From Proscenium to the Public: Alternative Spaces in Performance

by Ashwini Raghupathy

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Ddebiprasad Sahoo

In April earlier this year, a video was uploaded on Youtube which created a furor that launched a barrage of discussions on social media which continue even today. The clip showed a dancer Aleksy Furdak, also known as Gaura Natraj Das, an American performing Bharatanatyam in a metro station in the USA. (http://www.southreport.com/classical-dance-in-new-york-subway/) ) This performance was not the first of its kind, as other dancers, including myself, have been exploring public spaces to present traditional Indian dances. Here you see another Bharatanatyam dancer, Jai Khalsa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUBWtuxyiUQ, and here is a video featuring me which encapsulated a little of my work in this area : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GCXHbycgd4)

While I personally have not spoken to the above-mentioned dancers, I have realised from my own experience that there will be detractors every time one challenges the status quo in any field. When I started to dance Odissi in the parks and streets of Bangalore. I received a fair share of criticism, some of which I have outlined here:

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Finding My Destiny in Dance

by Manishikha Baul

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

 

Life is the dancer and you are the dance” – Eckhart Tolle. I am Manishikha, an Odissi dancer and a global nomad.

Growing up: Born and brought up in India (Delhi and Kolkata) my journey as a dancer began at the age of eight under Shrimati Sutapa Talukdar. My mother, a lecturer in Russian language & member of Nichiren’s philosophy of Buddhism, walked me into Sutapa Di’s class on a pouring evening in Kolkata. Being associated with Gorky Sadan (Russian Institute), my childhood was flooded with opportunities to perform. My younger sister also started learning Bharatanatyam & Hindustani classical music. In the lantern-lit evenings we would recite bols and shlokas for the other while one practiced. My interest in arts, I would like to believe, is an inheritance from my father, an architect and an impressionist artist. He was also my worst critic. I lost him in my early twenties. As most stories of middle class families go, various circumstances and the need to earn a living took me far away from my path of dance when I was in high school. I went on to study English Literature before joining GE Healthcare services where I met my husband. An Urdu poet, animal lover, photographer and an engineer, he has been my biggest motivator. [Read more…]