By Loganayagi Govindarajan
Back in 2010 , Apsaras Arts was invited to participate in the celebration of Thanjavur Big Temple (Periya Kovil) for turning 1000 years old. The temple was called The Brihadeeswara temple in the town of Thanjavur, southwest of Chennai. This ancient temple was built by Raja Raja Chola in 1010 AD for Lord Shiva and has been recognised in UNESCO’s list of world heritage monuments.
Joining dancers from various dance schools across India and the globe, Apsaras Arts company dancers from Singapore were blessed to part of the temple millennium celebrations. One might wonder how the planned performance was executed with 1000 dancers to commemorate the temple’s significance?
All 1000 dancers did perform in unision to three Bharatanatyam numbers compiled, scored and choreographed by Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subramaniam, an eminent dancer and President of ABHAI (Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India) under the support of the state government of Tamil Nadu and the late Chief Minister, ‘Kalaignar’ M Karunanithi. I joined our Apsaras Arts team in September 2010 to honour Lord Shiva’s temple celebrations. We offered our beloved dance at the feet of our beloved dancing God. We danced to three dance numbers such as the Ganapati Kautuvam, Thiruvisaippa of Saint Karuvur Thevar, the spiritual Guru of the Chola King and Siva Panchakshara Sthuthi of Adi Shankaracharya.
Personally for me, this occasion was also a kind of thanksgiving to the Chola history and rulers, the sacrifices and hard labour of so many strong man, artisans and elephants behind the construction of such a magnificent temple rich with indian architectures. The entire experience itself was not only spiritual but extremely special for any dancer. Similar to visiting a pilgrim site like Mecca, Jerusalem or Kailash, this was a pilgrimage for bharatanatyam dance communities at this holy temple ground to validate their dance dedication to Lord Shiva, our King of Dance.
As a dancer, this trip helped me uncover my true purpose in dance. Apart from thanksgiving to the Lord of Dance, this was also an opportune to honour my Gurus who have imparted knowledge of this beautiful art form and shaped me into a fine dancer and educator today. My journey continues in touching lives with my Seva to God and my Gurus through dance.
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Travel Diaries Little Angels in Paris Just as we celebrate our founder, Neila Sathyalingam’s birth anniversary, we travel back in time to share a travel nugget from Little Angels, a multi-ethnic ensemble she co-founded. The Singapore Multi-Ethnic Ensemble Little Angels was formed in 1985 by three prominent dance teachers. Neila Satyalingam, Som Said and Yan ... Read more
The France Tour A detailed report of Apsaras Arts tour to France Over the years, France, as a country, has emerged as a hub for the performing arts and is an important destination in the international touring calendar of Apsaras Arts. We, at Apsaras Arts, have had the privilege of visiting France with our work ... Read more
Memories of an Odissi-dancer-to-watch from the International Dance Festival at Bengaluru By Soumee De Early on a chilly January morning, when I landed from sunny Singapore at the Bengaluru airport, I was both anxious and excited to be represent Singapore at the International Dance festival, hosted by World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific, Karnataka chapter at ... Read more
NAVADISHA 2016 An opportunity to network with the Indian Dance Fraternity from the Northern Hemisphere By Aravinth Kumarasamy For the past two decades and more, I have been attending the Natya Kala Conference in Chennai, and a few other such international dance conferences in India and Singapore, in addition to the many ASEAN conferences in ... Read more
Remembering Rukmini Devi Festival 2020 By Vidhya Nair The annual Remembering Rukmini Devi Festival is held in the last week of February-early March to coincide with Smt Rukmini Devi’s birth anniversary which is February 29th. I was privileged to attend the festival in 2020 [ my last trip overseas before the pandemic hit!]. The ambience ... Read more
Durban Trip This month, Vijaya Nadesan, Academy Principal shares memories from 2002 of a trip to Durban by seven members of the Apsaras Dance Company led by co-founder Neila Sathyalingam. “The first stop was the wide stretch of the beautiful beach. We had a wonderful time strolling along the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. ... Read more
By Soo Mei Fei As Mei Fei recalls her experience at the ASEAN Youth Summit 2019 held at India, two years on, she finds herself still pondering about dance as the bridge that connects. “It is never an ending point, but a starting point that branches out to various paths. It is a journey that ... Read more
By Kshirja Govind “No matter what, as dancers, we should all bond well and become a cohesive unit to bounce energy off each other. This simple advice went on to become the unofficial motto of our India trip. The energy we were bouncing of each other between dancers, between the dancers and the musicians, and ... Read more