Song of Surrender

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Dance India Asia Pacific 2016

Day 6

Tamil folk dance and  Kumudini Lakhia’s journey

As the camp drew to its last few days, it was pleasant to see students interact freely with faculty exchanging ideas and clearing their doubts.

The folk dance module was a refreshing addition to Dance India.

V Balasubramaniam from Tiruchi took the participants through folk ‘adavus’ or the basics of ritual folk dance, martial arts form and community dance. He explained the origins of the Tamil folk arts.

Kumudini Lakhia was her effervescent self and her passion for her art was evident as she spoke of her journey in dance. She said, “At one point, I was so full of technique, chakkars and pirouettes that I realized I had lost my dance.”  Her advent into choreography was a venture undertaken to fulfil her restless and questioning mind.

50 years after establishing Kadamb (her Kathak academy), Lakhia is still creating and innovating. True to her free spirit, she said “I tell my students that they are ready when they can be completely independent of me. That means that they fly from the nest with only knowledge and not the crutches of a guru’s name or constant mollycoddlying.”

The evening came to a close with an evening of Kathak at the Esplanade entitled “Reflections” featuring Sanjukta Sinha and Kadamb dancers presenting Kumudini Lakhia’s choreography. The dancers stunned the audience with their virtuosity and elegance.

Day 7

Time for selfies and tears!

The last day of the classes saw an abundance of tears, selfies and autographs.

The book reading in the afternoon showcased the life and work of K. P Bhaskar – one of the pioneers of the arts in Singapore. A Kathakali artiste who introduced this art form in Singapore, he and his wife Santa have established their school Bhaskar Arts Academy where many Indian classical dance forms and music are taught.

Prof. C.V Chandrasekhar’s presentation on Anga Suddham in Dance threw up many interesting ideas. He said that the first step to anga suddham was understanding your body and its limitations, as there was no golden rule applicable to all dancers. Applying the nuances of movement requires keen observation and experimentation. He told the audience, “You are your best teacher.”

Ratikanth Mohapatra spoke about Kelucharan Mohapatra – his late father and guru. He traced his life which began as a worker in the betel fields and culminated with the second highest honour for an artiste in India – the Padma Bhushan. A consummate artiste who was a musician and dancer, Kelucharan Mohapatra used all his life experience in his art. He was one of the main gurus of Odissi who came together in the 1950s and codified the repertoire. An extraordinary artiste and human being, his legacy is carried on around the world by his disciples and followers.

The evening ended with a talk by Professor Chandrasekhar at the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society on poetry, dance and music.

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