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Sun, 14 Apr 2019 10 AM - 2 PM
Indian Classical Dance: The Millennial Renaissance
A lecture demonstration followed by a panel discussion with three eminent artistes who have played a pivotal role in shaping Indian dance
Moderated by Anita Ratnam
Panelists: Geeta Chandran, Vyjayanthi Kashi & Madhu Nataraj
The session attempts to delve into the diverse evolutionary aspects of Indian classical dance forms in the last 20 years.
It aims to capture the perspectives of the speakers, regarding the gradually changing landscape of each of their dance forms in the last decades, and discuss the pros and cons of these changes.
‘Indian Classical Dance: The Millennial Renaissance’
10am – 2pm
Ticket price – Rs 250
About the Moderator and Panelists:
Dr. Anita R Ratnam – Moderator
Dr Anita R Ratnam, based in Chennai (Madras) , India, is highly respected as a performer, writer, speaker and arts entrepreneur and culture mentor. She has been described as an “intersectionist”, whose work weaves the many disciplines of dance, theatre, spoken word, ritual, archaeology, dramaturgy and women’s issues. For over 40 years, her distinguished career has witnessed over 1000 performances in 27 countries. Her formal training in Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam and Kathakali has given Dr Ratnam a distinctive movement vocabulary that she has named NEO BHARATAM – a contemporary Indian kinetic situated on a mature body. Using voice, singing, Vedic hymns, drumming, contemporary mythology and devised movements, her acclaimed choreographies include SEVEN GRACES, MA3KA, A MILLION SITAS, NEELAM and STONE.
Dr Ratnam served as a member of the Executive Board of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s largest apex body for the performing arts, and the ICCR, India’s Government panel to select performers for international tours, a fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a voting member of the Dance Critics Association, USA. She is a visiting professor in several international universities in the USA. She is also a professional storyteller, specializing in epic stories. She served as Vice President of ABHAI from 2014 to 2018
As a cultural entrepreneur, Ratnam has founded Narthaki.com, ,the largest portal on Indian dance on the world wide web and restored the 15th century theatre ritual performance of KAISIKA NATAKAM in her ancestral village temple of Tirukurungudi in Tamilnadu. She has also conceived, produced and curated numerous conferences and dance festivals for 25 years; the most notable are THE OTHER FESTIVAl, India’s first annual contemporary dance festival, and international dance and theatre seminars MAD AND DIVINE (2101) , EPIC WOMEN (2012) AND PURUSH (2013).
In 2016, she received two prestigious awards – International Arts Award – Vishwa Kala Ratna – by UK-based MilapFest – the award, was conferred on Dr. Ratnam for her sterling contribution towards NARTHAKI.COM, a dance portal that has been chronicling, commenting and critiquing the many worlds of Indian dance and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award – Akademi Puraskar for Contemporary Dance for 2016.
Dr. Anita Ratnam has been a frequent panelist and speaker at Literature and Theatre festivals engaging via performance, presentations, workshops and panels on women writers, historians and social innovators. She recently spoke at Madras University at a graduate seminar on gender-performance-identity. She also addressed students at Mumbai University.
She has a PhD in Women’s Studies from Mother Teresa University, and studied Dance History at Kalakshetra. She has been a visiting professor and artiste at Wesleyan University, University of California Irvine, Barnard College, Fordham University in the USA and Hope Liverpool University in the UK.
(Padmashri) Geeta Chandran Dancer/Choreographer – Panelist
A celebrated artist and a star-performer, GeetaChandran is synonymous with the Indian classical dance: Bharatanatyam. She began learning Bharatanatyam from the tender age of 5 years under the tutelage of Smt. SwarnaSaraswathy, who hailed from the traditional Thanjavoordevadasiparampara. Subsequently, Geeta continued learning diverse aspects of the classical dance from a galaxy of eminent Gurus.
Today she is a renowned artist who has synthesised the knowledge she received from her Gurus to imprint Bharatanatyam with her personal vision of the dance. In her dance presentations GeetaChandran skilfully weaves abstract notions of Joy, Beauty, Values, Aspirations, Myth and Spirituality.
Geeta is celebrated not only for her deep and composite understanding of the art of Bharatanatyam, but also for her Carnatic music (she is a trained and accomplished vocalist), her work in television, video and film, theatre, choreography, dance education, dance activism and dance-issue journalism.
Founder-President of Natya-Vriksha, an organization devoted to promoting Bharatanatyam, Geeta has evolved a holistic style of teaching the classical dance which engages young learners. She has presented the arangetrams (debut performance) of 30 senior disciples who continue their training under her and she continues to mentor over one hundred disciples; several of her students have blossomed as full-fledged performers.
GeetaChandran is also Artistic Director of the NatyaVriksha Dance Company, known for the high aesthetic quality of its group presentations.
Geeta has constantly striven to create new spaces for the classical dancer of today. She has continuously attempted to push the frontiers of the classical art and to reach out to new, and especially young, audiences. Geeta believes that dance must be linked to life and that artists must use their unique position in society to make a difference to life and living. Her choreographies HER VOICE and IMAGINING PEACE articulated her conviction that dance can be a vehicle to build social bridges. Her widely acclaimed dance-theatre production KAIKEYI and her choreographies on the themes of DRUGS have thrown the spotlight on issues of social stigma. Her 2008 work — MYTHOLOGIES RETOLD — addresses the social curse of female feticide. She is also known for using classical Bharatanatyam to amplify gender and environmental issues.
