The first dance showcase will feature four accomplished Indian classical dancers, two of them in solo presentations and one in duet. We are excited to present three styles of dance: Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam and Kathak. The dancers will present interesting choreographies, thoughtfully conceived and choreographed. The performances will be followed by a panel discussion with the dancers, moderated by Prof. Pallabi Chakravorty, Priyadarshini Ghosh and Sreyashi Dey.
Saturday, December 11, 2021
USA: 10am EST
India: 8:30pm IST
Bindu Rajendren (Mohiniyattam)
Kumarasambhavam is an epic poem in Sanskrit written by the great poet Kalidasa in the 4-5 Century CE. Bindu Rajendren will be performing a lyrical segment from a larger Mohiniattam composition based on Kumarasambhavam choreographed by Guru Nirmala Paniker.
Truth is eternal and all pervading. According to Indian philosophy everything is made up of five elements. The sloka used in this presentation speaks of the harmony that maintains the universe.
For the Kathak body, the feet are considered its foundation like the wheels of any vehicle. Apart from keeping to the rhythm and creating a desired soundscape with its technical renditions, a major role of the feet is to maintain balance and impart grace to the entire movement… And most importantly to create a language of its own. What happens when these two characters come in close proximity with each other? Do they exchange dialogues? Are they together? Do they disagree? These and many more questions rose in our mind while conceiving and choreographing this piece. We are glad to share with you a tiny excerpt of our work in progress, which opens a universe of exploration as we try to peel layers within our form….
This is a traditional shuddha nritta or pure dance composition that is choreographed by combining intricate footwork with sharp and incisive movements. The content of the vocal music is provided by the syllables of the pakhawaj and the Tabla. Trivatt’s uniqueness is marked by brisk and accurate movements balanced by rigorous yet effortless footwork. This challenging composition has an unmatched appeal as it seeks to dazzle and not to depict. Presented in the time cycle of sixteen beats, trivatt is composed in Raag Bahaar.
‘kichudin Mone Mone ghorer kone shyamer pirit rakh gopone‘
The Baul Song ‘kichudin Mone Mone ghorer kone shyamer pirit rakh gopone‘, beautifully rendered by eminent artiste Parvati Baul found a deep resonance within the creative mind of Debashree and Sohini. It is a song with simple and lucid lyrics… but the significance of this song has deeper realisation.
Love is eternal…love is divine…There is nothing illicit in love. But the essence of true love is a sadhana in itself…a journey towards self-discovery …hence it must be celebrated secretly between the lovers…Radha & Krishna…the atman and the paramatman…. The two forms of one celestial light.They dance as a confluence in their sea of love deep within. Radha and Krishna in love intertwined.
The exploration of this entirely different genre along with its deep philosophical expression through the idiom of Kathak is not limited to a mere piece of experimental choreography. It can be considered as an on-going research so to say…
Meera Sreenarayanan (Bharatanatyam)
“Sri Ramachandra Kripalu,” also known as “Sri Ram Stuti,” is a a set of verses from Sri Goswami Tulsidas’ Vinaya Patrika. The ode extols Sri Rama and his virtues to the greatest degree.
“O mind! Revere the benign Sri Ramachandra, who removes ‘Bhava’ the worldly sorrow, ‘Bhaya’ the fear, and ‘Daruna’ the scarcity,” says the verse, while His mother Kausalya dwells in the pain of separation from her son every moment. In this piece, the dancer depicts Sri Rama’s mother Kausalya, a widowed queen and an unlucky mother suffering from inexorable misery, who is eagerly awaiting the advent of her son after fourteen years of Vanavasa. The song transports her down memory lane, recalling her fleeting moments with Rama since his childhood.
Bindu Rajendren is a Brisbane based Mohiniattam practitioner and choreographer who has been described as ‘a dancer who has the ability to convey the essence of deeply significant stories through dance’ (Woodford Folk Festival, Australia). Central to Bindu’s dance practices is the elemental spiritual connection through sentiment and devotion. She has performed widely – nationally, internationally and on multiple platforms online. Bindu has collaborated extensively with dancers, theatre artists, spoken word and visual artists, and musicians. The covid induced pandemic has also allowed her to experience dance film making and production. Some of her notable dance films include Dance to the Rain clouds that premiered on Narthaki. com, Her-Story for Sangam Festival, Melbourne and Prithvii Tatvam for Erasing Borders Dance Festival 2021, NY.
Bindu’s keen interest in dance research has let her to present and publish papers at various national and international dance conferences. She has also taught at QUT within the Dance Studies department as a sessional academic.
Bindu currently trains with Guru Nirmala Paniker and Guru Dr. Kalamandalam Sugandhi Prabhu. An obsession with letting her mind wander is often what inspires Bindu’s dance choreographies, artwork, paintings and poetry.
Debashree Bhattacharya is a Kolkata based Kathak practitioner ,teacher and choreographer.A graduate from lady Brabourne College in kolkata, Debashree completed her Masters in philosophy from Jadavpur University.
An ‘A’ grade artiste for kolkata Doordarshan ,she is registered with ICCR,EZCC and The Sangeet Natak Academy .
She has performed in major festivals of India including the Khajuraho,the konarak and the Nishagandhi festival.She has travelled to Qatar,Kuwait,The Uk and Wales , Georgia,Lebanon ,South Sudan ,Durban and Japan .She has been conducting work shops and lecture demonstrations both in India and abroad.
