Talk to dancers from any part of the globe, and you’d find one commonality. Dance is an all-consuming monastic devotion. The theatre becomes the cathedral. The stage becomes symbolic to sanctity. And my dear dance lovers, here’s how Dance was reinvented and celebrated in 2016.
The Padma Awardees
Path defining Bharatanatyam dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy was awarded the second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan. While Pratibha Prahlad (Bharatanatyam) and Gulabo Sapera (Folk Dance) were conferred with Padma Shri.
Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards
The Cultural Apex of India, the Akademi conferred its annual prestigious awards upon uber talented dancers from across the country. Among the illustrious names were the likes of C V Chandrasekhar, K Kunhiraman Nair, Aloka Kanungo, G Padmaja Reddy, Sharodi Saikia, Mandakini Trivedi, Sadashiva, W Lokendrajit Singh, Rajkumar Bharathi. Overall contribution/scholarship in performing arts went to Shanta Gokhale and Chaman Lal Ahuja.
The last journey, with ghungroo on her feet…
Padma Bhushan Mrinalini Sarabhai passed away on 20th January. She was 97. Having trained 18,000 dancers in Bharatanatyam and Kathakali at the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Sarabhai was a widely honoured, highly acclaimed, globally recognized dancer. It was a beautifully sombre visual to watch her daughter Mallika Sarabhai, dance in front of her mortal remains, perhaps paying the biggest tribute one could.
Delhi International Arts Festival for Classical Indian Dances
The Capital was agog with a series of performances by dancers from India and abroad in November. The open air Meghdoot Theatre was one such venue. With the dark sky as a canopy, nature as the backdrop, stars twinkling on stage and off, that week of moonlit nights was truly magical and sprinkled with some spectacular performances by Ileana Citaristi, Vasanta Raas, Satyanarayana Raju among others.
On November 19, Chitra Arvind was conferred Contemporary Dance Award 2016 by the India International Dance Festival (Bhubaneswar), at Bangalore.
Astad Deboo’s Eternal Embrace which was staged at the Contemporary Dance Festival at NCPA, Mumbai, to live music by Japanese musician Yukio Tsuji, received unanimous rave reviews.
Living life Queen-Size
Mandeep Raikhy’s Queen-Size, was a contemporary choreographed exploration of the intimacy between two men. Played out on a charpoy, the duet examines the carnal, mechanical and emotional encounter between two male bodies, seeking to pose questions around spectatorship, privacy and dissent.
Blitzkrieg Dance Crew wins Indian Hip Hop Championship
Students of Manipal University, the Blitzkrieg Dance Crew vaulted Manipal onto the global hip hop circuit after it won in the mega-crew category (15-40 people) at the Indian Hip Hop Championship held in Mumbai. Having just 30 seconds to prove their mettle, the crew stormed into the finale and emerged victorious. Don’t be surprised if the name sounds familiar, they’ve performed at highly acclaimed college festivals!
Soni Chaurasiya, 31, Kathak dancer and daughter of a pan vendor, clocked in 123 hours and 30 minutes on 9th April at 9.21pm at Mount Litera Zee School, Varanasi. Her feat was congratulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.