Bharatanatyam competitions: compare these 3 and learn how to win !

Bharatanatyam competition…

Have you read our article on judging Bharatanatyam performances?🙂

Everybody nowadays seems to be hunting after titles, awards and prizes. While Anita Ratnam describes how politics works on the “senior” level, it is much simpler with the junior dancers. Any dancer from Chennai can get a worthless title of ‘Singar Mani’ whenever she cares to apply for a “competition” in a cultural Sahara Desert (of Mumbai) where 5 hand-picked contestants compete for 3 titles.

What about the capital of Bharatanatyam, Chennai?

Narthaki recently published a very in-depth Review “Bharatanatyam competitions of Natyarangam in Chennai”. It did not cover the 3rd category (professionals in the 18-25 age range), so we added a brief description of it below.

Some of the junior participants came for all competitions, including the crappy TTD competition too (where you cannot win a prize unless the theme is about Vishnu’s avatars or the related like Anjaneya, etc) on 27 July (thanks N. for her report that we have just received!).

It is interesting to compare it with another competition conducted a week ago by the Music Connoiseurs Club (MCC) (another of our contributors, K., was kind enough to send a brief outline of what was happening there).

There were over 150 contestants at the “no limits” Music Connoiseurs Club’s competition. There were less than 50 at the TTD, where a third of the contestants were… between 5 and 8 years old, the age when the kids cannot even walk properly, leave alone understand the lyrics! The other age groups were 9-12 and 13-17. Not for adults. The privilege of performing the first in each category was given to the students of Anita Guha, whose dance school is across the road from the TTD. Mr.Srinivasan, the TTD representative, said to K., “Yes, I give preference to Anita’s, and this is none of your ****** business”.

Does the number of contestants speak about the prestige of a particular competition?

Not just the number: very few schools sent their best dancers for the TTD competition. Among them were Yamini Devi (Gopinath’s student), R.Archana (Vani Gayatri’s), S.Nikita (Divyasena’s), Shafali, Kavya, Rohini and Shivatmika (these 4 as well as a few more are Anita Guha’s) and S.Sahana (Sikkil Vasantha Kumari’s).

Music Connoiseurs Club’s competition had to split the participants into 5 groups, and were holding the competition in 2 groups simultaneously – in 2 different halls. Well, to be precise, one “hall” was a generous 2.5 x 2.5 metres of a corridor in the PSBB school in Mandavelli. While this tiny space was enough for the smallest kids, the 13-15 year olds found it too small to dance there.😦 The Dakshinamurthy Auditorium, in the same compound of the PSBB school, was empty at the time.

The TTD offered the dancers a similar “generous” 4 x 2 metres of slippery space. The judges were seated not in front of the stage but… at the side. Very innovative! Since TTD is a church whose business depends on how many people attend their functions, they made the parents of the contestants wait for the announcement of the winners from 5 till 8.30 inside the hall (to rescue by their presence the poorly attended “religious” function)

Winners

We do not understand why the TTD representative announced that the chief guests at the competition were… the chief of Chennai police and the chief of the Airports Authority of India. The dancers were neither criminals nor did they want to fly aircraft. It took a record 7 hours for the TTD to announce the winners (obviously, after strong, behind-the-scene, political debates between the chief policeman and the chief Airport authority). TTD’s Mr.Srinivasan said to K., “If Natya Shastra lays down the criteria of who can be a chief guest, I must tell you that I don’t care. TTD does not follow any shastras. TTD is a religious ogranization that is guided in its mission not by the Hindu scriptures but by the latest circulars issued by the atheist business and political community“.

The results of the Natyarangam and the MCC’s competitions were available immediately (within 15 minutes after the end). The reasons were very simple. For example, to keep some visibility of decency , Natyarangam’s Sujatha Vijayaraghavan specifically asked the parents and the gurus not to come and speak to the judges (Natyarangam members were exempt from such an exception, for some reason) while those were tallying their scores (and swearing loudly, we guess!). All the tallying at the MCC was done in the PS school’s corridor, in the open view of a few participants who were still present there.

Ramya Sudarshan (a student of Latha Ravi) got the 1st prize at the MCC competition in the seniormost category, where she was perhaps – at the most – very marginally better (the choice of item was perhaps a bit more interesting) than Suvasani Kannan who got the second prize at the MCC. The agile and expressive Jyoti, the best student of Chitra Subramani, did not get any prizes at the MCC, even though she danced very well. The two boys who came were not able to dance at all, which annoyed the judges, Madurai Muralidharan and the other judge, so much that they took pains (the judges rarely do it) to explain to one of those useless guys his uselessness and teach him a lesson right in front of the other contestants.

The winner of Natyarangam’s senior group (18-25) competition’s 1st prize was Suvasani K. The second went to S.K.Lavanya, a student of Sasirekha Rammohan (who did not send her charming Sheha Ramachandran to the varnam category). Mamta Rao and Anaga Bharath, who used to be very good, this time were below the high expectations and above a normal weight.😦 V.M.Supriya and Madhurika were even worse, but not as bad as Yashini Shankari, Gayathri Vaidyanathan, Vishambara and Srividya Manikandan (these were total cows!). The overweight and clumsy dancers had to swallow a bitter pill: the 2 slimmest and most agile contestants were at the top of Natyarangam’s competition in the senior category.S.Sairam proved that men are no match for women as far as Bharatanatyam goes. Why didn’t such far better male dancers as S.Krishnan (of Ritanjali School Of Arts) care to participate?

Curiously, some students remain some of the strongest prize-hunters (and are among the most visible on the Internet!):

  • the 1st prize at MCC in the 13-15 y.o. group was given to Varsha Uma Balabharathy;
  • the 1st prize at MCC in the 10-12 y.o. group was given to a previously unknown Sandhya Ramesh;
  • the 2nd prize at MCC in the 8-10 y.o. group went to Mridula Sivakumar

We have just received an angry comment (we quote a moderated piece of it, removing the nonsense and grammatical errors🙂 and insert it here instead of letting it get attached at the bottom of this lengthy review) from Anusha Gopalakrishnan of Chennai:

“It’s not fair and very demoralizing for the other schools’ students to read this blog’s entry stressing the rising virtual monopoly in the Bharathanatyam competitions field since another big school, Bharathanjali, regrettably lost its stature a couple of years back. I fully support Natyarangam’s policy that the big schools must not be allowed to usurp all dance competitions by sending more than 1 contestant.

