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 Diego schools.

'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.