Saturday, 18 June 2016

Dance India Asia Pacific 2016

By Anjana Anand

Day 5: Awards for veterans

The day began with an air of tension and anticipation. The students were getting ready for their performance at Esplanade.The evening at Esplanade began with the DIAP 2016 Annual Awards.

This year the ‘Lifetime Achievemant Award’ went to Kamakshi Jayaraman for her contribution to arts in Singapore for over four decades. Affectionately called ‘maami’ by her students, Kamakshi Jayaraman was hailed as a child prodigy under the tutelage of Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai. Invited to teach in the Temple of Fine Arts, Singapore, she readily came forward and thus began her years of service. Maami received her award in the same unassuming way she has led her life.

The ‘Bharata Kala Mani’ Dance Achievement Award was given to Roshni Pillay for her contribution to the Bharatanatyam scene in Singapore despite her schedule as a medical doctor. A performing artiste, she continues to hone her skills with different gurus.

The Dance India Award was conferred on Kumudini Lakhia and Priyadarsini Govind for the longest association of 14 years since the inception of Milapfest. Kumudini Lakhia spoke about her years of interaction with students and peers and watching the movement grow. Priyadarsini Govind spoke about the joy of returning to the Milapfest family year after year and watch participants maturing and growing over the years.

This year, the shawls presented to the participants and awardees were an aesthetic delight. Ordered specially for the occasion from Kalakshetra Foundation, they received many an admiring eye!

The performance showcased Dance India Asia Pacific alumni featuring the choreography of Priyadasini Govind, Sheejith Krishna and Mythili Prakash and was built into the theme ‘Tanjore- The Golden Age of Bharatanatyam’ led by sutradhar Lakshmi Viswanathan. It was conceived by Aravinth Kumarasamy and scripted by Lakshmi Vishwanathan. What was expected to be an alumni show turned into a visual treat with music by Chitra  Poornima, V. Balakrishnan, Ramanan and Bombay Anand and story telling by Lakshmi Vishwanathan stealing the show. Lakshmi Viswanathan as the Maratha queen Kamakshi Bai, captivated the audience through the history of Bharatanatyam with her tongue in cheek narrations and entertaining story telling. The haunting Marathi song Jaya jaya Durge which was her signature entry was greeted with delight, Hats off to all the participants who made the evening an enjoyable one. 

Speaking about the production, Aravinth Kumarasamy said, "Apsara Arts has been producing many works over the past few years. This production of Tanjore was special because for the first time, we had alumni of Dance India performing. I have always been interested in the history of Tanjore and I wanted to find an interesting way of presenting the story to the audience. I have found over the years that choosing the right artiste takes the production to a different level and I am happy to say that this year each and every dancer and musician rose to the occasion."

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