How harmful it is? In the past 1.5 months there have been 5 dance competitions in Chennai. In your review you write about 3 competitions, but do not mention that SN’s dancers, Uma Ramachandran and Shravanthi, were the winners at the other 2 Bharatanatyam competitions that took place the day before the Music Connoisseurs Club’s competition. These competitions were
A) Chennai district’s competition of National Bala Bhavan, and
B)
Chennai district’s competition of the BSNL Cultural & Sports Wing

If 2 competitions happen on the same day, how can a smaller school find the number of strong contestants to match the big schools’ dancers?

We strongly protest against such practices and will seek the abolition of such judgment parameters as choreographic quality and music quality. It is not fair if SN dancers win because they demonstrate better choreography and can afford to bring studio-recorded music!”

Hmmm… Arul writes that

a piece and how it is performed are two different things. I mean, you can have a brilliant dancer perform a mediocre piece. And you can have a fairly good dancer perform a piece that is a great composition.

The tiny 16-18 y.o. group at MCC had hardly any contestants at all (they are all busy with their 12th Standards and entrance exams!!!). The most impressive was Madurai Muralidharan’s H.Ranjini, even though she forgot that some steps have to be done with both feet, not just with one! 🙂

3 competitions: different approaches and different results!🙂

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Competitions are merely an external motivational factor. The dancers want to achieve success with some degree of success in competition with others. The dancers with poor motivation experience relief that they have avoided a failure. They do not enjoy or seek feedback.

The intrinsically motivated dancer will
1. prefer challenging tasks
2. respond with effort and persistence after failure
3. be creative and expressive
4. have a high self-esteem

The achievers, thus, establish very difficult but realistic goals and actively pursue them, even take some risks. They experience intense satisfaction from success, and maybe pride. If they feel they have tried their best, they are not bothered by failure. They prefer tasks that have clear outcome. They prefer to receive a harsh feedback from a competent critic than from someone who is friendlier but less competent. They like to struggle with a problem than seek help.

Women are more interested in goals that relate to social interaction. Women are more likely to feel good about their interpersonal skills than concrete achievements. Men who succeed believe they have done so by virtue of their abilities, while women believe they have been lucky.

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Although, unlike Sangeetha, I do not really like the idea of being a merely re-poster of some stuff found elsewhere, I will nevertheless incorporate this review (“Bharatanatyam competitions of Natyarangam in Chennai”) here – with our (indented and bold) comments, of course!!!🙂

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Contrary to the announcement published in Kutcheribuzz stating that the number of participants in each category would be limited to 20, in reality there was no limit in the Jatiswaram category. After the number of applications reached 42 in the varnam category, Natyarangam decided to cap the number of applications on a “one student per guru” basis, which reduced the number of the eligible candidates to 25, 4 of whom did not turn up. Perhaps, the democratic and egalistic “one student per guru” basis implied that the “Best guru” type awards are of no consideration.

June 14: Jatiswaram competition for children of 8 to 12 years

The judges, Ganga Thampi, Lavanya Ananth and Rupa Srikanth were introduced according to their height: from the taller to the shorter, probably with a compromise that the last one to be introduced will be the first one to announce the winners. The first prize winner, S Nikita is indeed a good dancer.

The fuzzy video clip that she posted on does not show her best. K. wrote that Nikita (a student of Divyasena) was far more impressive at the TTD competition, her nrittas were crisp, her abhinayas expressive and the footwork neat.

It was not particularly surprising to hear that Rohini, a student of Anitha Guha, got the second prize. According to another contestant, who studies in the same PSBB school in KK Nagar, Rohini was the best one of the 4 dancers. “Rohini is the best dancer in our dance school,” was the comment from another dancer, A J Subashree.

Rohini Rammohan took part both in the MCC and the TTD competitions, where she was not particularly impressive in the nritta part.

Interestingly, the first and the second prize winners were among the first 4 performers out of 28. I remembered my mother always told me, “At any oral exam, you should try to go in first: normally, you will have some advantage.” Rupa Srikanth praised the “surprisingly” high level of mastery of the contestants. Perhaps, the judges were so impressed at the very beginning, that they were marginally more favourable to the first few performers. To avoid such surprises, Rupa Srikanth could ask the Friday Review’s publishers to include the reviews of the younger performers more often: the children deserve it, and need it more than the senior dancers.

The contestants

“All the participants today deserve the first prize,” announced Rupa Srikanth. The little girls’ ears drooped as they heard this politically correct but incredible statement. Their eyes turned to their parents, begging for an explanation, probably perplexed how on earth Nikita and Rohini could be overall better than A J Subashree, Mridula, Ratna Ramesh, K V Shivatmika, or Vinisha Karthiravan.

K V Shivatmika proved to be quite mediocre at the TTD competition.

When I asked a few of them if they would agree with the judges’ decision, these outrageously candid little girls were unanimous: NO. Their eyes were very sad. I felt a bit uneasy and thought that, instead of advertising their workshops, Natyarangam could instead have provided a feedback session where the judges would explain to the contestants their marks and point out the dancers’ strengths and weaknesses. That is, if the judges made any notes. Otherwise, when the participants are not convinced by the authoritative judges’ verdict, what is the value of such authoritativeness from the contestants’ point of view?

“They are too young to understand the nuances of the technique and assess their performance objectively,” said a Natyarangam’s committee member. “Well, they are old enough to understand who dances better and who dances worse,” objected another spectator. Indeed, while some of the contestants made the crowd turn quiet, other contestants made their spectators turn their heads away from the stage and indulge in light gossip. Why would that adult-looking contestant eagerly take out her Handycam as soon as Mridula came onto the stage?

This is Mridula Sivakumar who got the second prize at the MCC competition. The first prize went to Kavya (Anitha Guha’s unusually fat and clumsy student who has reasonably decent abhinaya though🙂.
This is Mridula 2 years ago, I guess:

Why didn’t she want to shoot B M Akshaya Lakshmi? Why did another girl take out her mobile phone and was recording Subashree’s performance and was not particularly interested to watch K Vaishali?

I was wondering if, next year, the Natyarangam’s judges are going to be embarrassed in the same way as at some incidents at Kerala Higher Secondary Youth Festivals where 5-6 contestants, who had obtained the video of the previous year’s winner’s item, had the impudence to perform this same item with the identical choreography.

Comment:
You are going to hear more about scandals at the Kerala Higher Secondary Youth Festival’s competitions.

In the absence of Natyarangam’s archived videotaped records, it would be impossible for a contestant to prove the copyright of the original choreography.

The judges indeed had a very hard job selecting the top 2 contestants. While such contestants as A J Subashree, Mridula, Ratna Ramesh, K V Shivatmika, Vinisha Karthiravan, or perhaps even R Abhinaya and E Aishwarya Lakshmi were surely not worse than the first two prize winners, there were others, such as B M Akshaya, Y K Aishwarya or Shwetha Mahalakshmi, who were clearly far behind the other contestants. Rupa Srikanth mentioned the names of Shafali and R Ananditha as the ones who could have won the prizes too. While the petite charismatic Shafali surely deserves it fully, Ananditha, like H Shreya or Akshita, could only marginally be included in the first league.

