At the outset, we would like to offer our respects to the departed soul of Dr. Robert Brown
Center for World Music, San Diego. Dr. Brown's contribution to the
world of South Indian music and dance in America is immeasurable. We
will cherish the memories of his presentation at the 'Dance
Conversations' symposium in May 2005 at the Ektaa Center. We have been
fortunate to work with him on several projects including outreach in San
'Ganga-Life as a River'
"Combining post-modern choreographic structures and classical Indian
dance vocabularies, "Ganga...Life as a River" stunningly illustrates how
experimentation can be rooted in and flow organically out of so-called
"traditional" dance. The highly accomplished dancing was presented in a
way that managed to be both accessible and engaging to a Western
audience while resisting the frames of the "authentic," the "ethnic,"
and the "exotic."
Anthea Kraut, Ph.D. Asst.Prof. Department of Dance, University of California, Riverside, CA.
'Ganga-Life as a River'
a thematic production premiered in August
and has since been presented in Irvine and Palo Alto to very
appreciative audiences. An exploration of new vocabulary within the
language of Bharata Natyam and other Indian Dance forms, the
presentation centered on River Ganga as a metaphor for life. Featuring
special choreography by the legendary Pandit Birju Maharaj, Saswati Sen and Dominique Delorme, music by Babu Parameswaran and spoken word by D'Lo
, the ADC ventured into new territories in Indian dance, music and presentation. The Company received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts
and the Fund for Folk Culture
for this project
On the invitation of Dominique Delorme, Ramya taught 'abhinaya' in a week long camp in Jean du Grad, France
in July. Shubha Chandramouli, a ADC member substituted for me at a similar summer dance camp in Taipei, Taiwan
Several senior dancers - Amita Sheth, Shruti Chandramouli, Anjali Vora,
Anusha Kedhar and Ahila Gulasekaram are regularly assisting Ramya by
teaching basics as well as advanced techniques to students at the Arpana
School of Dance.
As a long time participant in the Arts Teach program
of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Ramya
have toured several schools in S. California. The Center along with the Board of Education has launched a new program called Arts Connect
whereby the arts will be integrated into the classroom instruction and
curriculum in order to demonstrate the positive impact of arts on
students. Ramya will be a part of this 5 year pilot program.
Along with Dr. Priya Srinivasan
, Asst. Prof. of Dance, UC Riverside, Ramya convened the first seminar on Indian dance in California, 'Dance Conversations –Indian dance in California: past, present & future'
under the aegis of the Ektaa Center
in May 2005. Another first was the coming together of the most
prominent Indian dancers/teachers to share their experiences of teaching
in the US and 'Xpressions'
featuring performances in their
respective styles. Several prominent members of the community as well as
contributors to Indian dance such Dr. Sunil Kothari
, the late Dr. Robert Brown
and Medha Yodh
as well as Professors of Dance / South Asian studies from UCLA, UCR and UCI – Susan Rose, Victoria Marks, Wendy Rogers, David Gere, Jennifer Fisher
and Ketu Katrak
participated. Upcoming dancers/choreographers from the Indian community were also featured. This event was partly funded by Arts OC, the Fund for Folk Culture
and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts
In March, the Arpana Dance Company traveled to Barcelona, Spain
At the International Danz Grand Prix, they placed first in the Folk and
Ethnic category and won the II prize for costumes. Over 500 dancers
from 4 continents performed various styles of dance. Ramya and the ADC
also visited Seville where we attended a Flamenco class and performance.
The ADC also participated in several fund raisers of Tsunami victims in S.California.