#DIAP14: Finale & Showcase Performances

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 last morning of Dance India Asia Pacific, we see a hint of the dramatic impact our gurus have on the participants of the school. Each class presents an extract of what they have learnt, and even the challenge of performing informally in front of the professionals requires confidence and courage! Though the purpose of the week is not only learning a choreographic piece, technique and repertoire guided some of the learning, and the participants share their work in the black box theatre at Goodman Arts Centre.


After both teary and joyful farewells between participants and gurus, and a closing ceremony for all participants, a final lunch and a lot of photographs bring an end to the teaching in Dance India Asia Pacific 2014.

The focus shifts to the world-class theatres at Esplanade, and our partners for Dance India host two evenings of showcase performances.

DIAP Showcase Performances

Day One: Thursday 12th June

On the first evening, we open with an invocation in Kathak, “Guruve Namaha” by Gauri Diwakar. A perfect opening to the performances, Gauri presents choreography by Aditi Mangaldas, in her first Dance India appearance.

The evening continues with a three-part performance by Mythili Prakash. First, in a hymn to all-pervading Shiva, the Panchakshara Stotram explores, Na, Ma, Shi, Va, and Ya as representations of the five elements, Earth, water, fire, air, and ether respectively. In an ashtapadi by Jeyadeva, Mythili then explores a story of Radha and Krishna, and finishes with a Tarana in Raga Natbhairav, inspired by the music of both Pandit Ravi Shankar and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.

The final part of the evening is a memorable and arresting performance by The Dhananjayans, displaying the experience of deep knowledge and their range of performances. First, a tribute to the Hindu god Muruga in his various forms; then in the ‘Eakaaharya Paatra’ style rarely seen outside India, in which the action is played out by one actor or dance, VP Dhananjayan tells the story of Nandan and Vediar. Finally, a Swathi Tirunal composition tells the story of the Raas Leela and an Ashtapadi that of the evolution of life, from the point of view of various avatars of beings.

Day Two: Friday 13th June

The second Showcase begins with Lakshmi Viswanathan, in a classical display of Abhinaya told in four parts, each exploring various facets of Shringara (Love), through the eyes of a Nayika (Heroine). First, Radha expresses the forlorn state of longing for her beloved Krishna; next, a Nayika dreams of the torment of being apart and envious of her beloved; in a playful manner, a Javali tells the story of teasing and temptation; and finally, another Javali tells the story of a bold and confident Nayika, resenting the actions of her lover.

Madhavi Mudgal begins her Odissi performance with a Mangalacharan, or offering in flowers to the earth, asking for the blessings of the gods, the teachers and the audience. A pallavi is an elaboration or flowering, in which the dancer builds up musical motifs into a series of complex musical patterns. The performance ends with Yahi Madhava, a piece from the 12th century Gita Govinda, in which Lord Krishna’s love for the jealous and hurt heroine Radha.

The finale to Dance India 2014 is a performance by Shijith Krishna. The first poem celebrates the sun, describing the poetry of Subramania Bharati, in which he describes the sun both in terms of classical philosophy and contemporary physics. A bhajan by OS Arun then describes an episode from The Ramayana, in which Rama searches for Sita in the forest. Finally, a simple devotional verse by the Kerala poet Poonthaanam describes the process of how he bore life’s deepest sorrows with faithful dedication to Lord Krishna.

The depth and variety of performances in the two evenings are equally offered to audiences and the participants of Dance India 2014, giving them both an insight into the dance forms, and inspiration for their own learning. Dance India Asia Pacific is over, and in around 6 weeks, many of these gurus, along with other members of faculty for both music and dance, will join us in Liverpool for Dance India, Music India and the Indika Festival!

Dance India Asia Pacific takes place from 6th to 13th June in Singapore, and Dance India UK is from 25th July to 1st August in Liverpool. Archana Shastri (Head of Dance Development) and Alok Nayak (Director of Development) will be reporting from Singapore. Follow their updates on this blog, and on Milapfest’s  instagramtwitter and facebook at #DIAP14. For further information on Dance India, please contact +44 (0) 151 291 3949 or info@milapfest.com.

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