Shafali did not win any competition’s prizes for one simple reason (her guru’s approach): she has only 1 expression on her face.

Yamini Devi, Gopinath’s student, was nearly as impressive as Subashree.

Criteria and marking

Some of the parents said they had an impression that the individual judges’ marks are to remain a big secret and would never be disclosed to the contestants. Perhaps, they did not want to embarrass the judges asking to substantiate their marks. Otherwise, the vague general statements do not always sound very convincing. The judges were to divide the “Angasuddhi” criteria into 2 sub-criteria: “General” and “Hands.” Well, I had always thought that angasuddhi included the overall co-ordination and synchronization of the hands with the rest of the body. The judgment criteria included a cryptic “Presentation & package” column, which seems to cover the make-up, costume, choice and quality of the recorded music, complexity and originality of choreography, and god knows what else. Another criteria was “Grace.” I assume it referred to Rekha.

Wrong: “Grace” means “Anga-Madhurya” and is related to “Lalita”.

Curiously, “Grace” is the term that I don’t remember Rupa Srikanth using in her reviews of the senior dancers’ performances. What about the term Angasuddhi? You will not find it even with a microscope. One may wonder then why the “Bharatanatyam recitals” that totally lack both Angasuddhi and Grace somehow manage to be reviewed in the Friday Reviews. Perhaps, the senior dancers thing, “After all, who reads Abhinayadarpanam or Natya Shastra today? Who cares about what is written there? Who knows that the dancer, according to Abhinayadarpanam, must be youthful, slender, beautiful? How many little dancers’ parents or even gurus know what is “Javaha”, “Rekha”, “Sthirathvam” or “Drishti”?”

It occurred to me that when Rupa Srikanth said the the little girls displayed a surprisingly high mastery, she could mean that none of the elderly dancers who occupy the Friday Review’s pages can dance Jatishwaram so well anymore. Perhaps, as Mukundagiri Sadagopan suggested in his letter published in Kutcheribuzz, Rupa could re-qualify the senior Bharatanatyam dancers as Katha Kalakshepam exponents?

While many of the girls displayed remarkably vivid, graceful, varied and genuine facial expressions at their nrittas, yet it appears that abhinaya was not counted, leave alone such time-proven criteria as Javaha or Drishti.

Promotional value?

Natyarangam gives the winners an opportunity to perform in Narada Gana Sabha’s mini hall – as a talent promotion.

Well, this time the fraudsters from Natyarangam cheated the winners: neither Nikitha nor Rohini were given a slot to perform!

But what is the value of such a promotion? A disappointed parent said, “It is not a problem for 2 dancers to pay the rent of the mini hall for 3 hours and give performances: the orchestra fees are much higher than the rent, anyway. What matters to us is how many people will come and watch these performances”.
The opportunity to perform is still considered as the key element in promoting young dancers. However, if 90% of the (normally scanty) audience who come and watch such performances include the dancer’s relatives, friends, schoolmates, parents’ colleagues and neighbours, what is the promotional value of such an opportunity? “You see, my 8-year-old daughter’s Bharatanatyam video we uploaded on the Internet a year ago has been receiving more than 5000 views a month,” smiled one parent. “How does it compare with 50-strong audience at a Natyarangam’s program?” she asked. One of the top contestants’ father, when asked if they can imagine Natyarangam posting the video of the competition on the Internet, commented, “It would be great! I am sure it would support and re-assert the judges’ authority too, as they were up to the mark today.”

June 15: Varnam competition for children of 13 to 18 years

While the Jatiswaram competition gave the contestants 5 minutes, the Varnam offered 7. And the judges were Priya Murle, Manjari and Sujatha Srinivasan. The contestants in this category too had no idea of what the judgment criteria were here. Just as it was the case with the Jatiswaram competition, in the Varnam category too, the winner was the first dancer who danced far better than the few preceding dancers. It seems that it is not only the level of the dancer’s performance but the order of the contestants that determines the winner. Few were watching Rahij Ramsharan’s dance. Next, you could see much higher standards in V Kripalakshmi’s performance, if it were not for her fixed smile and arms bending to 230 degrees when there should have been 180. R Keertana was marginally less impressive, and V Soundarya demonstrated that a girl doing nritta in a tandava style and making a thousands of shortcuts may not look particularly impressive. The next was R Reshma Krishnan’s slot, where she demonstrated very good nritta and overall danced somewhat better than the previous contestant.

The winners

And next…. was the winner: S.Sahana. While her nritta was abundant, in rather simple, straight lines, I bet she had rehearsed this fragment so well that every move was chiseled and had a professional-looking finish, the moves were absolutely crisp, and everything looked absolutely perfect, including her abhinaya. She was a head above all the previous contestants. No wonder she impressed the judges.

Sahana (a student of Sikkil Vasantha Kumari) has, first of all, 10 times more colors in her palette of abhinaya than most other contestants. Sahana was the only dancer with a “live”, rich, exuberant and bubbly abhinaya at the TTD competition’s seniormost (13-18) group.

Next was the second prize winner, Jai Quaheni. Even though her nritta movements were very limited and quite simple, each of these movements were very well polished.

Jai Quaheni won the 2nd prize at the MCC competition too. As for the the Natyarangam competition…. Well, Jai Quaheni is Chitra Visveswaran’s student, so the Natyarangam competition’s judges did not want to disappoint the VIP… Chitra Visveswaran was the guru under whom Sujatha Srinivasan had her arangetram. Any more questions?

And, thanks to Uma Nambudiripad’s tuition, Jai Quaheni’s abhinaya was powerful, profound, realistic and convincing. Sudharma Vaidyanathan shared the first prize with S Sahana. Sudharma won Natyarangam’s last year’s Jatiswaram, and has grown one year older.

For those who don’t know the undercurrents, Sudharma is the daughter of Chella who does all videography for… the above-mentioned judges. In addition, A.Lakshman is a close associate of Priya Murle, so she could not… You know!

Despite the fact that she underwent a surgery half a year ago, she was in excellent shape and the way she performed was very similar to S Sahana’s. Sudharma had one big advantage: even though her nrittas and nrityas were not particularly intricate, nevertheless the jathis that she started with, created by A Lakshman, were composed in a very original way, and the audio, obviously recorded at a studio, was very original too: an intricate combination for solo passages for nattuvangam, mridangam, sollukattu – and the pauses that caught the spectators’ (and the judges’) attention.

