December 2020-January 2021 season has been active with the digital performances featured at the Dance festivals and Music video releases in India and Singapore. Here is a round up and video links to the music and dance features: Nadopasana” (Worship through Music), a concert series that commemorates the birth anniversary of Apsaras Arts co-founder Shri S Satyalingam; Odissi International dance festival feature by Soo Mei Fei, as a budding Odissi artiste from Apsaras Arts Academy; Odissi recital by Soumee De, senior dancer and faculty from Apsaras Arts at Srjan’s “Anuvartanam- in tune with the times” and “Padam in Thodi” a music video premiered by Indian Raga Singapore in collaboration with Apsaras Arts.
On December 22nd, 2020 “Nadopasana” (Worship through Music), a concert series that commemorates the birth anniversary of Apsaras Arts co-founder Shri S Satyalingam was premiered on Apsaras Arts digital stage, Avai. This inaugural digital Carnatic concert featured Sikkil Gurucharan on vocals, accompanied by V Sanjeev on violin, NC Bharadwaj on Mridangam and Sanjana Hari on Tampura.
S Satyalingam (1930-2011) was an accomplished Carnatic vocalist having been trained at the acclaimed Kalakshetra Foundation, India where he learned from eminent teachers and leading stalwarts in the 1950s. A purist at heart when it comes to classical art forms, he had brought Apsaras Arts to international arts festivals in Singapore, Australia, Japan, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and United States.
He is remembered for his strict rigour in his teaching and is known as a perfectionist by his family and students and was tireless in presenting the best he could on stage and presented the highest standards in Indian classical music in Singapore. He contributed his expertise as a member of the Music Advisory Panel in National Arts Council, Singapore. For his contributions to the arts, he received the Viswakalaa Bharati Arts award in Chennai in 1995.
Classical Indian arts were a lifelong passion for Sathyalingam and he is said to have insisted that his students continue with their performances while he was on his deathbed, lest funereal obligations unnecessarily mar and disrupt the audience’s expectations for a good show. This was an artistic commitment that Sathyalingam valued greatly.
Watch this concert here: Click Here.
On January 2nd 2021, Odissi International Biswa Odissi Utsav, Bhubaneswar featured solo recital by Soo Mei Fei, an Odissi student of Soumee De from Apasaras Arts Academy. She opened the 4th episode of the festival ringing in the new year 2021 through her rendition of Parvati Mangalacharan (which refers to an “auspicious beginning”) choreographed by Soumee De and composed by Chitra Poornima. This was followed by a Pallavi presentation based on raag Megh choreographed by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra.
Watch the episode here: Click Here.
On January 9th 2021, Srjan, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa presented an odissi solo recital by Soumee De, Apsaras Dance Company senior dancer and Odissi faculty from the Academy at the digital festival “Anuvartanam- in tune with the times.” Soumee opened the performance with Vinaayaka Smaranam, a humble obeisance to lord Ganesha who is known by twelve names (Vakratunda, Ekadanta, Krishnapingakshya, Gajavaktra, Lambodara, Vikata, Vighnaraja, Dhumravarana, Bhalachandra, Vinayaka, Ganapati, Gajanana), music composed by Binod Bihari Panda and choreographed by her Guru Ratikant Mohapatra. This was followed by a delightful Pallavi, a pure dance that implies elaboration, set to Raag Kalyan and Taal Tripata, choreographed by legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and composed by Pandit Bhubaneswar Mishra. Kalyan Pallavi was choregraphed in 1959 and employs a significant innovation in dancer’s movement design and speed. Soumee concluded the recital with an Oriya abhinaya, Bhangi Chanha, which is a popular champu-kavya from Odia literary composition written by Kabisurjya Baladev Rath that is a combination of prose and poetry. This piece is sung by Radha’s sakhi (friend) describing Lord Krishna’s playful and inviting glances, his dark eyebrows, charming looks that sweeps her beautiful friend off her feet and urging Radha to clasp her hands around her neck and stay firmly planted on the ground, lest she is overwhelmed by the power of Lord Krishna’s loving charms.
Watch the Odissi recital here: Click Here.
On January 16th 2021, IndianRaga Singapore in partnership with Apsaras Arts Dance Company premiered on YouTube a beautiful musical ensemble rendering of "Padam in Thodi”. This Padam, performed by leading Carnatic vocalists in Singapore is from the repertoire of the legendary Veena Dhanammal school of music. This Padam was taught to the vocalists by renowned musician Dr S. Sowmya from Chennai, India, as part of the master class sessions at Dance India Asia Pacific 2020 organised by Apsaras Arts, Singapore in September. On listening to this rendition, Dr Sowmya remarked, “ My heart is filled to hear everyone sing in a harmonious chorus and I commend each vocalist for all the hard work put in and it has come out well.”
The team includes: Creative Director: Aravinth Kumarasamy, Vocalists: Nithya Srinivasan, Rasika Viswanath, Shreevidya, Y S Shruthi Raj, Shruti Anand, Sreeranjani Muthu Subramanian, Srividya Sriram, Sushma Somasekharan, Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan and Venkataramani Ramya. They were accompanied by Surup Sowmithri Thathachar (Violin) T Ramanan (Mridangam).
Watch the performance here: Click Here.