She runs her school BRINDAR ,the learning space for Kathak ,for the last 22 years.
She is an artist keen on understanding ,analysing and redefining the Kathak form and the Kathak informed body on the other
Sohini Debnath is a Kathak practitioner based in Kolkata. She took training and research in Kathak under the able guidance of renowned Kathak exponent, Padmashree Guru Smt. Rani Karnaa. Presently Sohini is the Artistic Director of Samskritiki Shreyaskar, her Guru’s Academy.
A graduate in Geography from Presidency College, Kolkata she completed her master’s degree in Kathak from Rabindra Bharati University.
A Top-Grade solo artiste with the Doordarshan Kendra, Sohini is the recipient of the National Scholarship for Dance from the Govt. of India and is empanelled with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations; ICCR, New Delhi and Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.
Widely travelled in India, she toured different parts of Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland for solo Kathak performances. She has has also given performances in Bangladesh, Lebanon, South Africa, and Sudan as part of the repertory.
Apart from advanced Kathak Classes at Samskritiki Shreyaskar Sohini has been conducting online classes since 2016. She is actively involved in choreographic work along with Kathak Workshops and lecture demonstrations.
Meera Sreenarayanan, “…a performer totally without a consciousness of self or any feelings of wanting to be pretty. She was the dance.” – (Narthaki.com 2019) The renowned critic Smt. Leela Venkataraman writes about Meera Sreenarayanan, a dynamic young aspiring artiste, from Guruvayur (Kerala, India). She has been described as a “sensitive dancer”, praised for her subtle expressions and technical excellence which all together completes a narthaki. Meera was under the tutelage of Sri. Prakash, Sri. R.L.V. Anand and Acharya Kalakshetra Nirmala Nagaraj. Now Meera is exploring the art and abhinaya under the able mentorship of Acharya Indira Kadambi. Many performances and awards are there to her credit. She is a graded artist in Doordarshan and also a recipient of CCRT Young Talent and NCERT Creative Talent scholarships. She was chosen as the best junior dancer at The Music Academy Madras Dance Festival 2019. “Harini”, a well received and appreciated thematic Bharatanatyam solo creation, conceptualised and choreographed by Meera for Natyarangam of Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai, proves her calibre as a choreographer as well. Meera also holds a double degree of post-graduation in Bharatanatyam and Physics from the University of Madras.
Pallabi Chakravorty – visual anthropologist, dancer, choreographer – has studied dance all of her conscious life.
She is the founder and artistic director of Courtyard Dancers.
Pallabi studied classical Indian dance, such as Bharatnatyam and other folk forms, from Children’s Little Theatre, Kolkata from an early age. She toured India as a student there.
Later she was immersed in the study of Kathak dance for two decades.
She studied Kathak under the tutelage of Guru Bandana Sen, one of the foremost disciples of the legendary Kathak maestro Shambhu Maharaj and now a legend herself.
Pallabi has performed widely and her dance works have been presented in a myriad of venues in the U.S, Europe, and India.
As the recipient of many grants and awards, both for her artistic and scholarly works, from India and the U.S, Pallabi received the Rocky’s dance award given by Live Arts Festival/Philly (Philadelphia) Fringe in 2006.
Pallabi is also an active researcher and scholar, and is the author of many books including “Bells of Change: Kathak Dance, Women and Modernity in India”.
Pallabi is a full time faculty member in the Department of Music and Dance at Swarthmore College, where she directs the Dance Program.
Priyadarshini Ghosh is an accomplished Indian classical and contemporary dancer, choreographer, and dance scholar.
She is trained in both Bharatha Natyam and Mohini Attam, with specialization in Mohini Attam. She also has trained in Seraikella Chhau and is proficient in Yoga.
Priyadarshini holds an M.A. in Dance and has completed a Senior Fellowship on Dance as Yoga under the Ministry of Culture in India.
Priyadarshini has received the Nehru Fulbright Fellowship 2015-16, teaching at Brown University, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies as a visiting faculty.
Currently she is researching the mindful and contemplative aspects of performance, a system of Yoga, evaluating Kudiyattam and Mohiniyattam.
She performs and lectures actively in many prestigious venues and festivals as a soloist and also with her repertory.
Sreyashi Dey is one of the foremost exponents of Odissi in the US, and the Founder and Artistic Director of two arts organizations – Srishti Dances of India and Akshara.
She is a disciple of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, who was also an exponent of Bharatanayam and a disciple of Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan.
As a thoughtful artist, she constantly expands her creative horizons with new choreographies and collaborations across artistic genres.
Sreyashi regularly tours the US and has performed all over the world – in Europe, Asia and India.
Her work has been critically acclaimed by well-known critics in leading newspapers and magazines in the US, such as the New York Times, as well as in India.
She has been the recipient of several awards, notably the Harry Schwalb Excellence in the Arts award, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and several premier foundations in the US.
Sreyashi was instrumental in founding two arts festivals – the annual multi-arts Rasa Festival in Ann Arbor, and the annual KathaAngika classical dance and theater festival in Kolkata, India.
Sreyashi’s educational background includes an MS in Economics and an MBA, and she has parallel careers in marketing, University of Michigan administration and non-profit.