In Sights

Marching into a New Year be like…

It’s pouring performances, conferences and talks. Read this column for insights into what’s brewing at Apsaras Arts, recently…

Apsaras Arts Dance Company was in Chennai during December 2022 – January 2023 attending the Margazhi season of music and dance, conference and performances. As part of our ongoing collaboration with the Sruti Foundation, Apsaras Arts presented the 2022 edition of Nritya Samrachana on Thillanas by Dr Sriram Parasuram and Priyadarsini Govind on two separate days – one on the musicality of the composition and the other on the the dance aspects of Thillana.

Dr Sriram covered many aspects of the musical structure of the Thillana and its evolution across the decades and spoke about the various composers. He also shared many aspects of the Tarana in Hindustani music, all the while demonstrating several Thillanas and Taranas.

Priyadarsini Govind shared various structures of the dance compositions of the Thillana in Bharatanatyam, demonstrated by two of her students, Apoorva Jayaraman and Shweta Prachande. She also shared video clips of Thillanas performed by legendary dancers including Kumari Kamala, both on stage and on the silver screen.

The next highlight was a talk on the making of ARISI: Rice at the C.P Ramaswami Iyer Foundation in Chennai presented by Dr Nanditha Krishna. The event featured the core team – Aravinth Kumarasamy (Artistic Director), Sai Shravanam (Music Director, Music Arranger and Sound Designer) and Mohanapriyan Thavarajah (Choreographer, Costume Designer and Principal Dancer) who shared various aspects of ARISI:Rice. The event was well attended by a large gathering of leading dancers-choreographers, musicians, scholars and arts lovers.

The company was featured in two leading festivals in Chennai, and had the opportunity to present two iconic repertoire productions – AMARA (at Vani Mahal) and NIRMANIKA (at the Madras Music Academy). Both these performances were well-received by audiences gathered in Chennai from across India and from other international cities around the world. More details in the Travel Diaries section.

Upon our return to Singapore in mid January 2023, the Company had several performances including the annual Natarajar Anjali on the auspicious day of Thai Pusam and a performance for the annual Independence Day celebration of Sri Lanka at the High Commission in Singapore.

The company mourned the passing on of legendary artiste, Lakshmi Viswanathan and held a memorial event for her at AVAI (at Apsaras Arts) that was attended by the arts fraternity of Singapore. Artists and rasikas from across organizations in Singapore were there to pay tribute to this legendary artiste who was very close to the Apsaras Arts family. Many long-time friends and long-term collaborators of Lakshmi Viswanathan from Singapore spoke at the event sharing their experiences of her, her art, and her remarkable personality. The speakers included Priyalatha Arun, Aravinth Kumarasamy, Akila Iyengar, Shantha Ratii, Lalitha Subramony, as well as Priyadarsini Govind and Rama Vaidyanathan who sent their messages online. Excerpts from Lakshmi Viswanathan’s performances in Singapore over the past 40 years were shared at the gathering.

In February, the Company travels to Sri Lanka for the screening of the dance film, SITA, inspired by the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, that will unfold at the Lionel Wendt Arts Centre in Colombo and will include a talk by Aravinth Kumarasamy on the work and its making.

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Devata: Guardians of Dance

BLK D Goodman Arts Centre

#01-24 90 Goodman Road Singapore 439053