January 25, 2008

The Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD) was established in 1977 at Delhi to awaken the dormant cultural scene and to nourish the art sensitivity of the citizens. At that time there were hardly 3-4 institutions in Delhi. The centre not only undertook training in dance but also insisted on its students to learn yoga,Sanskrit Slokas and many aspect of Indian cultural traditions. Center’s focus has been on creating solo dancers with special emphasis on stamina, abhinay, and ang-shuddha (clean and powerful body lines).CICD has given India a number of solo Bharatnatyam and Odissi dancers who have made a name in India and abroad.

Sonal Mansingh begun her Annual January event 28 years ago slated around India’s Republic Day. She presented a new idea in a new repertory each year. Over the years audiences around Delhi have learned to wait for artistic creations with the assurance of extra ordinary creative inputs.

Sonal Mansingh’s unique style of dancing is a blend of highly intellectual mind and a firm foundation in the ever fresh traditions of India coupled with acute awareness of contemporary trends and expectations. Thus she becomes a true representative of “Parampara”-a tradition that is constantly on the move.

Her dance recitals always showcase her superb incomparable skills as a dancer, narrator and communicator.

ADBHUTAM – Life is a Miracle

January 25, 2008

Man seeks miracles to believe in anything. Belief does not arise out of the ordinary but out of extra ordinary, or so we think. But when one begins to understand the life-processes one is astonished to find that miracles are happening all around and within one self all the time. The ability to recognize this itself can be termed miraculous and in the language of philosophy and Yoga this is known as Atma-Gyan. For that matter the fact that one can pump life into the body with each inhalation of breath and throw out toxins with exhalation itself is a miracle.

Then there are those miraculous happening which do not remain hidden in one’s own immediate surroundings but find wide recognition due to their incredibly miraculous nature. These invariably have invoked ex-pressions of wonderment, surprise and mystique down centuries – the sentiment collectively experienced becomes “ADBHUTAM” , aesthetic of incredulous about wonderful shock.

“ADBHUTAM” based on two incidents from the lives of two great Krishna-devotees illustrate this point. They are Jayadeva (12th century Orissa), the hindu author of Gita-Govindam and Raskhan (16th century Muslim poet from Delhi and then living in Vrindavan) author of innumerable verses soaked with deep devotion to Krishna. Both experienced the inexplicable miracle of realising His presence. I believe, each one of us has been given the opportunity to realise THE presence. Those fortunate to relish it experience the Adbhutam. Rests are left floundering in the vast ocean of the trivial and mundane. Come experience “ ADBHUTAM” on 25th January,2008- 7.00 p.m. at India Habitat Centre.

What will rid us of our apathy?

November 30, 2007

“The more things change the more they remain the same”. Images of a boot firmly planted on a cowering young girl’s face, almost crushing. It was not from a Russian Gulag where thousands perished in the cruelly cold Siberian winters and inhuman living conditions meted out by their own countryman after the communist revolution. Nor was it from Hitler’s infamous concentration camps. The image belonged to our own land, to Guwahati in Assam of 2007, where for centuries woman has been at the head of social ladder, presiding over matrilineal social order and the city where the supreme symbol of cosmic power and creation draws millions of devotees from every corner of the world. There he mighty, the rich, the famous and powerful fall to their knees in utter humanity and do obeisance to Devi Kamakhya. Most leaders from today’s political and business world have regular pooja done as well as pay regular visits to the temple situated on the hill called Neelachal. And bang in the shadow of this holy temple a young girl found alone and trembling in fear is spotted, booted, dragged out, dishonoured, disrobed and made run naked through the main road of Assam’s capital city, a road just outside the State Secretariat. She is beaten and chased by a jeering mob of lustful men, griming from ear to ear, eyes wide with demonic frenzy and wild excitement. Read the rest of this entry »

The money mantra

November 19, 2007

Many years ago the beautiful doyenne of Indian cinema Devika Rani saw my ‘Aarangetram’ — debut performance sanctioned and arranged by the Guru at Bangalore. Next day she sent me a ‘Batua’, woven cloth-puch with a silver box containing kumkum and fresh kanak-champa flowers, the yellow champa with divine fragrance. There was a letter for me, which contained this un-forgettable sentence, “you are a born dancer, make this your yoga, and strive harder everyday.” These simple but poignant words may have embedded in my sub-conscious as did my grandfather’s admonition of never treating dance as business. In today’s mood and situation such ideals and values may not have a significant place. Indeed they could be considered passé, old-fashioned, unnecessary and anti-progress. Read the rest of this entry »

Fusion is the new mantra

November 5, 2007

A fusion of Hindustani classical music and wind ensemble from the Netherlands was the highlight of the evening reception organised at the residence of the Netherlands ambassador in honour of their visiting Queen Beatrix and her son and daughter-in-law. The visiting musicians had worked their way to playing symphony of ragas like Bhairavi and Shuddha-Sarang in tandem or at counterpoint to the Indian musicians. But it was surprising to note the inability of Indians to blend the two systems seamlessly just as the Dutch had done successfully during the long evening of music. As it is, producing Indian-style gamakas and sargams (mode of rendition and patterns of melody) is a difficult proposition, more so on European wind instruments like oboe, clarinet, flute, saxophone and horn among others. That the Dutch were able to do so effortlessly, that too at a galloping tempo, was truly astonishing and drew enthusiastic and prolonged applause. Right from the entry of the formally attired Dutch musicians in serrated rows, playing tattoos on dafli and tambourine with sighs and sound emanations coupled with a lurch and lunge at surprised members in the audience to the joyous and vibrant climax of each section, wit and humour were in happy conjunction with wonderful music. Each musician was also an actor but the transitions from light-hearted vignettes of a group creating rhythms on cow-bells or on a table or producing mnemonic syllables while reading a magazine to taking positions with their respective instruments to start making serene music was a lesson in easy perfection and group discipline. It made for a visually and orally interesting evening which reinforced the idea of good fusion even if one element was stronger. Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.