Cultural resonance – Manjari Sinha ji covers SPANDAN in her Statesman column

Manjari Sinha
| 02 June, 2016


The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) celebrated Africa Day on 26 May at the Azad Bhavan Auditorium. The theme India-Africa: Bound Together highlighted Africa’s diversity, success, economic potential and cultural resonance with India. The celebration comprised a panel discussion, a week-long exhibition of African costumes, paintings and artefacts, a food festival of Afican cuisine and a cultural programme.

The cultural programme opened with lively songs by the Capital City Minstrels, New Delhi, but the talented troupe from the Kingdom of Lesotho stole the show with the multi-talented African ensemble Likakapa Africa, which literally means The Legends or Crème de la crème. The lively performances by the renowned ensemble were a blend of Famo Music, Afro-Jazz, Hip Hop; that established an instant rapport with the audience. Unable to resist the vibrant rhythm and the contagious zest of the African music and dance, many were seen whistling and dancing in front of the stage.

Likakapa had two major Famo artists Rabots’o le Semanyane and Lebohang Lets’ohla, who led most of the songs backed by Tom Rakoti, the Afro-Jazz artist, and Molibeli Mokake who was both a Hip-Hop performer and a Rapper. The ensemble presented the unique stylistic music and dance, commonly seen in the streets of major towns and villages of Lesotho.

The Spandan-World Dance Evening at the India Habitat Centre the same evening, was the enthusiastic culmination of  a month long Festival of the Performing Arts and an ambitious exhibition of dance photographs, curated by R Srinivasan in the open spaces of the Habitat World on the occasion of the World Dance Day. 

 Celebrating the infinite potential in umpteen varieties of dance forms, Spandan showcased a spectacular melange of dance forms from Indian classical dances like Odissi by Arushi Mudgal, Bharatanatyam by Suhail Bhan and Kathak by Irina from Russia to contemporary dance by Neha Sharma of Sadhya, Jazz by Danceworx, Hip-Hop by the Quake Crew, Flow Art by Eshna Kutty, Tajik dance by Naseeba from Tajikistan and a mesmerising Folk Fusion by Nitisha Nanda from Banjara. The over-packed Stein Auditorium resounded with thunderous applause at the end of this extravaganza of dance, conceived by R Srinivasan of Spandan, created by Indira Ganesh and anchored by their 13-year-old talented daughter Mallika. 

Humkadam-2016 by Rachana Yadav Kathak Studio.

Rachana Yadav Kathak Studio presented Navagraha for their annual event Humkadam-2016, at the Epicentre. Based on the Hindu astrological science that says the nine celestial bodies, or Navagrahas, affect our character with their typical characteristics, when close to us, Rachana most imaginatively conceived and choreographed Navagraha, incorporating the entire repertoire of Kathak  through different groups of students portraying different Grahas, according to the characteristics of these Grahas matching the maturity or the age group of her students.

Opening with Navagraha Stuti, an ode to the nine celestial bodies, the programme started with the youngest age group, the twinkling stars, in “Jagmag deep jale…” with the basic Hastakas and simple Tode Tukde based on Sargam.

Navagraha took off with Brihaspati, the Graha for knowledge and longevity, with Guru Vandana. Venus, that stands for the feminine grace, was presented next, by a young adult batch dressed like delicate “Abhisarika Nayikas” on Shyam Kalyan Bandish “Sundar sej sanvar ke…”, interspersed with  Aamad, Tode, Tukde, Parans and Chakkardars…et al.

Mercury was depicted with Sargams in Raga Yaman; Mangal Graha had Krishna Arjun Samvad with the dancers dressed in the energetic colour red; the Shani or Saturn had the impressive Malkauns Tarana; and Rahu-Ketu portrayed by twin sisters was applauded for their remarkable pirouettes. Surya and Chandra, the climax, were danced respectively by Rachna’s senior-most students. Surya had Pramelu, Paran and the impressive foot-work in the challenging Tala Dhamaar and Chandra was depicted through a Ghazal “Pighal raha hai Chaand…”, as an Abhinaya piece, completing Kathak in its entirety.  Rachana’s imaginative choreography was enhanced with the most appropriate music composed by Samiullah Khan.


SPANDAN 2015 gets underway at India Habitat Centre inspiring scores ! first cut here…

The annual festival of infinity, SPANDAN, inspiring and igniting the urge to realize the infinite potential within gets underway at India Habitat Centre… I am giving the first cut here.. will soon write a full story.

The Spandan story in TOI today
Spandan 2015 in TOI

On youtube short clip before inaugural

Longer Clip shot at night on the first full day of the show

Come, visit the exhibition in all its grandeur and leave your footprint and feedback too.