Most (stupid) dancers do not understand the importance of good music!

The would-be winners

The judges mentioned Swathi Ashok and Medha Hari as the contestants who could potentially have won the prizes. In fact, Jai Quaheni and a few other contestants too thought these two were going to win the prizes. So, why didn’t they? Swathi Ashok had the greatest stage presence and the most accentuated and powerful movements among all the other participants. Swathi Ashok’s guru, Urmila Sathyanarayanan (the other contestants’ gurus did not turn up), was sitting in the last row and perhaps could not see well what the judges noticed very clearly: that young Swathi’s abhinaya was quite superficial, quite artificial and rather unconvincing. The older Medha Hari’s performance displayed this shortcoming too, though it was not as obvious.

For those who do not know the ubiquitous Medha Hari, I suggest to compare 2 sets of her video clips on YouTube: the ones of 2002 and the ones of 2006 (you’d better get her DVDs). See the difference and the effect of the infamous “clone molding” she got at Bharathanjali.

A recent review of Medha Hari’s performance on ChennaiOnline reads “Her araimandi, attami, mudras needs a special mention as she was just too perfect” while the sad comments are like this:
hi medha! my friends were very impressed at your recital, and nritta especially! but also they expected to see beautiful araimandi lik you had few years back…

Medha Hari’s jathis, for some unknown reason, did not include the ultra-fast and complex nritta that helped her win the first prize at this year’s Indian Fine Arts competition. However, Medha’s movements were clean and clearly defined, while Swathi kept her feet too wide apart in araimandi and could not do atami properly. Another possible runner-up was one of the youngest participants, Harinie Jeevitha, who demonstrated a very original style and the most intricate nrittas and nrityas that, perhaps, needed a larger space than the meager 10 square metres of the mini hall. Her nritta movements still need to be polished to gain some more finish and precision. Harinie’s abhinaya was a bit too strained and overdone. The 13-year-old Harinie did not understand that she was dancing literally under the judges’ noses, hardly 2 metres away from them. The closer the spectator is to the dancer, the greater impact the abhinaya will have.

Natya Shastra says that the judges have to sit 6 metres away, in front (not at the side, like the TTD competition was arranged) of the dancers.

I guess the reasons that Medha Hari and Harinie Jeevitha did not win are simpler: none of the 3 judges appreciated the modern masala style of Medha Hari (on her web site they wrote that the style includes elements of Pandanallur, Vazhuvoor and Kalakshetra, but they are using Sudharani Raghupathi’s jathis, and many Mohiniattam and Kuchipudi elements!), nor were the judges familiar with the standards of the rarer, Melattur style of Harinie Jeevitha (who does it with a lively Kuchipudi flavour).
The lowest common denominator, Kalakshetra, rules!😦

The rest

The competition was quite tough. S Akshaya’s performance level was very marginally lower than the runner-ups’, followed by Nithya Subrahmaniam. Aparna Jayaram demonstrated a yet lower level of proficiency, followed by Poornima Balasubramaniam, Divya Sanpath (who brought the most horrible and noisy audio tape) and Reshma Krishnan. Shravani Joshi, for some reasons, could not demonstrate as high a standard as she did at last year’s TTD competition. Her movements were very constrained and looked quite weak. N Gayatri and S Ananthashree were quite mediocre but not as bad as C.Tara or the last competitor, who made the tired judges eager to end up the event as soon as possible. Their prayers were answered: neither Aishwarya Raghu, nor Divya Malayappam, nor Nithya Ramasubramaniam, nor Sanath Kumar turned up.

Sanath Kumar was the only boy who came for the MCC and for the TTD competition. He is quite tall and extremely lean, like a broomstick.🙂 His footwork was reasonably good.

Conclusions

The competition revealed a winning recipe for the top contestants: to win a prize, (1) Be one of the first 5-6 contestants and (2) make sure that, out of these 5-6, the others are the dancers who dance much worse than you do. The prize is yours.

Not quite. You need to select the item that would be suitable for the particular space!

There was indeed a very marginal difference between the top 5-6 contestants in each category. It is the individual judge’s weightage of the various sub-criteria that determined the winners. This weightage is not something that every judge is well aware of. For example, would one dancer’s perfect araimandi and mudras count more than another dancer’s agility and flexibility? What type and tradition of mukha abhinaya would be considered more favourably? Would a wide-range, accurate atami weigh more than the full-range, accurate footwork? Will the adavus performed in one style be given more marks than the adavus performed in another style? Indeed, would a particular judge consider the fully-lifted heels in Kudhitametti’s sixth step as more impressive (and how much more impressive?) than the half-lifted heels? How will it be reflected in numbers? We don’t know.

Had Natyarangam taken pains to print out a few awards for the dancers, such as “Special award for abhinaya,” “Special award for Nritta,” etc., and for the gurus, like “Special award for choreography,” more of the young dancers would receive what they need most: appreciation. It would be conducive to create the atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. The gurus would not complain that the judges’ decision was politically motivated.

It was interesting to observe that some of this year’s 1st prize winners, such as Medha Hari (1st prize at the Indian Fine Arts competition) or Harinie Jeevitha (1st prize at the all-India level competition in Hyderabad) did not win any prizes at Natyarangam’s competition, even though Medha Hari, along with Swathy Ashok, did receive a special mention by the judges. There are many reasons behind it. One of these is that, as we know, every dancer has his /her own favourite item or fragment that he / she performs the best, and it is not necessarily a Jathiswaram or a Varnam. Will Natyarangam hold a Thillana, a Kauthuvam and a Swarajathi competition next year? We don’t know.

The judges highlighted another reason: the children cannot do their best while dancing to the recorded music. While the Indian Fine Arts competition or the Music Academy’s Spirit of Youth provides the dancers ample time, more space and the support of a live orchestra to showcase a few different items that gives the judges a chance to make a comprehensive assessment of a particular contestant’s full range of strengths and weaknesses, a 5-minute fragment from a Jathiswaram or a 7 minute passage from a Varnam in Narada Gana Sabha’s tiny Mini Hall will not give the judges an opportunity to make a well-founded decision. This is why the judges clearly stated, “We are not judging how good a particular dancer is: we are judging today’s performances only.” Will most of the dancers tend to interpret it this way too in the absence of the judges’ specific comments? This is a big question.

Most of the contestants left unconvinced by the judges’ verdict. “I don’t think the judges are willing to explain and substantiate their assessment,” said one participant. Had each of the judges spared 20-30 seconds to comment on every contestant’s performance immediately after it ended, this competition would have not been considered as a waste of time by most of the participants. The absence of such comments and clarifications does not enhance the judges’ authority – on the contrary.

