The 2001 'school' year began in a very auspices manner with a visit to the Iraivan Temple in Kauai and a short performance before the 'Cosmic Dancer' himself, Sri Nataraja. It was a 'yogic' experience and Bharata Natyam in its purest form. The presentation was physically and mentally dedicated to a cosmic audience, as it should be!!

Immediately following that I attended the Bharata Natyam conference in Chicago. It was enlightening in every way! Artistically, the works of the artistes who performed there inspired me. But I was also pained by the hypocrisy, politics and 'attitude' of many present. Thankfully living so far away I don't have to deal with it!

We were privileged to host Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar and his wife, Jaya for a week in September. Physically challenged by his daily 2-hour rigorous training sessions, we also benefited from it enormously. It was truly a treat!

My presentations at schools and Universities continue and I enjoy working with Rusti Gillette who is not just a drummer but also an entertainer!

IThe Dance Company participated in the Laguna Beach Summer Arts Festival and was once again selected to perform in the California Choreographers' Festival in Laguna Beach.

Seen in the pic( L-R): Anita Vaidyanathan, Maneesha Limaye, Aditi Nath, Ramya & Amita Sheth

Recognition Grants

The Arpana Dance Company is very proud to have been recognized as a grantee by the CAC, Fund for Folk Culture and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

Master -apprenticeship grant from Alliance for California Traditional Arts for Trisha (Urmi) Banerjee to study Bharata Natyam intensively for a year under Harishankar culminating in a performance.

California Arts Council and the Fund for Folk Culture have jointly granted Harishankar a grant for a project called 'Women in E'motion'. Under this project 5 senior students will undertake focused research, study and mastery of the technique of abhinaya or interpretive dance for a year.

After a gap of 3 years, I took time off to be fully present at the 'season' this December. It was exciting, invigorating and inspiring! Leela Samson's 'Spanda' was an answer to the question about the relevance of Bharata Natyam in modern times. It had the soul and structure of the dance form and yet was abstract and extremely creative. There wasn't much in the contemporary dance presentations that was awe-inspiring. What struck me was the constant refrain by these artistes about their relationship to and inspiration from the classical tradition be it Bharata Natyam or Kathak. Isn't it funny that many do not have the discipline or commitment to present classical traditions in their purest form yet are unable to cut the umbilical cord ?!

I danced at Bharata Kalachar, Chennai on December 23rd and my students; Ahila Gulasekaram and Supreeta Sampath presented a few pieces. Mrs. Rashmi Parthasarathy, the heart and soul of this organization has to be commended for her unanimous support of all artistes and in particular those resident abroad. I appreciate the fact that the artistes are treated with due respect.

2002 looks busy with a line-up of performances at schools, colleges and libraries in the first half. We have 2 evenings of special performances planned for June 30th ("Maya Manusha") and July 6th ("Woman Divine"). As Arpana completes 20 years in S. California, we are working to reach out to the large S. California community. Please check Upcoming Events for complete information on these events.