#DIAP14: Days 4 & 5: 10th and 11th June
This year, the third international edition of Dance India takes place in Singapore, presented by Milapfest’s Singapore partners Apsaras Arts, with Esplanade and supported by National Arts Council Singapore. A new #DIAP14 series of articles on the Milapfest blog will tell some of the stories of this Asia Pacific edition of our international school.
On the fourth and fifth days of Dance India, early tiredness and midweek cruising give way to the feeling that we are already nearing the end. A new surge of energy fills the school as people realise that there are only a few hours left with our teachers.
Scholar Dr Pappu Venugopal Rao arrives in Singapore to deliver two lectures on Sattvika Abhinaya, sharing his expertise on the various forms of abhinaya, and how dancers can understand, research and then express the most subtle emotions of their stories and messages in their choreography. Hours and hours of research and knowledge are passed on in two sessions of just under 2 hours each, in a whirlwind appreciation of the art form, and there are fascinating interjections by The Dhananjayans and Madhavi Mudgal as they attend the sessions too. In core teaching sessions, our teachers are coming to the end of their choreography, or towards the end of their planned sessions, so questions, recordings, discussions and debates help to guide the final two days of tuition, ensuring that our students leave with as much as they can!
In “Developing Sancharis”, a session delivered by the Dhananjayans showcases some beautiful incidents and stories, telling students how they can create the atmosphere of a story, of various emotions and tell a story in the most effective way. Another really interesting interjection comes from Lakshmi Viswanathan, who demonstrates how the same story can be told in very different styles.
It is also the start of our final preparation for the two showcase performances at Esplanade and our teachers spend their time on Days 4 and 5 shuttling between Goodman Arts Centre and Esplanade, preparing lighting, sound and commentaries for the performances to come. It is the first time staff and faculty get into the city centre, and enjoy views and the energy of Singapore’s famous harbour and marina.
It’s an inspiring sight, and makes us remember our location at the heart of South-East Asia, in a place some call a perfect introduction to the vastly diverse continent. Singapore is home to Indians, Malay, Chinese and Expats from around the world, and Indian dance has found a home here amongst thousands of students, teachers and aficionados.