There is one thing that the organizers of almost any Bharatanatyam competition, and even more so the judges, are scared of. They are afraid of exposing the inadequacy of the judgement, and therefore would never even think of recording on video the contestant’s performances, even if these are mere 7-minute fragments from jatishwarams or 12-minute fragments from varnams. Maintaining such video records – even for the internal purposes, locked safely in Natyarangam’s archives – would pose serious risk to the reputation of the judges in case of an appeal, as they do at some Bharatanatyam competitions in Kerala, for instance. Appeal? Not with Natyarangam.

Unlike, for example, some Bharatanatyam competitions at Kerala Higher Secondary Youth Festivals, Natyarangam’s competitions envisaged no place for an appeal, as no video records were made and kept in Natyarangam’s archives for internal purposes, allegedly, due to some gurus’ objections. Such objections, though, do not sound particularly valid after a recent slew of TV broadcasts of full programs of full-length Bharatanatyam recitals recorded at various festivals as well as in the TV channel’s own studios.

Thanks to Narada Gana Sabha’s reputation, the competition attracted many young talents from Chennai’s Bharatanatyam schools. It is a pity we saw only 50% of those who applied for the Varnam competition. We don’t know why such potentially strong contestants as Anusha Narendran’s Bhargavi, Shobana’s S Anuroopitha and Shivani Shandiliya, Vijay Madhavan’s S Sri Gayathri, Roja Kannan’s S Sivasri, and many others apparently did not apply at all. Most gurus keep ignoring Natyarangam’s competition. Nevertheless many of the names listed above will determine to a large extent what the Bharatanatyam landscape will be in 10-20 year’s time. Perhaps next year Natyarangam could bring this competition to a higher standard, so that more participants would give it more importance, and fewer of the registered competitors would fail to turn up.

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Sujatha Vijayaraghavan became the Music Academy’s committee member in order to ensure that her own daughter, Swetha Vijayaraghavan, became the winner of the Music Academy’s “Spirit of Youth” festival-competition in 2007. Here is the poll :

Oh, these Bharatanatyam competitions…🙂

38 thoughts on “Bharatanatyam competitions: compare these 3 and learn how to win !

  1. i had left a comment and i wonder where it has gone as i come back to check it again.
    well i will repeat what i said earlier.
    there is nothing wrong in letting other express their views, this goes for both your writeups- latest. One can give feedbacks without scaring both the writer and the reader and without throwing so much of fire and force. In which case, only the fire and force will be noticed and revolted and the valid issues will be convieniently ignored. In the previous comment i said i wish the truth becomes more valid and strong with the raising voice and strong words, which, unfortunately, is not so. I hope you got what i want to say.

  2. Yes, your point is, the more personal attitude a review shows, the less chances it has to be considered seriously (especially by the people criticized there).

    What, my ego shows too much, eh?🙂

    My reviews should not be considered as some kind of emotionless and impersonal critique, but rather as literary masterpieces!🙂

    After all, this blog is not dedicated to Saraswati but to the scary Attahasayuta Kali !🙂

    She is Bhairavabhavini Bhavananta Sarasvataprada (bestower of eloquence).
    She is Kalidarpaghni (destructress of pride)
    She is Bhayanaka (giving fear)
    She is Kalavati (possessor of all the arts)

  3. It is great that there are even junior Bharatanatyam dancers in Chennai who can dance well!
    In the recent Annual Indian-American Festival organized by Hindu Temple and Cultural Society of USA there were 400 dancers but mostly bhangra and folk. There were scarcely any bharatanatyam dancers, and these had to compete against the kathak and odissi dancers too. No solo competitions for juniors below 12 as they are totally unfit for dancing anything more complicated than hip-hop. We hope that Sri Venkateswara Temple will introduce hip-hop, bhangra and bollywood as part of its daily services.

  4. dear Bharatanatyam,
    there are two things that require your consideration.
    1) i want to a write up for my blog that will include excerpts of our conversation and your articles. Will it be permissable by you? incase you want to know what it looks like, i can mail you. pls give me your email id for the purpose.
    2) could you please educate me on your knowledge on bharatanatyam, with which authority you speak. this is just out of my curiosity.

    rgds
    mallika

  5. Mallika, Your Highness (and other royalties) can be permitted to utilize as much from this humble blog (which itself is based on the contributions from various ignoble sources!) as you like. 🙂

    The only official request is: dear, at least try to understand what you copy!🙂

    My knowledge on bharatanatyam is very limited. Knowledge is like air: it does not belong to anybody. If I know the answer, I will always answer your question. If I don’t, I won’t, whether you write in a most affected humble manner or curse me in the most abusive language.🙂

  6. so is my knowledge about bharatanatyam. but i am not in the practice of ignoring what interests me- try to understand what i dont, if i dont, i leave it at that rather than misunderstanding.
    copying is the biggest compliment. thats y i take pride when people copy/steal my work and potray or sell as their own- iam not sure u know what iam talking about. sometimes a one liner of being a contributer is not enough. but neither i curse nor i abuse. neither i hide nor i complain. i remain. my guru once told me this- till draupadi tried to snatch away her sari from dushshasana, krishna didnt bother, only when she raised her hands and totally left it to god to save her modesty, krishna appeared and did save her. i dont prove myself as i firmly belive in total submisson.
    why hide bharatanatyam? its your choice anyway and i respect it.
    thanks for the permission. once i put it on my blog, i will let you know.
    rgds
    mallika

  7. Yes, your guru described very well the nature of Svaroopa Samarpanam. The important thing to remember is that Draupadi surrendered to Krishna (actively asking for help) instead of passively submitting herself to Dushshasana. There are many things in Bhakti that the dancer has to learn – and practise in everyday life.

    If I were you, I would study numerous Bhakti texts and compose new items that would bring out different aspects of Bhakti. Since you are in Christian-dominated Australia, and since Christianity is just a simple form of Bhakti, you could make it relevant to the Christians by composing the items that would highlight the similarities. It’s not necessary to take up the Christian themes: the explanation in the Christian terms would be sufficient.

    Well……. You would have to read and understand not only the Narada Bhakti Sutra but also the early (original) Christian texts, like Gnostic Gospels. I was surprised myself when I read in one of the apocryphic evangels (well…. technically… these are heresies🙂 but hardly any Christian laymen know it and bother unless you dare stage a Bharatanatyam performance right inside a church!!!🙂 ) very similar things you find in Tantras. Have a look at http://heresies.faithweb.com/apocrypha.html .My favourite is “thunder and perfect mind” – it is about Devi.

