Beyond dance and dancer
CHITRA VISWESWARAN IN CONVERSATION WITH S. JANAKI
Bharatanatyam exponent and guru Chitra Visweswaran was conferred the Natya Kala Acharya award on 3 January 2014 in Chennai, at the inauguration of the annual dance festival of the Music Academy. In her acceptance speech, she requested patrons of dance to come forward to create a corpus to help indigent artists, and appealed to the Music Academy and corporate houses, through their social responsibility ventures, to also take up the issue. She expressed the hope that the government would also come forward to provide relief to a neglected segment of the fine arts. She later spoke to Sruti at length about young dancers and emerging trends in the dance season.
How was the Madras Season then, and how is the Chennai Season now?
I had my first experience of the Madras season in 1970 when I relocated from Kolkata to pursue my scholarship in Bharatanatyam. It was very exciting to see three or four festivals happening at the same time in the city. Look at the number now! (She laughs)
In Kolkata, where I spent a large part of my youth, I was exposed to the best of music and dance, Carnatic and Hindustani, presented by organisations like the Rasika Ranjana Sabha and Dover Lane. There were all-night performances at Dover Lane, but nothing happens like this Madras Season anywhere else in the world.
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