Tributes to GURUS : Nartanam special edition releases at SPANDAN 2016

A blessing to have had stalwarts of Indian Art and Culture on SPANDAN 2016 for release of special issues of Nartanam Dance Journal on Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Dr Padma Subrahmaniam and Sri Avinash Pasricha by Prof Lokesh Chandra (President ICCR). The Amaltas Hall at IHC was packed with eminent scholars, dancers, gurus, photographers and rasiks.

Tributes to GURUS : Nartanam special edition releases at SPANDAN 2016

The evening was anchored by Ms Indira Ganesh.

It was very kind of Sri Raghuraman to play “Vataapi Ganapatim” on his soulful flute to start the evening, as the chief guest was a triffle late. It was blessing!

Tributes to GURUS : Nartanam special edition releases at SPANDAN 2016

Indira invited Dr. Sunil Kothari, scholar and dance critic, who conceived the evening to share about the chief guest, Prof Lokesh Chandra. Indeed we were blessed to have him, for his sheer depth of research on various aspects of culture, language and heritage. He extensively recited Sanskrit shlokas and also shared stories from his journey to the Oriental lands of Japan and China. Dr. Sunil Kothari felicitated Prof Lokesh Chandra.

Madhavi Puranam, editor Nartanam, humbly invited scholars Dr. Sunil Kothari, Mrs Manjri Sinha, Mrs. Leela Venkataraman, Sri Avinash Pasricha on stage. Prof Lokesh Chandra felicitated the scholars and also released the special issues of Nartanam. Unfortunately Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan was indisposed with a fall, and could not make it. Prof Lokesh Chandra unveiled the book on Art and Aesthetics written by Madhavi Puranam.

Tributes to GURUS : Nartanam special edition releases at SPANDAN 2016

Mrs Leela Venkataraman and Mrs Manjari Sinha shared their insights into the effort being taken by Madhavi in running the journal Nartanam, to deliver the issues month after month for the last 15 years. Indeed a commendable work and service to the art forms.

Tributes to GURUS : Nartanam special edition releases at SPANDAN 2016

Tributes to GURUS : Nartanam special edition releases at SPANDAN 2016

The evening culminated with a divine performance by Bharatanatyam Danseuese Rama Vaidyanathan. It was a humble gesture on part of Ramaji to gracefully accede to our request to perform. Smt Sudha Raghuraman with her divine vocals accompanied by Sri Raghuraman added to the divinity of the evening.

I humbly thank Mr. Veenu Pasricha for clicking these photographs.


Sreeni’s first book of the year : Contributing to “Indian Classical Dance – The Renaissance and Beyond” by Smt. Leela Venkataraman, noted dance critic

Indian Classial Dance - The Renaissance and Beyond

This year’s first book with my contributions, along with those of Sri Avinash Pasricha ji: The latest defining work of Smt Leela Venkataraman, noted dance critic, “Indian Classical Dance, The Renaissance and Beyond”, features quite a few photo-captures of various classical dance forms and exponents by SREENI (in all about 80+ captures were shortlisted by the publishers, how many in there?);

Hope to have a bumper year in 2015 too; last two years I had half a dozen books, published… education, innovation and technology and travel apart from performing arts…

THE HINDU – Friday Review on dance by Leela ji features Sreeni’s photos

Celebrated dance critique Mrs Leela Venkataraman’s weekly review on dance performances in the capital, titled WINDS OF EXCHANGE was embellished with Sreeni’s two photographs – that of Kathak and Ballet confluence – Fragments of dreams, and the other is of the FLAMENCO performance by the troupe from SPAIN as part of the festival, CONNECTIONS by Indo-French choreographer Rukmini Chatterjee.

The HIndu Friday Review March 28, 2014 2

Rukmini chatterjee;s fragments of Dreams

Rukmini chatterjee;s fragments of Dreams

Fragrments of Dreams - Rukmini chatterjee's Concept, Sanjukta Sinha's soulful execution with Anuj and Fernando

SPANDAN : curtain raiser on Rajya Sabha TV and Complete recordings

The Curtain Raiser of SPANDAN introducing the three dancers – Nikolina, Carolina and Nitisha Nanda appeared on Rajya Sabha TV. The complete program is scheduled to come any time in the near future.

