clockwise from left) An installation by Subodh Gupta; Ibrahim Quraishi's installation titled ‘Islamic Violins'; Artist K. Raghunadhan with his unfinished work; an installation made by students of art design and communication of CEPT University, Gujarat.Photos: H. Vibhu, K.K. Mustafah,Thulasi Kakkat

Landmark event:(Clockwise from left) An installation by Subodh Gupta; Ibrahim Quraishi's installation titled ‘Islamic Violins'; Artist K. Raghunadhan with his unfinished work; an installation made by students of art design and communication of CEPT University, Gujarat.Photos: H. Vibhu, K.K. Mustafah,Thulasi Kakkat

Yuko Hasegawa, chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and currently preparing to host the Sharjah Biennale, expresses the same sentiment. “The city of Kochi with its layers of architectural historicity has definitely been tapped by the project hosts. The biennale has used historical heritage to a very good sequence,” she says, adding that on her first visit itself the biennale gets the viewers right into the different aspects of the city. In most other biennales she feels that the dialogue with the city goes missing.

To commence and continue this dialogue, is what Bose says, has been his main aim. “We have intentionally stressed on the cultural aspect,” he says. Driven by the wish to extricate art from the white cubes and open it up was one factor that comes across in the KMB. The Let’s Talk programme, its Educational Outreach programme, the cultural programmes that include theatre, music, performance arts and so on clearly take art to the people in a way never accessed before.

Chris Dercon, director of Tate Modern, senses that openness when he says: “What IS different is that this biennial functions as a perfect vehicle for ‘performing the difference’: a public friendly ‘diy (Do It Yourself) platform for visual culture’ initiated and organised by artists, with and for artists. As a platform it unites and re-unites Indian contemporary artists who are showing an intellectual and visual ‘togetherness’ as never before. As a visitor, everybody can step in and make up one’s mind.”

Art critic and culture theorist Ranjit Hoskote believes that the curators of the biennale have given credit to an audience ready to accept the changing face of art, showcased here. “Exhibitions, especially biennales, are opportunities to expand one’s mental and experiential horizons as viewers – they should not be reduced to fit the size of one’s assumptions. A great many of the works are geared to affect the viewer at a primal, sensory, sensuous level even before their conceptual strategies came into play – through smell, shadow, sound. Today, viewers are more willing to experiment with new artistic experiences than before.”

Flamenco , Pina bausch etc.

16th Jan , 2013 – – GZ – impressionism vs expressionism……….dark-stark-diagonal lines-post world war1 -low self esteem- easy target of criminals – first speaker -impressive- 2nd one -on dance more expressive , which brings me to the topic of bausch- here expressionism is at once raw and moving – all that dance shud stand for ….but as i saw more of her slides – ballet totally disappears – is that the reason they call it “Tanz  theatre ? ” , i wud prefer her innovativeness but the structure of ballet-   i think  ‘structured rebellion ‘or disciplined rebellion – as paradoxical as it sounds  – is always better than rebel without a form – ‘coz  u atleast give an idea of what form u r revolutionizing – ballet or not – her dance is true dance – free expression of raw emotion – ballet i feel is more emotionally guarded.

Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost!” -Pina Bausch

 8th jan 2013- Learnt  flamenco dance @work shop with  Sheila Schroeder –  Flamenco- SevillaPaseo – grace+passion .

Degas and Ballet

BBC programme –  degas and ballet




La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans
Glyptoteket Degas1.jpg



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