Arpana News - 2009

Best wishes for 2009 from Ramya Harishankar & the Arpana Dance Company (ADC) to you - our well wishers, supporters, patrons and friends.

It is always exciting to expand one's horizons and explore different avenues of 'expression'. The last few years have been so for Ramya and the Company. as a river, which premiered in 2005 continued its journey in 2008 taking on new form and shape. The post modern production was fine tuned and made more provocative. The original project partly funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (Creativity) and the Fund for Folk Culture (Artist' Support) received the LA Treasures award from the California Traditional Music Society and the LA Dept. of Cultural Affairs for four performances at the Unknown Theater in Hollywood. The 2008 winter/spring tour also included 2 performances at counterPULSE (San Francisco), Multi Cultural Center (UC Santa Barbara) and 2 at the Weingart Performance Annex (San Diego) all very well received by diverse audiences.

Ahila Gulasekaram and Amy Vanmali, ADC members were selected from amongst numerous LA based Indian classical dancers and featured in a national ad campaign for Hewlett Packard wireless printers. The talent agency was looking for the 'strength and poise of trained dancers' although there was no actual dancing involved.

In October, Ramya was invited to serve on a panel of judges at the first annual Dubai International Dance Competition. More than 50 young women and men competed in what was quite an eye opener. She was struck by quality of dancing and professionalism displayed by these young students of dance.

Ahila Gulasekaram
, the senior most ADC member, received a Durfee Foundation grant to support her solo performance in January 2009. For the first time in Arpana's history, eight Arangetrams featuring 12 young women was held this summer. It was heart warming to hear that the quality of dancing has been steadily improving and that the performances were enjoyed by many. Ramya's educational outreach through assemblies and workshops in schools and colleges continued, as did numerous performances by ADC at festivals and other events throughout the Southland.

Guru Kalanidhi 'Mami' Narayanan's 80th birthday was celebrated in Chennai at the beautiful Kalakshetra auditorium in early December where she was felicitated by several connoisseurs, patrons, writers, art historians and well wishers.

Ramya was glad to be there to share that moment with her mentor and many of her colleagues and friends. Being one of Kalanidhi's protégés, Ramya was given the honor to speak on behalf of all of 'Mami's' students; a fitting finale to a very eventful year for Ramya and the Arpana Dance Company.