Love and wishes


SPANDAN’s second edition from April 25th-May 5th – Sreeni humbly invites each one of you…


Dear Gurus and Friends,

It gives me immense pleasure to invite each one of you to SPANDAN 2014, celebrating the SPirit of DANce, paying our humble tributes to the SPAN of world DANce!

Starting on 25th of April 2014, the dance photography exhibition in the open spaces of IHC will go on for ten days and culminates with the Festival evening that celebrates the SPIRIT OF WORLD DANCE on May 5th, with a bouquet of performances SPANNING THE WORLD DANCE FORMS.


SPANDAN 2014 – World Dance photography Exhibition : April 25-May 05, 2014

We are immensely privileged to have the participation of the following brilliant photographers who are contributing immensely to the cause of WORLD DANCE FORMS. I humbly thank each one of them… (if any names missed, I apologize. Kindly draw my attention. Thanks)

– Abhijith Madhukar
– Avinash Pasricha
– Edina
– Giridhar Chandrasekhar
– Hareesh Melayil
– Hareesh Namboothri
– Inni Singh
– Jerome Calyster
– Jeyakumar Sathyamoorthy
– Karthik Siva
– Keerthi Amit
– KP Sreehari
– Mamta Diman
– Mohit Abrol
– Navneet Kaur Ahuja
– Prasad Siddhanthi
– Rajyasree Ghosh Tinni
– Ramesh Lalvani
– Rijil KS
– Ruben Lozano Garcia
– R. Sreenivasan
– Rumeli Datta Mazumdar Dawn
– Sanjay Yadav
– Shankar Bhattacharyya
– Suchit Nanda
– Sugeeth Krishna
– Sunny Lamba
– Vinu Nair
– Vj Renju

SPANDAN 2014 – World Dance Evening : May 05, 2014. 7:00pm

We are delighted to have the following INSPIRING ARTISTS and TALENTS, enriching the WORLD DANCE Constellation with their MESMERIZING PERFORMANCES

– Kathak : Astha Dixit, the performance dedicated to Sufism
– Sattriya: Anwesa Mahanta
– Bharatanatyam: Emerging Dancers, Natya Vriksha; Disciples of Guru Geeta Chandran

awaiting their final world –

– Chhau : a spirited performance encompassing the three forms of Chhau
– WORLD Dance : Latino/Spanish forms
– World FOLK Dance : European
– WORLD Dance : a confluence of Middle-eastern, Latin and American free dance forms

LAST Year over 7000 visitors graced the exhibition and the dance evening ran a packed overflowing house at STEIN Auditoium, IHC.

Kindly check the YOUTUBE link for SPANDAN 2013 edition –

Kindly check the FLICKR collection for all dimensions of the festival –

LOOKING FORWARD to seeing you all at the exhibition and the dance evening.


——————–For the benefit all those participating or keen, I have the left the ‘invitation note”, here under ——



In the last edition of 2013 of SPANDAN, I initiated with my own photographs for want of time; In this years edition I wish to have the best from around the world, through what people call CLOUND SOURCING !
Last year we had 16 panels, each devoted to a dance form –

– Eight Classical forms as noted by SNA –
– Bharatanatyam,
– Kathak,
– Odissi,
– Kathakali,
– Mohiniyattam,
– Kuchipudi,
– Manipuri,
– Sattriya
– A panel on Martial art/FOLK dance forms of immense energy : Chhau, Bhangra, Garba,…
– A contemporary Dance Panel- A Panel of captures in the open spaces
– JOURNEY OF Infinity – portraying the immense years of dedicated effort in excelling in the world space

– FAR eastern panel with Korean, Japan and Chinese forms
– BALLET from Russian and European geography
– FREE Dance from around the World and India
– LATIN / SPANISH Dance forms

I humbly invite all DANCE PHOTOGRAPHY ENTHUSIASTS to submit their TWO best photographs from their captures. Let it span the dance forms from around the world.


SPANDAN may travel to Chennai in JUNE for SPICMACAY International convention at IIT CHENNAI, and possibly to LONDON for festival of Indian DANCE and MUSIC in JULY.


a. UPLOAD your best two in the group DANCE PHOTOGRPHY (on FB), the RAW Format of the capture should be there with you for later purpose if selected (needed for printing large versions). Kindly give details of the capture
– Dancer
– Dance Form
– Festival, where it has been captured, with dates

b. clearly LABEL the posting as FOR SPANDAN 2014. PHOTO 1 and PHOTO 2. If at all you have to write your name/signature on the photo, let it be very discreet on a margin

c. LAST DATE OF SUBMISSION is March 28, 2014 11:59 pm


d. THE DECISION OF THE SELECTION COMMITTEE comprising eminent Dance photographers, critiques and dancers IS FINAL

e. IF Selected, will be asked to send the RAW FORMAT of the same by email.

f. THE SELECTED works will become part of a classified panel and credits will be given. This is my effort in showcasing the brilliance in the dance photography space and the contribution each one is making for furthering the cause of the dance forms.