    As for hiding, you see…. One of the main purposes of this blog is to clean up all the garbage that has accumulated in the Bharatanatyam yard, to expose the darkness, the ignorance, and the filth. This makes some powerful people quite angry.🙂 They are angry because I am invisible, and their “power” is useless on the battlefield of the Internet.🙂

  8. there is much to learn from you indeed. i think
    i have a long way to go before i try myself at choreographing a piece. credits to my theatre experiance, or may be its just in my blood, i am good at interpreting poetry/feelings and also at abhinaya. since u suggest, do u have anything on mind, just to show me a path.

  9. it is definately frustrating to know that u know so much about me, being in australia, and i know nothing of u. but that doesnt matter now- (repeat the first line of last comment):-;

  10. I know very little about you. I don’t even know what items you have learnt. 😦 I don’t know what books you have read… I don’t know your tastes and preferences. How can I suggest anything?

    OK. Before writing a poem one certainly has to learn some (or a lot of?) vocabulary (e.g. apart from the 108 karanas, 120+ adavus, there are more than 400 hastha variations in Mohiniattam, if I remember well🙂 , and grammar , and you have to know music very very well. Have you read Sangeetharatnakara? And Abhinavabharathi? If you haven’t, I think right now your “path” would be to read some books, to begin with.

    Meanwhile, as an exercise, you can just try to modify (“upgrade”) somebody else’s choreography (as a base) and use the existing music records. 🙂

  11. Did anybody tell you about the competition conducted by http://ganamukundhapriya.com on 4 Oct?

    There were more than 100 dancers in 3 categories.
    Up to 10 years, then 11-17, and the seniors (almost half of the seniors were students of Anusha and Narendra Kumar who brought altogether 15 dancers!).

    The judges for all categories were Parvathy Mohan and Kutalam M. Selvam.
    After 5 pm, Parvathy left, and Selvam was left alone to judge the senior category. Hmmmm….

    *****************************************
    The winners (excellent dancers indeed) in the subjunior were
    Namrita Mohan,
    Vignesh Rammohan,
    Anandita,

    The consolations prizes got
    Yamini Devi, (didn’t dance so well that day)
    V.Varsha, (bad dancer)
    Aishwarya Ramana, (very good)
    R.Apeksha (very bad dancer)

    But I think among the prize winners could be these:
    Savita,
    Upanisha,
    Simran,
    M.Vidisha,
    Mridula Sivakumar,
    Harita Raniganesh,

    These were good:

    G.Bhavyalakshmi,
    Varchala Ashokan

    These subjuniors were mediocre:
    Yamini Devi,
    M.Gayatri,
    Shruthi Rammohan,
    Samyukta Balaji,
    A.Shruti,
    Manasa,

    Even worse:
    R.Padmavati Ganesh,
    S.Pooja,
    R.Apeksha,
    V.Varsha,
    Tarika,
    S.Krithika,
    Jayadarshini,
    Pranamya Rao,
    C.Vishnupriya,

    Revathi Krishnan and K.Deepika were so horrible, how did they dare to turn up???

    *****************************************

    The winners (all the 3 were excellent!) in the junior category were:

    Uma Ramachandran,
    S.Vijaya Vasavi, student of Anusha Narendran
    Sahana

    Consolation prizes got:
    D.Vidya, student of Anusha Narendran, (danced as well as the 1st prize winner!)
    Sanath Kumar, (not so bad this time)
    G.Grishma (was excellent)

    These too dancers were excellent:

    R.Janeni,
    B.Varsha,
    R.Subhiksha,
    S.Jayashree,
    R.Jayabharathi,
    V.Kaulinya,
    R.Sneha,

    It is very hard to pick the best from the above 12 dancers. I don’t know how the judges decided.

    Next, these were very good:

    K.Padmaja,
    S.Priyadarshini,
    A.G.Subhasri,
    Shruti Anand,
    N.Meenakshi,
    S.Meera,
    Yogina Rani Ganesh,
    S.Ananya,

    These were reasonably good:
    R.Poornima,
    A.Anupama,
    K.Sweta Mahalakshmi,
    R.Priyanthi (from Trichu, this girl ended her item with a side split, in a karana)
    R.Divya,
    T.Kanmani,
    S.Priyanka,

    And also these:

    Matavi Jayaraj,
    B.Abhinaya,
    Aarthi Sethuraman,
    R.Archana,
    C.H.Manasa,

    These were mediocre:

    Jayashree Anandasekharan,
    Tarika,
    E.Aishwarya Lakshmi,
    R.Jyoti Kritika,
    Pooja,
    D.Pavithra,
    S.Preethi,

    Below average:

    D.M.Akshaya Lakshmi,
    S.Vidya,

    The worst dancers were these:

    Revati Abirami,
    R.Shrikala

    *****************************************

    In the senior category, judged by Kutalam M. Selvam alone, there were 16 contestants:

    Kutalam M. Selvam liked these dancers and gave them the prizes:

    Suvi Kumar (superb man!), student of Anusha Narendran
    L. Anupriya (not so bad, but should not be the 2nd prize winner!)
    Akshaya (not so bad, but should not be the 3rd prize winner!)

    Consolation prizes:
    Anusha, (horrible student of SU)
    Nithya, (very bad dancer!)
    J.V.Gayathri, (could be among the prize winners)
    R. Poornima (danced as well as Anupriya or Akshaya)

    I think these should have been among the prize winners:
    N.Subhalakshmi,
    Suvasini Kannan,
    M.S.Gayathri

    Sri Vidya Madhubala was as good as Anupriya or Akshaya:

    Not so bad recitals were by:
    S.Pavithra,

    The mediocre ones:

    Chitra Rajaram
    Mamta Rao

    Below average:

    Pratiba Priyadarshini,
    V.Priya

  12. There is a swap market in awards-titles.

    We learned how Bhushans Academy trades prizes at their Festival “Nruthya Bhushana” in exchange for titles for themselves.
    The next competition is to be on 30th of November.

    There is this ad on narthaki.com:

    ———Posted by bhushansacademy@yahoo.com
    Bhushans To Be honoured by Bharatanjali | @
    Renowned couple dancers SRI BADARI DIVYA BHUSHAN & SMT ANJANA BHUSHAN,Directors of BHUSHANS ACADEMY OF PERFORMING ARTS & VISUAL PRESENTATION, Mysore will be honoured by Bharathanjali Trust, Chennai.
    with the object of serving the cause of classical fine arts, As a part of its activities, on the birthday of Swami Sri Sathya Sai Baba (23rd November), the Trust honors and awards titles to talented artistes.

    The award ceremony will be held on 23.11.2008 (Sunday) 5.30 p.m at Sri Maha Swamigal Auditorium – Vani Mahal, T.Nagar, Chennai.
    Alarmel Valli and Natarajan (former Director, Doordarshan) will be the guests of honour.