If you wish to watch, here they are, as captured by my film team –

Nikolina’s Bharatanatyam – Bho Shambho

Carolina’s Chau – Nataraja

Nitisha’s Odissi – Jayadeva’s Shiva Stuthi

Quincy Kendll Charles’ Kathak – Taal Damaar

Paola Santa Cruz’s Flamenco

Nikolina’s Ballet

Carolina’s Columbian Cumbria dance

Nitisha’s Egyptian Classical Belly dance

The first segment of the SPANDAN world dance evening had an interactive session with Eminent photographer Shri Avinash Pasricha anchored by Mrs Leela Venkataraman, eminent dance critic and Mrs Geeta Chandran, celebrated Bharatanatyam dancer.

I loved conceiving this unique festival and bringing it to you. Looking forward to bettering it every year. Kindly leave your feedback so as to help me.

Love and regards.

SPANDAN featured in the THE HINDU this friday – ‘Everything thrown in the mix’ by Mrs Leela Venkataraman

Cross-genre performances and a discussion on classical dance’s new contexts marked World Dance Day

World Dance Day, little known till just a few years ago, has today assumed a prominent presence with celebrations across the board featuring cross-cultural dance events. Natya Vriksha’s annual Young Dancers’ Festival for this occasion had its open-house seminar built round the theme of “What is classical anymore?” with Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan chairing the session and summing up with her keynote address. Rajiv Chandran in his introduction referred to the challenges in India’s classical arts, evolving for years in a cyclical society, now confronted with a linearity where the scramble for change and being different have cut into the in-depth approach required in these art forms.

Dancer-teacher Jamuna Krishnan talked of how Bharatanatyam had been preserved for years — with the firm realisation that one cannot play with the grammar of the form. The itemised approach today with the margam inertia has forgotten that the prana of the dance has to be kept intact. Manipuri guru Singhajit Singh bemoaned the exhibitionistic nature of performance art, which was losing the meditative strength of forms like Nata Sankirtan, the very soul of classical Manipuri. Geeta Chandran, founder president of Natya Vriksha, wondered if in a climate where the economics of dance are skewed, she could in all fairness ask even her really talented students to take up dance as a fulltime career. The intelligent and articulate young dancers Anvesha Mahanta (Sattriya dancer, disciple of Ghanakant Bora), Sneha Chakradhar (disciple of Geeta Chandran) and Swati Sinha (disciple of Kathak guru Rajendra Gangani), very briefly voiced the challenges of making their respective classical dance forms relevant to the compulsions of the present, rather than what constituted classical dance. Kapila Vatsyayan in her brief address referring to the dialectics between performers and audience in a changing spatial-cultural context, maintained that the ultimate decision remained with the dancer not to make compromises with the classical dance form and to aim at “transcending the body through the body” — reaching out for the formless through the form. Varied responses from the audience made for a lively session. That the grammar and rigour of classical dance and the body as instrument were only means to an end — beyond the individual and market concerns — needed to be understood.

Kalamandalam Sangeeth Chakyar’s Koodiyattam excerpt showing Ravana, from “Torana Yuddham”, was an eye-opener in the Nirvahanam sequence, where Ravana reminisces on his encounter with Shiva and his lifting of Mount Kailash, with a frightened Parvati, setting aside her jealousy of Ganga lodged in Shiva’s locks, running to Shiva for protection — bringing to a happy end the misunderstanding between the divine couple. Parvati’s suspicious queries about tiny strands of hair, of a pair of eyes, of eyebrows, of breasts, are sought to be explained away by Shiva as a swarm of bees, as darting fish, as waves in water, and as a pair of chakravaka birds, respectively. Brilliant in the alternate roles of Shiva and Parvati in the narrative, Sangeeth Chakyar’s abhinaya prowess, heightened by the bhav-packed resonance of the mizhavu with the percussionists seated behind him, made for a rare treat. The promising artiste was greeted with standing applause at the finish.