I WISH TO MAKE THIS FESTIVAL, A FESTIVAL OF EVERY DANCE LOVER. I am investing immensely from my own pocket to showcase, hence WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PAY anything for your contribution, apart from making your work known to connoisseurs and lovers of dance. (last year over 7000 people visited the exhibition)


I ADMIT that I MAY RECOUP the cost incurred for the exhibition displays – printing, framing, logistics of taking the exhibition around – by selling the works proactively this time. SOLD or UNSOLD, I shall intimate you.

IF any works remain unsold, and you want your work back at the end of the exhibitions, then the costs incurred, (calculated by the size and kind of prints/transportation/logistics etc) will have to be paid! It will go into a corpus for future, and encourages me to keep going on this path of promoting brilliance. I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND MY SPIRIT and intention. I AM SURE YOU WILL HELP ME


SPANDAN centre-spreads in IIMB Alumnii Summer 2013 issue

I was delighted to receive the mail from IIM Bangalore, my alma mater notifying about the latest issue, the summer 2013 one of Alumni Magazine, which also happens to be the 10th summer issue of the Mag. This issue has a special feature called ART WALK that exclusive covers a few of my photographs from SPANDAN dance photography exhibition which was part of the SPANDAN dance festival celebrating the human spirit that I had at IHC, Delhi in April-May 2013 to coincide with the world dance week, and at IIM Calcutta during the SPIC MACAY international convention in May 2013

I am reproducing the editorial mail and the links to the issue; Also the cover and SPANDAN centre-spreads from the issue here.

SPANDAN centre spread in the IIMBAa summer 2013 issue – page 1

SPANDAN centre spread in the IIMBAa summer 2013 issue – page 2

SPANDAN centre spread in the IIMBAa summer 2013 issue – page 3

You can very well click on the links below, in the text, to browse the whole issue of the magazine online or even download the PDF format to see on your laptop.

Dear All,

We are ten! We planned, we stumbled, we fell, we executed, we soared. We managed to achieve ten editions, covering a range of topics from humanitarian work to gaps in healthcare services, from women empowerment to entrepreneurship. And we couldn’t have done this without your patronage and support.

A big thank you to all of you!

Presenting the Summer Edition of IIMB Alumni Magazine

The IIMB Alumni magazine issue of Summer 2013, that carries SPANDAN centre spreads

Read the Magazine as a Flip Book

Download the PDF version

In this edition we shift our focus to another world that we have started to inhabit: the virtual world. Would it be wrong to say that we oscillate between two world, the real and virtual? We buy clothes online, plan holidays online and even buy groceries online! Our lives are slowly becoming entwined with the wires of our laptop charger. Ecommerce has become an important if not an integral part of lives. And according to statistics, the day is not far when it will become an integral part too. In this edition five alumni speak about their experiences, their visions, plans, investments and heartburn in e commerce. Also, two of our Professors give their advice on how to tame ecommerce.

Also in the Magazine:

This January we had a panel discussion – ‘How to write your first book’ – that captured the imagination of many. It is arguably the most attended alumni event at IIMB. If you are someone who’s hands are itching to write and you missed to attend – the Magazine brings you a digest.

R Sreenivasan PGP 96 takes you on an art walk through his photo feature Spandan. Spandan is a celebration of human spirit in the form of Dance.

It has been happy and exciting few months for our alumni! Couple of our former alumni secretaries got married and some alumni have been visited by the stork.

Enjoy reading and let us know your thoughts on the Magazine. Your responses mean a lot to us.

Write to: or

IIMB Alumni Association
Bangalore -560076
Ph +91 80 26993463

IIMB Alumni Website
IIMB Virtual Tour. Click here
IIMB online Merchandise

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 – Celebration of Human Spirit – Sreeni’s Dance Photography Exhibition at IHC, New Delhi

Sreeni mounted 16 installations of world dance compilations as a tribute to the human spirit, in the form of dance. It is a celebration of the infinite potential every human has.

The exhibition was in the open spaces of India Habitat Centre, Lodhi road, Delhi. The 10 day exhibition attracted almost 5000 visitors; the evening of world dance on May 3rd witnessed packed stein auditorium with five brilliant dancers (Nikolina Nikoleski, Carolina Prada, Nitisha Nanda, Quincy Kendell Charles, Paola Santa Cruz) performing 8 dance forms.

The evening started with a short session as a tribute to the celebrated Dance Photographer Mr. Avinash Pasricha who was in an interaction with renowned Dance Critic Mrs Leela Venkataraman and Eminent Bharatanatyam Exponent Ms Geeta Chandran

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.

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