For dancers worth their anklebells, as well as dance enthusiasts, the Natya Kala Conference of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha is a high-point of the year. Over the last two decades this has slowly but steadfastly become manifest, thanks to the commitment of its illustrious convenors and of the Secretary of the Sabha, R. Yagnaraman. The 20th Natya Kala Conference conducted last December was unquestionably the Triveni Sangam to rival the Kumbhmela at Prayag. The reach, zeal and the organisational capacity of convenor Anita Ratnam was the Ganga; the dance-thirsty audiences the Yamuna; and the aura of SKGS, the unseen Saraswati.
That audience taste and appreciation leave much to be desired was the main concern voiced by Arvind Parikh, who spoke on Content vs Music in Music Performance. As he perceives it, the demand of the day is for instant satisfaction, mass appeal having displaced classical aesthetic satisfaction. There maybe a small claque or a wah-wah mandali that purports to really enjoy and applaud good music but Parikh feels that real appreciation comes from a very small percentage of the audience and honest feedback to the artist is rarely available. Globalisation and commercialisation impose their own demands on art and the artist of today has to be aware of existing market forces.