Arpana News - 2010

2010 ended on a high note with a presentation on the experiences of two Arpana alumni - Anusha Kedhar and Ahila Gulasekaram in the field. Anusha (1990 grad) worked with Sadhana Dance Company (London, UK) on choreographing a new work called "The Shiver". A collaboration with critically acclaimed poet Lemn Sissay and Oxford neuroscientist, Dr. Morten Kringelbach, the piece brings together dance, music, digital projections, and spoken word to explore the scientific and emotional reasons behind why we shiver and the link between motion and emotion. The Shiver toured the UK in Oct/Nov 2010. She also worked with Kathak dancer/scholar Amita Nijhawan to choreograph a dance theatre piece called "Mostly Shringar" which experimented with the act of dressing up in front of a mirror to play with ideas around desire, eroticism, and prescribed rules of female beauty. The piece was performed at Roehampton University in Surrey, UK. In between dancing, Anusha has been working on completing her dissertation in Critical Dance Studies from UC Riverside.

Ahila (1991 grad) currently resides in Dallas, TX where she continues to pursue her passion for dance as a resident dancer at the Dallas Museum of Art/Trammell Crow Collection of Asian Art. She also works as a Community Site Manager for Big Thought, a non-profit organization which takes the fine arts to under-served communities surrounding the metroplex. A 2 week summer workshop in Dallas with renown dancer, Priyadarsini Govind culminated in a performance with Ahila as one of the featured dancers.

Along with Sravani Jandhyala, Ramya produced 2 dance events for Ektaa Center ( in 2010. The second edition of the very successful Nachle series was held at the Irvine Barclay Theatre and featured 6 classical dance forms by the next generation of Indo Americans. Both traditional and new interpretations of classical forms were presented before a sold out audience. One of the highlights was Conun Drum by Ahila Gulasekaram in collaboration with Bryan Yamami (Taiko), Ravi Deo (Tabla) and Amy Vanmali (ADC dancer). In fall, Sujata Mohapatra along with the Menaka Thakkar Dance Co. presented the renown Gita Govinda.

Nandini Kannan (2004 grad) received an Honorable Mention Award in DANCE/World Dance Forms from the national YoungArts program. She placed in the top 3% of the 2011 YoungArts participant group.

In early 2010, Ganga…life as a river was presented before appreciative audiences at the U of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Carver Center in San Antonio, Tex. "When I think of the culture of India, I think of a very long history deeply rooted in the arts, the sciences, languages... - very intellectual AND spiritual. I feel GANGA portrayed that beautifully. The thoughtfulness, the intricacy and the detail that went into the concert - WOW...just obvious and amazing…… Being a dancer myself, I know a bit about the countless hours (years!)that went into making all this. Thanks toyou and the dancers!" - Brigid Kelly, NV

Pancha Bhootam
, the 2003 production was set on a new cast and premiered in Salt Lake City, UT in Sept. It will tour other parts of the country in 2011. Besides, the usual circuit of performances, the Company was also invited to the MixMatch Festival (Venice) and TriArts Festival (San Pedro) this year. Ramya's workshops/master classes to introduce 'abhinaya' were much appreciated at UCI and Concordia University -"As always our students were fascinated by your dance and music, appreciated the relaxed approach, the comprehensiveness and clarity of your presentation and enjoyed the enthusiasm you shared about your culture and skills" - Herb Geisler, Chair, Music Dept., Concordia University.

It was a short and successful Arangetram season - Ishaani Saha, Ramya Tadinada, Mathangi Suresh, Ranjana Ravikumar, Nikeeta Shah and the youngest ever nine year old Ramya Joshi had their debut. Samarpan, the annual students' recital featured new choreography for the young dancers as well as by members of the Dance Company. For 2010, Alliance for California Traditional Arts awarded a Master Apprentice grant to Sumona Vohra to continue her dance education with Ramya. Several new programs were introduced for the Arpana students - Pilates, fast track sessions to improve basic skills, advanced abhinaya and make up workshops. Besides Saru Janahan who teaches all beginner and junior classes as well as the fast track sessions, Preethi Selvan (2004 grad) has been assisting Ramya in teaching the advanced sessions.

Lakshmi Krishnamoorthy who passed on in June was a pillar of physical, emotional, spiritual strength not only to Ramya but all the Arpana families. Guiding the parents during Arangetram preparations, encouraging the girls, she was ever ready to help in numerous ways. She will be sorely missed.

With several performances, Arangetrams and other teaching assignments lined up, 2011 promises to be an exciting year!