    This Trust is managed by dance guru Anitha Guha.
    ——

    I believe that Anitha Guha’s students have won and will win more titles/prizes from the Bhishans’ too:

    Aishwarya Narayanaswamy danced:
    At the “Nruthya Bhushana”, a National Level Dance Festival hosted by “Bhushans Academy of Performing Arts and Visual Presentation”, on the 6th of Oct, 2007 at the Jaganmohan Palace Auditorium, Mysore

  13. whoever writes this might be a dancer or not ….. if u have guts proove it by ur name otherwise why a *** are u writing this…………. everyone is not born great . even v dancers make mistake…. but it should be said directly to that person…. not through these *** websites … dare to proove it…. dance b4 us and we will make comments on u ….. dont just say it by words……..even leaving students u dare by commenting teachers …this is 2 much ….. this is because even u victimised me….
    u can search 4 me by my web address …..but it is waste ……stop making comments or u are a real ******…….

  14. What’s your name, dear?😉 You can call me….. Ashwini.🙂

    I am sorry you feel victimized. 😦
    If you read anything which is factually incorrect (the materials were submitted by many contributors, but I always cross-check everything), let me know so that I would remove that passage.
    It’s YOU who has to prove it to me, not that I have to prove anything to you.

    As for “it should be said directly to that person”, well, the young dancers hardly listen to anyone except their (current) gurus, and the dancers above 30 normally don’t listen to anybody at all. They believe they are already too wise. So what’s the point wasting time telling it to them? But when all their friends and gurus and everybody else reads my blog and goes and tells these “victimized” dancers, they will listen even despite their thick skin. See how many visitors read my blog?🙂

    As for their gurus, why should the gurus be spared?🙂 They are not saints, sorry. Most of the gurus don’t even deserve my respect.

  15. I manage the official academy affairs….the awrds at Bhushans academy are neither traded nor rigged..
    they are pooling all their money from their own earnings and run the festival.which all ready has lot of dancers waiting to perform.
    and aishwarya was selected among 67 artists for the fest…no award was given
    and note that she was a part of nruthya bhushana in 2007.if at all if the awrd given by anitha was bartered, how come there was none of anitha’s students in nruthya bhushana 2008? we all know anitha has many students apart from aishwarya….and offcourse many had applied for the fest.
    if anithas event happened on 23rd, bhushans nruthya bhushana was from 28th to 30th.
    only one thing gets proved, that dancers allways can think bad about good honest dancers who are struggling to keep up the spirit and create platform for young dancers(note that they themselves are young)

    artists are selected solely on their own credentials…and not on gurus.. mind it..its a theme based fest..600 cds are shortlisted to 14 performance slots!!!!

  16. Dear Pramita,

    People will always think bad about those festivals/awards when they don’t understand the process of selection of candidates for these festivals or awards. By the way, so far the official academy’s web site mentions nothing about the festivals/awards at Bhushans’ academy. Would you tell us the criteria, and the procedures, the names of all the applicants, runners-ups, etc?

    You might also elaborate on what constitues “outstanding achievements in Bharatanatyam” to qualify for VISISTA VANITHA PURASKARAM. If you don’t, people would always wonder how Rajinikanth’s daughter’s Kalaimamani’s title (for “significant contribution to Bharatanatyam”) is different from VISISTA VANITHA PURASKARAM.

  17. vishista vanitha puraskaram for bhushans is a big joke and people laughed from their asses. while one The hindu critic commented, off records, whether the couple was romancing, fighting ??!!! on stage in Vysakhi nrutyotsav. u can see the the video to PROVE that badri bhushan was busy adjusting his clothes(that so funnily is designed by himself that he looks like a ‘c’grade movie hero) and his jewellery.
    and this puraskar was also organized by the same guy as vysaki nrutyotsav. May i ask wat is the significant contribution done by them in the field of Bharatanatyam. While i can talk about others who recieved the award- bhusans made a big joke of themselves by accepting this award. and the joke of the millenium is – them presenting a paper on Aesthetics of Abhinaya in andhra universtiy. no prizes for guessing how they got this. but some one talking abt abhinaya who themselves can move a single facial muscle. i challenge bhushans to contest waht i said.

  18. To set the record straight, Visistha vanitha was given to Anjanaji, & not to Bhushan ji.
    they work with many disabled/spastic kids. teaching them to lead a normal life using dance as medium…
    the whole world knows about Bhushans, and not to forget Bhushan is a sought after designer ( by many dancers, actresses & models) he is from NIFT…
    They organise 6 international dance festivals at Mysore ( funded completely by BHUSHANS,and take very good care of the artists & pay them too..in -fact a 5 star treatment is meted out)
    And regarding your comments or rather that idiotic comment by that so called Hindu critic…all i can say is comments are free, but facts are sacred!!!!!
    their workshops on abhinaya is pretty famous, and they can move a lot of things including spectators hearts!!!!!
    And definately you can organise a event to see their histrionics…i can assure you they do accept challenges!!!

    last but not least, become something proove your worth….try doing atleast as half as what they have done and then i will think you have arrived…organising fests, dancing, teaching , serving ,conducting, hosting workshops and seminars…doesn come easily to everyone..the fact that they have 500+ students at 3 branches is a testimony for their talent & hard work. Being a part of the acdemy(I Am one of their students) humilty is one thing my sacred teachers “THE BHUSHANS” have taught me and several others…..
    all i can say is if some one is Jealous, it just shows How successfull the “VICTIMS” of criticism are!!!!

  19. Yes, no doubt that the fact that they have 500+ students at 3 branches is a testimony for their business talent & hard promotional work. I know many rich arabs in UAE who organise many more international dance festivals (bellydancing and strip dances too).

    But I saw only modern dance on their channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/designerbhushan ). I see no Bharatanatyam there. Maybe its great that the sacred teachers teach sacred modern dance to disabled kids, but what does it have to do with Bharatanatyam if none of these 500+ students can dance Bharatanatyam? I know two disabled kids (blind) who want to be airline pilots. Do you think we should support their vocational aspirations? And some mentally challenged kids want to be politicians. Dunno what to say.

    I see there is a shortage of workshops on abhinaya in Mysore if any modern dancer can attract some takers. By the way, I want to ask Surya to come to Mysore to teach some good abhinaya workshops (how much will they pay?). I know many Telugu actresses who may also be interested (they are good dancers, but don’t know Bharatanatyam, maybe they can learn it in 1-2 days).

