SEASON 2016-17 - THE MUSIC ACADEMY DANCE FESTIVAL
The annual Dance Festival of the Music Academy, Madras (this being the eleventh) has over the years become a landmark event of the “Chennai season”. A welcome change this year was the larger audience turnout for the morning sessions also. The uniformly high standard of music accompaniment was another feature—with singers of the calibre of Radha Badri, D.S. Srivatsa, Srikanth Gopalakrishnan, K. Venkateshwaran, Hariprasad, Rupa Kumar Parida, Changnasseri Madhavan Nampoothiri and Jatin Sahu (for Nrityagram), with nattuvangam by the likes of Adith Narayan, D.V. Prasanna Kumar, Srilatha.S, Jayashree Ramanathan, K.S. Balakrishnan, Dr. S. Vasudevan, and percussionists like Nellai D. Kannan, Ramesh Babu, Vedakrishnaram, Saktivel Muruganandan, Nellai A. Balaji, Satish Krishnamurthy, Lingaraju, Karthikeyan Ramanathan, not excluding the most melodious flute and violin players. In fact, foreigners in the audience wanted tapes of the music and often asked me where they could buy them! Dancers now clearly realise that good music is the greatest investment for a Bharatanatyam performance.
Male dancers impress
This has been the year of the male dancer. Hard to think that traditional Bharatanatyam as performance was meant for women alone, with the male as teacher—presiding over dance recitals as the nattuvanar. How often have we not, over the last fifty years, heard male dancers complain about the prejudice shown by patrons and festival organizers?
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