Swati Sinha’s Kathak, after a vibrant Durga stuti showing “Ashtabhujadharini Ambai”’ and “Vrindavasini”, proceeded to a fine Dhamar presentation, where authoritative precision kept pace with grace. The crazy movement of the bols ‘tithigata gadigina dha’ in the paran, the bedam tihai, and later the Holi gat in drut laya with a kavit were all gems of virtuosity with sensuous appeal. In “Aaj rakho mori laaj Keshav”, introduced as Guru Rajendra Gangani’s poetry, in which the Draupadi vastrapaharan episode became a metaphor for the assault on women today, the dancer was convincing. But the unimaginative music needs to evolve.

At the Azad Bhavan, Shovana Narayan’s Asavari celebrated World Dance Day with her students in an Ashta Nayika presentation visualised with vasakasajja set to seven matras, virahotkanthita in nine matras, swaadheenapatika in 10 matras, kalahantarita in 11, khandita in 12, vipralabdha in 13and proshitapatika in 16 matras. The interpretative passages were generously interspersed with nritta sequences, performed with joy and clean profile by the disciples. The music, more in the ghazal freewheeling mode, had mishra ragas. The abhinaya of the students needs to evolve. For instance, the khandita in “Kaheko mere ghar aye ho” in Sohini needed more anger along with the anguish.

Rushing across from Azad Bhavan to the India Habitat Centre, one caught the last half hour of Shallu Jindal’s high-profile Kuchipudi performance for a packed auditorium. Shallu’s nritta in the tarangam, woven into the finale of the tarana in Natabhairavi composed by the late Ravi Shankar, was sufficient proof of a finished dancer, the rhythmic combinations in the plate dance spelt out with clarity and accuracy. She is emerging as one of the prime disciples of the Reddys. Aditi Shelva, with her Hindustani training, sang the tarana with melodious control. Pranab Joshi on tabla, Annadorai on violin, Javed Khan on sitar and Bhasker Rao on mridangam, with Kaushalya Reddy’s nattuvangam, combined well.

Cross-cultural celebration

Symbolising the World Dance Day spirit in all its cross-cultural bonhomie was “Spandan” at India Habitat Centre, visualised by R. Sreenivasan, co-founder of Career Launcher. Starting with “Dance Through My Lens”, an interaction with photographer Avinash Pasricha, the evening presented an entertaining blend of dances. Along with Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s “Bho Shambho” in Revati presented in Bharatanatyam with the sculptured majesty of frozen stances, Nicolina Nicoleski from Croatia also presented with grace a ballet “Lakme” based on music by French composer Leodibes. A disciple of Mayurbhanj Chhau guru Janmejay Sai Babu, Columbian Carolina Prada’s “Nataraj” was a clean winner. With its demanding balance in one-legged stances, including the Nagabandha freeze, movement rendered at a very slow pace, the performance saw the dancer highlight with crystal clarity the opposing tranquil and tandav manifestations of the deity — one benign and the other evil-destroying. The same dancer later presented a Columbian folk dance “Cumbia” with a partner, the frilled swirling skirt creating entertaining geometry, followed by a sword play of coffee planters, a dandia-cum-fencing piece danced with sticks. Nitisha Nanda first presented an Odissi rendition based on Ravana’s Shiva Stotram (the music in a chanted recitation in strong metre) done with clean technique and expressional enthusiasm, but with a tendency for foot contact fractionally faster than what the music warranted. She later went on to present superb belly dancing! A disciple of Meher Mallik, Nitisha, undoubtedly gifted, must take care to preserve the sanctity of the two very different movement forms in their own respective spheres. Paola Santa Cruz presented Flamenco ‘Salon’ with plaintive sadness and lively Tan, concluding with Buleria with a group, providing a glimpse of the exuberant participation, with syncopated hand clapping. Quincy Kendell Charles from Trinidad and Tobago, now under the training of Prerana Shrimali, the Kathak dancer-teacher, gave an immaculate presentation of Dhamar, the 14-matra cycle both in footwork patterns and bandishes very competently rendered. With a packed Stein auditorium, the cosmopolitan audience encouraging every move, the evening was a great success.

