By Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan
DANCE INDIA Asia Pacific 2013, jointly organised by Apsaras Arts Ltd and MilapFest, UK, in collaboration with Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and supported by Singapore’s National Arts council was inaugurated on 4 June 2013 at Goodman Arts Centre. After a briefing session for the delegates, the inauguration function, which had an audience ranging from diplomats to artistes and art lovers, kicked off with a Shanmuga Kavuthuvam presented by students of Dance India 2012. After a welcome address by K. Kesavapani, Singapore’s Ambassador to Jordan, Prashant Nayak, Founder and Director, MilapFest, UK, took us through the journey of MilapFest from its inception to where it stands today. After the traditional lighting of the lamp by dignitaries, the guest of honour for the evening Dr. Ma Swan Hoo, spoke of the beauty and grace associated with Indian dance. ‘Lifetime Achievement awards’ and the title of ‘Natya Acharya Mani’ were then conferred upon two distinguished members of the dance fraternity—Vasantha Kasinath and Usharani Maniam—for their contribution to dance in Singapore. The evening’s function included an introduction of the faculty and a performance titled Nataraja Dhyanam by Mohanapriyan Thavarajah. The gathering dispersed for a reception of sumptuous food and networking.