An A-Top graded dancer at Doordarshan and at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Geeta has been recipient of both the Junior and Senior Research Fellowships from the Government of India’s Department of Culture. She is recipient of several awards including the Lady Shri Ram College Illustrious Alumna Award, the DandayudhapaniPillai Award, the Bharat Nirman Award, the NatyaIlavarasi, the Indira Priyadarshini Award, the Media India Award, the National Critics Award, the Sringar Mani and the NatyaRatna.
She has travelled all over the world with her performances and has danced at many prestigious dance festivals in India and abroad. In 2007, she was invited to perform at the World Hindi Conference in New York, and then again to represent India at the India-60 celebrations at the Lincoln Centre in New York.
Geeta is associated with several NGOs and charitable organizations raising resources for valuable causes, among them peace, environment and peace. She is well-known for her association with philanthropic causes, and has presented innumerable performances to raise funds for worth social causes. She is most especially identified with gender issues and poverty. Her recent work showcasing the horror of female feticide through dance has won her renewed praise. Geeta has authored a book SO MANY JOURNEYS, an intensely personal collection of her writings narrating her engagement with Bharatanatyam. In April 2009, in her book entitled Dynamic Women Dancers (Women’s Hall of Fame series) Canadian author Anne Dublin listed GeetaChandran as one of ten global “all time great dancers”.
A widely respected role model for the young generation, Geeta is on the Board of reputed educational institutions of India, both schools and colleges. She has also been nominated as a Board Member of India’s National Film Censor Board. She engages in the widest range of dance-related activities: performing, teaching, conducting, singing, collaborating, organizing, writing and speaking to new youth audiences.
In recognition of her vast and varied contribution to Bharatanatyam, Geeta was awarded the prestigious national award — the Padma Shri — by the President of India in 2007.
Vyjayanthi Kashi – Panelist
Vyjayanthi Kashi is an Indian Classical Dancer, a kuchipudi Exponent. Kuchipudi is one of the Indian classical dance forms from Andhra Pradesh, India. She is from the family of Dr Gubbi Veeranna who was an Indian theatre director, one of the pioneers and most prolific contributors to Kannada theatre. He established the drama company, Gubbi Veeranna Nataka Company that played a crucial role in promoting the Kannada theatre. Smt.Vyjayanthi Kashi is a reputed kuchipudi dancer,a celebrated performer and choreographer and artistic director of a dance school Shambhavi School of Dance where they teaches this traditional dance form kuchipudi. She was also the chairperson of Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academy
Later at a point of time when she felt that this is not what she wants, the same time she met Kuchipudi guru C.R. Acharya who came to the town. In an interview she quoted this became turning pint of her life.She started dancing Kuchipudi again at the age of 30. Having had her training in Indian Classical Dance forms Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Temple Ritual Dances from an early age under legendary Gurus like Late Guru C R Acharya, Late Vedantham Prahalada Sarma, Padmashree Vedantham Satyanarayana Sharma, Bharathakala Prapoorarna, Korada Narasimha Rao and others she has proved a DYNAMIC FORCE in KUCHIPUDI.
She is celebrated not only for her deep and composite understanding of the art of Kuchipudi, but also as an actress on television and theatre and her work as a choreographer, dance-educator and dance-therapist.
Over her extensive career, her work has been featured in several international festivals, including the International Kuchipudi Convention USA, Milap Fest Uk, Oriental Dance Festival Germany, Festival of India in Africa, India Film Festival in Malaga, Appan Dance Festival in Korea, Olympic Festival in Italy, International Kannada Convention at Los Angeles, International Dance & Music Festival in Egypt, Malta, Tunisia, Karmiel Dance Festival in Israel and many more. She has given lecture-demonstration and conducted workshops in many universities in the US, Italy, Germany, Italy, Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Berlin, Australia, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, and many other countries.
Unfettered by anything but DANCE, today She is an iconoclast in the field of dance.She is a dance-bridge between the pristine classical style of Kuchipudi and more contemporary aesthetic.She serves on the Arts and Cultural committee of the Ministry of Tourism and culture, Govt of India. Over her extensive career, her work has been featured in several international festivals.
Madhu Nataraj – Panelist
Performer, choreographer, educator and arts entrepreneur – Madhu believes dance is a potent medium for transformation.
She trained in Kathak from her mother Dr Maya Rao and from Smt. Chitra Venugopal. Her ‘Taalim’ (training) from her mother lays special emphasis on the ‘Bhaav’ or ‘Abhinaya’ (Expressional motif) aspect, ‘Kathavaachak’ (Narrative content) and the poetry of the form.
Madhu studied Contemporary dance in New York and returned with a vision to create a unique dance company with its own distinctive contemporary Indian identity – the Natya STEM Dance Kampni.
In recognition of her exceptional contribution to the world of dance, Madhu has been chosen as one among India’s 50 Young Achievers by ‘India Today’.
She has received the ‘Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar’ from the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, the FICCI Flo Women Achievers award and the Mohan Khokar Award for excellence in Dance to mention a few.
With over 150 choreographies to her credit, her work is unparalleled in its design and execution. She is a panelist at important design, cultural, philanthropic, corporate and academic organizations and has performed, curated events in over 36 countries.
Apart from STEM Dance Kampni, Madhu also heads the Natya Institute of Kathak & Choreography by legendary pioneers- Dr Maya Rao and Smt Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay & has just launched the MayaMadhu Kampni Arts Trust to benefit the performing arts community in rural & Urban India.