SPANDAN – Previews and Reviews in media of Sreeni’s 10-day World Dance Festival @ IHC



All previews and reviews being listed here for every ones benefit. My humble gratitude for all facilitators and well wishers who have made it happen. Love. Sreeni

The preview of SPANDAN, celebration of human spirit, in the form of dance appears in FIRST CITY. A 10-day festival of dance with

a. 16 large format dance photographic installations of 9ft X 9ft – all visual treats from Srinivasan Ramakrishnan 10 years of dance photography

Here is the link to my FLICKR photostream of the photographic installations of SPANDAN, that lasted 10 days

SPANDAN, Sreeni's Photo Exhbition

b. An evening of WORLD DANCE on May 3rd with three masters – Sri Avinash Pasricha, renowned dance photographer in a discussion with Eminent dance critic Mrs Leela Venkataraman and Celebrated Bharatanatyam dancer Ms Geeta Chandran

This was followed by five brilliant dancers performing eight forms in the overflowing Stein Auditorium of IHC

– Nikolina Nikoleski (Bharatanatyam and Ballet) Croatia
– Carolina Prada (Chhau and Cumbria) colombia
– Nitisha Nanda (Odissi and Belly Dancing) India
– Quincy Kendell Charles (Kathak) Trinidad and Tobago
– Flamenco Paola Santa Cruz (Flamenco) Peru

and culminated on May 5th with an evening of Drums and Music.

Here is the link to my FLICKR photostream of the evening of WORLD DANCE

Just a beginning. Many more to come. Thanks to all dancers, gurus in my life who have showered their blessings and, IHC and Career Launcher (CL Educate) for making it happen.


In The Hindu

In The Indian Express

On the respected website for dance anchored by Eminent dancer Ms Anita R Ratnam

In business Standard

On habitat world listing

On Priya Lasya’s blog

Also appeared in WHATs HOT of The Times of India


In The Pioneer, by sri Utpal Banerjee–the-tandava.html

In The Deccan Herald, by Ms Henna Rakheja

In THE HINDU, by Mrs Leela Venkataraman

This whole week/month, I look forward to many more reviews. THE SUNDAY INDIAN of the next week and many many more…

Also SPANDAN appears on NDTV, DD Bharati and DD Rajya Sabha TV. Will post the links if they appear on YOUTUBE ore else where.

SPIC MACAY 25th National Convention in Media : Photos taken by me adding some value to the articles

Well-known Art and dance critiques Mrs. Manjari Sinha, Mrs Leela Venkataraman and Mr. Ravinder Sharma attended the Spic Macay national convention at IIT, Kanpur early this month. Manjari ji contributes to various dailies, including The Statesman and Jansatta, while Leela ji contributes regularly to The Hindu among other magazines. Ravinderji also contributes to a few Hindi Dailies. It was very gracious of them to seek photos from me for accompanying their articles in the various publications and I hope it added some value to the articles. Here I am enclosing the scanned copies and links of various newspapers wherein photos of the convention taken by me have appeared. Thanks to all the three for co-opting me in their endeavour.

Manjari ji’s articles in The Statesman and Jansatta are here..

Manjari Sinha on SPIC MACAY Convention in The Statesman

Celebration of Indian Art and Culture at SPIC MACAY National Convention 2010

SPIC MACAY Convention article in Jansatta by Ms Manjari Sinha

Celebration of Indian art and culture at SPIC MACAY National Convention 2010

Leelaji’s article in The Hindu is linked herewith..

The Hindu : Arts : Splendid saga

If you happen to see any other article on the SPIC MACAY national convention, kindly let me know to include here.


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