    Few words about designing talents. If Bhushan is from NIFT, why there is no Bharatanatyam dancer in Chennai who wants to design costumes with him? All the good tailors in Chennai are very proud that they have no NIFT diplomas. Let me know when Alarmel Valli decides to order her costume from the sacred teachers. We know what costumes actresses & models wear. Almost none sometimes! Its good because its how they attract spectators from the slums.

    If humilty is one thing your sacred teachers “THE BHUSHANS” have taught you and several (why only several?) others, why I don’t feel this humility in your comment?

  20. Dear shalini Hegde,

    while guru bhakti is good, blind faith was never encouraged. total surrender is different from blind faith. the writer of this blog often mentions about spiritual experiance, once u have it, u will understand wat i am talking. Even Vivekananda asked Ramakrishna Paramahansa questions and put his guru to several tests.
    1) i know anjana was the one who received the award. What u dont know how she got it.
    2) iam quite impressed with your guru bhakti. the reason y they hold so many seminars is they themselves want to learn. hmmmm… y dont u start by asking them about types of lasyas, and c if they can answer without touching the book…..???!!! while u r at that, ask them the types of tandavas-pretty easy, ask them the poses, compositions, diferences, expressions,and the ‘whys’ of everything. Ask one more thing- to present one single padam in different emotions without losing the sthayi bhava of it.
    3) just becoz one doesnt have a website or publicize on narthaki.com abt what they are doing doesnt mean they are not doing anything. god and nature has their own way of doing things, they never come and ask anyone to praise them.
    4)i know atleast 2 finalists who were finalised for the same award. one is definately a better dancer and activist, and proved to be an intelligent human being when she turned down the offer for the award…. she felt she is not ready yet, now what word will your teachers say for that. she was praised in all the possible newspapers. talk of abhinaya, u shud c her -LIVE and atleast she doesnt adjust her dress while she is dancing on stage. thats an insult to NATARAJA.
    5) the other was for music. she influenced n number of kids to learn music. she herself was married at 5yrs and had 3 kids by 16yrs. now thats struggle.not to mention her other achievements. sorry donno her name.
    6) never NEVER mention NIFT for bhushan. i mean come on, i know they r ur teachers, but… be honest to ur self.
    7) I know of this NRI who was outrightly rejected to participate in a festival by Bhushas, (she was a co participant in another festival just days before).WHY? WHY? WHY? may be humility.
    8) darling you are talking about a critic of Hindu newspaper who grew old looking at performances and writing abt them. if he is not interested, it means U R BORING AND BAD.
    9) i also saw the performance of this guy who was give some ‘PURUSHA BHUSHANA” award. HE WAS MADE TO LEAVE THE STAGE AS HE WAS BAD,BORING AND EXCEEDED THE TIME.
    10) when u call the likes ANANDA SHANKARA JAYANT to lecture, people will come, students will increase etc etc….

    yes they can move a lot of things, only this time it was the spectators themselvs. yes VICTIMS, we are victims, becoz of their lobbying- they seem to be dancing everywhere and becoz of these mediocers no good dancer is getting a chance.

    now THANKS A LOT SMITHA. NOW I NOW IAM NOT ALONE IN CLEANING THIS MESS. IAM SURE SURYA WILL BE MORE ABLE TO GIVE SOME REAL GOOD ADVICE TO THE BHUSHANS IN ABHINAYA. one from me what my guru has said- if u r not it, u r not it and it shows.

    rgds

  21. Reg. Festivals & awards- if deserved persons not applied, then who applied for that function, we recognized them . I seen in this art field stuffed personalities demanding high, and they think organizer is doing programmes for money.but i told them in this way.organizer is giving platforms for artists ,i think organizer is cultural builder, not a broker.

  22. there is a discussion on http://rasikas.org/forum/topic9381-classical-indian-dance-competition-in-pune.html about another ( http://abssindia.org ), all-india competition where hundreds of dancers came from 18 states, u can have a look.

    2 strong schools (http://www.geethaganesan.com/events.htm ) left no chance for previous years winners like
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxv55AlEr1s ,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EavHSO2RjFA

    there are clippings with the prize-winning classicaldancers:

  23. Looks like all your smashing criticisms Natyarangam cancelled this year’s competition. Is this what you wanted to achieve?

  24. Hi,
    Your bad comments on Nikitha’s performance. It hurts to read such comments. I posted my daughter Nikitha’s video from the Pune dance competition last year because many people told me that her performance was good. So I posted it on you tube,in spite of the bad video quality ( this is the “best quality” video the organisers gave us for a fee). Instead of criticising, why don’t you write some encouraging words for the youngsters? I just wanted to tell you that many people have enjoyed the video and given a good feedback in spite of the poor video quality. Perhaps they are not as knowledgeable as you are, in this field. I am not sure.
    Kind Regards,
    Rema.

  25. Rema, we have seen Nikita dancing much much better than in that fuzzy video. The comments are in fact a compliment and an encouragement (tel me how to change the wording and I will do it!), and I don’t understand why it hurt you. As for the youngsters, they don’t get hurt because they can’t read English.🙂

    Nikita will be a great dancer if she continues practising hard, and if she understands that a skirt costume is only suitable for those dancers whose width is greater than their height.😉

  26. Thanks for the prompt response Ashwini. Nikitha reads something that is written about her (of course I ask her to) and does all that is necessary to improve when mistakes are pointed out. As I really thought that her performance in the Pune competition (prizes really don’t matter) was good, I said that it hurt when you said it was her worst performance. I am always very critical of her dance (unlike many mothers), so I felt that way.
    Anyway, healthy criticism is always welcome as it helps one improve a lot.
    Nice knowing you though on a slightly bad note. Good advice on costume concept. I did not know about it.Thank you. Regards,
    Rema.

  27. I changed the wording a bit. I hope this time Nikita will not misinterpret it. One of her best performances was at TTD in Chennai, not in Pune.

  28. Thanks Ashwini for changing the words about the video clip. It looks a lot better now. I feel a bit relieved. Word game is a very powerful one, we can make or mar someone’s career with words. Of course there was no necessity for you to change the words, but you have done it, which I greatly appreciate.
    Thanks again,
    Rema.

  29. good to see to standing up to ur idol’s name- KALI. benevolent to those who are ready to accept the truth and change without ego.

    BTW do u understand telugu?

  30. Hi ashwini.. im now in state college, pennsylvania.. i thnk u wud have found tht out from ur live traffic feed. lemme know if there is smthng happenning with bharathanatyam here. One of my close frnds Sai Santhosh is having his arangetram on aug 22nd at Vani mahal. He is a disciple of Adyar.K.Lakshman and Smt.Deepa Babaprasad. SOrry for such an informal invitation. PL attend the arangetram and give him ur valuable feedback!

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