Dakshina’s 12th Annual Fall Festival!
Join Dakshina for our 12th Annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts
Professor C. V. Chandrasekhar is one of India’s senior most Bharata Natyam dancers, academician, dance scholar, composer, and choreographer. He retired as Head of the Faculty of Performing Arts of M.S. University, Baroda in 1992. Professor Chandrashekhar and wife Jaya Chandrasekhar are one of the best known dancing couples of Bharata Natyam in India, during the 1970s and 1980s, they performed with their daughters Chitra and Manjari. He now runs his own dance institution, Nrityashree, in Chennai.
Professor Chandrasekhar started his dancing career in 1947, when there were few male dancers. He served at the Banaras Hindu University and later joined M.S. University of Baroda, where he retired as the Head and Dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts in 1992. Professor Chandrasekhar is a multi-faceted personality being a dancer, choreographer, researcher, musician, academician, composer and highly acclaimed teacher of Bharata Natyam. He has been performing for the past six decades in India and all over the globe and is invited by many dancers the world over to teach and to choreograph. A much revered dancer who is now 80 years, his presentation of Bharata Natyam technique is at its finest and continues to be an inspiration for all dancers.
Rama Vaidyanathan is one of India’s leading classical dancers. She is considered as one of the best interpreters of the ancient art form of Bharata Natyam. She has been fortunate to have trained intensively under the legendry dancer Yamini Krishnamurty. Rama has also been under the guidance of the eminent Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan. Everyone who has seen Rama perform is struck by her unique thought process and fresh approach to dance. While deeply rooted in tradition. She has evolved her own individual style without forsaking the core principles of Bharata Natyam.
Rama has been performing professionally for the past twenty years and is one of the most sought after dancers of her generation. She brings to her dance a rare sense of devotion and dedication, which leaves the audience with a sense of spiritual fulfillment. In SRUTI, India’s premiere magazine for the performing arts, noted dance critic Leela Venkataraman writes, “The dancer’s fluency in negotiating space, her intuitive ability for well- crafted and nuanced choreography with a sense of ‘belonging ‘ with the theme and a feel for aesthetics are all factors to reckon with.”
Daniel wrote his first dance review after feeling compelled to articulate why Rama Vaidyanathan’s performance at Kalakshetra moved him so much. Read Daniel’s blog post here.
The production, choreographed by Rama, will be performed by herself and her daughter Dakshina, and will be accompanied by her ensemble of musicians from India. Lighting Design is by Sridhar Shanmugam.
“Another artist now showing real mastery was Rama Vaidyanathan; and in her recital, the surprising element was humor, with constant dashes of satire, wryness and amusement.” – New York Times
“Ms. Vaidyanathan showed the beauty and expressiveness of Bharata Natyam in terms of full-stretched line, gesture and rhythm.” – New York Times
Sunday, November 1
Famous for many years in India as a classical dancer, Dr. Mallika Sarabhai first came to the attention of the world as a stage actress for her highly acclaimed performance in Peter Brook’s “The Mahabharata”. Ironically, the only Indian in this multi-national epic production, she played Draupadi and performed the role over 5 years in both the French and English stage versions, the film and the television version. With her smoldering beauty, mellifluous voice and sensual elegance she dazzled audiences with her brilliant and moving portrayal of the wife of the five Pandava brothers. Frequently using humor to address serious issues, she imbues her art with strong and positive affirmations to try to raise the consciousness of her audiences, creating ripples of awareness that lead to change—particularly the empowerment of women. Dr. Sarabhai launched Dakshina’s Fall Festival in 2004 and it is a great pleasure for Dakshina to have her back in Washington DC.
