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 the prestigious Seva Sadan at Malleswaram. The three-day festival in January 2010 featured dancers from India, USA, Malaysia and Singapore presenting Bharatnatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi. I had the honour of sharing the stage with Navia Natarajan from USA on January 10th evening session.
What touched me was the warmth of the organisers who inspirational performers (Mrs Veena Murthy Vijay, Mrs Anuradha Vikranth, Mrs Sharmila(di) Mukerjee) and their respect, care, thoughtfulness towards each performer. From the warm welcome at the entrance of Seva Sadan premises, to personal introductions to the hall-packed audience, from introducing us to the media critics to managing the logistics seamlessly – lights, video and photography. The seasoned professional artistes and Gurus who curate and select the dancers from around the globe, also take care that the experience of both the performer and the Rasika happen to be authentically delightful. While the trip was full of emotional highs, I learnt insightful lessons about the life of a performing artiste during this momentous trip.
The next morning, I woke up to this surprise review comment by the musician-art critic, Mysore V Subramanya in the Deccan Herald!
“Soumee De Girotra, who gave a Odissi dance recital in the World Dance Alliance, is from Singapore. Young and enthusiastic Soumee De has practiced Kathak, Ravindranrithya and Music, apart from Odissi. She opened her recital with Mangalacharan, customarily, followed by Thrikandi Pranam. She performed the pallavi gracefully with the lilting nritta. With all the physical graces needed for dance she presented the astapadi of Jayadeva neatly. Her ‘Dashawathara’ was also attractive. Soumee De is undoubtedly an Odissi dancer to watch.”
Little did I know that in a few months I will discover the joy of motherhood. This memorable dance travel diary marked my last trip overseas to perform. A decade later, with two adorable sons, I feel nostalgic remembering the highs-lows of traveling with dance-only luggage. On an optimistic note, I feel fortunate that we have opportunities to perform and teach our classical art forms here at Singapore.
Below are two links to the of reviews posted about the dance performances in detail. Hope you will enjoy this walk down the memory lane, as much as I did writing about it!
Travel Diaries A trip to the learning campus – Monash @ Melbourne, Australia for IPAC 2022, was for Apsaras Arts and its team, the possibility of learning and creating memories, aplenty After curating and convening the Indian Performing Arts Convention (IPAC) in Singapore annually for 11 years, it was exciting for Apsaras Arts to travel ... Read more
Travel Diaries A first-person account on the culture, tradition, art, life and architecture of the country Bali by dancers of Apsaras Arts, Janani Arun Kumar and Periyachi Roshni. As we entered the cultural heartland of Bali, Ubud, our eyes were transfixed on the intricate soft stone carving in every single house on the street. While ... Read more
TRAVEL DIARIES Of lights, tours, board games and Sri Lanka Chandigarh-based lighting designer, Gyandev Singh, brings to life his experience of touring Parama Padam through cities and the sights and sounds of Sri Lanka Parama Padam The game of Snakes and Ladders- Touring Sri lanka- The pearl of Indian Ocean Since its premier back in ... Read more
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
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
A dance tribute by one thousand Bharatnatyam dancers to the Lord of Dance 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. ... 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