Dr. Sarabhai’s works are unique in their commitment to aesthetic/artistic perfection while staying deeply committed to social justice issues such as poverty, dowry deaths, female infanticide, rape, non-violence, ecology, and gender/caste disparities. Under her leadership, Darpana Academy created the “Center for Non-Violence” the first organization in India to connect social justice work with the arts. She is one of the few artists in India to take her works to the slums of India; more importantly she develops her work based on the issues that surround the slum dwellers. In the slums (ghettos) the audience members often become part of the performance, when they join in for an impromptu story telling of some of the injustices they face during Sarabhai’s performance. Thus, her performances enable the audiences to voice their concerns and she often helps to organize their self-empowerment efforts as well. Her eloquent and impassioned fight for justice through the arts has not gone unnoticed. She has been praised for her strong leadership and has even been placed under house arrest when she spoke out against the tacit government policies that oppress the minorities in India.
Undaunted, Dr. Sarabhai continues her work in the arts and human rights, she says her choreography “stems out of a desperate need to talk about an issue. That is the engine of my work. It is my role as an artist to instigate uncomfortable discussion.” She dedicates her drive and her background in theater, dance, and music to constantly challenge the status quo. Dr. Sarabhai uses her knowledge of ancient art forms and traditions of India to address current realities in India.
Follow Dakshina / Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company on Facebook for more information on the upcoming Fall Festival of Indian Arts!
Highlights of Dakshina’s 2013 season
Pamela Squires writes, “In only 10 years, the annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts has become a Washington area mainstay. The festival’s dynamic program Friday at Sidney Harman Hall demonstrated that this first-rate festival is mature for its years, yet still young enough to bristle with bright promise. It is a heady combination.” Read full Washington Post review. September 22, 2013.
Sarah Kaufman, the Pulitzer price winning chief critic at the Washington Post writes: “It’s fitting that Singh, whose fascination with Sokolow has led to excellent productions of her works over the years, chose to present this gem. The weekend performances, with sharp new costumes by Judith Hansen, were a homecoming of sorts, as the work premiered in 1970 at Towson University in Towson, Md. Lorry May, who danced with Sokolow for more than 30 years, staged the work for Singh’s company.” Read full Washington Post review here. April 15, 2013.
Washington Performing Arts Society, in association with the Pola Nirenska Memorial Awards Committee, announces the presentation of the 2013 Pola Nirenska Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Dance to Daniel Phoenix Singh. Pola Nirenska (1910-1992) was a matriarch of modern dance in Washington, DC who survives through her work, and the gift of an annual award to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to dance. Read more about the Pola Nirenska award here.
Can We Count On Your Support in 2015?
In 2013, Dakshina’s performances reached close to 7000 community members. Dakshina’s Unique Adult Outreach Program provided free tickets to over 400 underprivileged adults through our work with local partners such as (SOME) So Others May Eat, Christ House, Martha’s Table and Miriam’s Kitchen. Our partnership with Class Acts Arts will bring the joy of dance to 25 schools and community organizations this season!
Your support made this growth possible. How? Every dollar you donated went directly towards our artistic projects and outreach programming. Dakshina is currently run entirely by volunteers, with zero dollars going towards administrative costs.
How You Can Help
|1.||Click here to make a secure, tax-deductible contribution online in less than a minute. Make a difference in the lives of local dancers. If you’d rather send a check, please mail it to Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company, 4607 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20011.|
|2.||See if your Employer will match your donation to Dakshina (remember we are a registered 501(c) 3 organization)|
|3.||Spread the word, Tell 5 of your friends about Dakshina, ask them to match your donation and sign up for our email list.|
Keep us on our Feet–You are the dance!
Want to experience the movement? Join Dakshina today!
Currently Dakshina is seeking Board Members and volunteers who have experience in the following areas: Fundraising, Corporate Relations, South Asian Community Liaison, LGBT Community Liaison, Non-Profit Law, and Accounting. In addition, we are looking for event planning volunteers to help us organize our 2015 season. Our volunteers get to meet international artists and work in a hands-on environment, meet wonderful people and have fun while doing it all. Make a difference in your community and the arts scene. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started. Visit our Facebook page for ongoing updates and to get a sneak peak at our rehearsal pictures. www.facebook.com/DakshinaDC.