Author Archives: Aishu Machani

Event

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Plan

Throughout the entire time I kept in contact with the girls and their parents through emails and occasionally telephone collecting and keeping a track of the details the whole time. (A record of these is in another folder)

The majority f our practises were held at the John Palmer Hall and the girls payed no extra money, as it took place during the time for our regular dance lessons. However in the 2 weeks leading up to the performance, with dress rehearsals, each girl was required to spend £5 extra to cope with the extended hours we used the hall. Fortunately no other extra practices were required, meaning that cost was kept to a minimum.

My advisor had arranged for costumes for my group and I to be sent over from india. However it was my job to distribute these and keep track of who had and hadn’t payed for the cost. They were all given red and yellow trousers and tails and it was up to them to arrange black leotards with a single matching accessory.

During the performance, props, such as rocks, were required. So with the permission of my advisor I asked the girls to come earlier for sessions in order to aid me in making them. I also asked each of them to pay £2.30 for the cost of any materials I bought.

The event was held at the Solihull Arts Complex. I organised for them to have a dressing room at close quarters to the stage, and during technical rehearsals when they should have been ready to perform and their stage positions. I also gave them details as to what they should do before and after the performance, such as when they should arrive ready and where they should wait to re-enter the audience, to ensure smooth running of the performance. In the afternoon, after all of them had arrived promptly, I checked their make-up and made sure there was no confusion.

Do

They had all been given the role of monkeys and to capture the mischief I had been given an Indian jive song. The first step was to choreograph the dance. However as soon as I started I found that I could not think of anything original yet simple for ease of teaching and co-ordination. To solve this I watched clippings of jive dances and found some steps that were easy to teach. I worked hard to make sure that the kind of steps changed according to the music to make the performance exiting. Throughout the choreography process I found it was easy to keep track of positions through diagrams and also video progress to ensure I didn’t forget.

The next part of the process was to teach the steps. The first thing I did was make a rough timetable so we would be done in time for the event. I then began teaching the steps and I was pleased that the students were picking up quickly. They were soon done with the learning. The next thing to do was polish the steps up the standard of the rest of the programme. I found I had to make some changes to make this possible but soon with some repetitive practising the steps were well coordinated and presented. Finally the girls who I was teaching had to portray the mischief in their roles which soon became easy and enjoyable for them.

Review

I realised after the performance that I should have contacted girls who had missed girls who had missed lessons, or were slow in picking up the steps, to give them some extra practise.

While teaching I found it was necessary to be flexible and open to changes to improve the performance with any new ideas for originality and co-ordination.

On the day, they all did very well, however I realised that more time could have gone into the overall organisation of things such as last minute costume preparation.

 

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Teaching at Diwali

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Plan

Also as part of the tribute to modern actresses I was given the opportunity to choreograph a piece in honour of Kareena Kapoor. I took a song called “its rocking” and attempted to recreate the atmosphere in the movie through the dance. To ensure this happened I made an effort to include any iconic movements that people would recognise and also keep similar structures that were in the dance.

This time I was teaching an older group of girls and so they often picked up steps quickly. However due to other commitments they often couldn’t make it to practises which became more of a problem as there were difficulties in deciding the number of the group. The positioning and structure had to continuously change often confusing matters.

Where to practise the dance quickly became a problem for me. As this was an independent performance I had to arrange for a rehearsal place myself. Initially the girls were able to practise in my house, however, as numbers increased it became difficult. To solve this I asked my advisor if we could practise in our dance hall, for the cost of £5 from each of the girls for one day every week, for 4 weeks. As the performance drew closer, each girl was required to pay £10 for the cost of larger halls where we practised with the other dancers in the event.

This time the costume decision was complete;y up to me and I originally intended on ordering trousers in the style of the video. After browsing website I had selected a costume. However, due to timing issues and 2 members of my group were in multiple dances I had to co-ordinate costumes with another group leader. After discussion we select a costume, attempting to make it suitable for both our dance sequences. I found this on Boohoo. com and as we ordered in bulk, in advance, the dress cost £10 each rather than £12. They were asked to provide their own black leggings and 2 black accessories.

We had a technical rehearsal in the morning, which aided me in specifying to the girls where the changing rooms and backstage entrance in the CNS hall was.

 

Do

The rest of the movements were either inspired from other performances or had been gathered by previous moves I had learnt. After the last performance I had learnt some lessons and decided to choreograph only the first section then do the rest once I had learnt the ability of the group so I didn’t  have to keep changing it.

Although the girls were older they actually less experienced and in fact 2 members of the 9 had never danced on stage before. I therefore had to spend much more time than previously planned, working on their performance confidence and stage presence.

After pointing out stage positions and timings they each went home, following technical rehearsal and arrived later on for the performance to have their make-up done by me.

 

Review

There were some lessons I learnt from this experience such as making sure I had control over group numbers and keeping down members to a minimum so it was easier to liaise with them. (a record of contact with the girls, is in a separate folder)

The group which I taught did very well and were well co-ordinated, but it could have been better with increased confidence.

 

 

Saju Hari- Workshop

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sajuThe workshop we had was fantastic. Saju Hari was an amazing dancer and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The moves he had spent years practising and the inspiring stories he told us about his own life in dance were also fantastic. He encouraged us to explore creatively and made us truly understand the way in which air moves, as this was the element we were given to portray. The flowing moments (a breeze) and the sharp movements (in a storm). As well as this he gave us ideas on how to subtly combine salsa, our chosen dance type, and chhau through some similar movements in both the styles. While doing this he showed us some simple, yet effective chhau movements that could be adapted according to our wish.

Anusha Subhramanyam- Workshop

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Anusha SubramanyamAnusha Subhramanyam, renowned dancer and teacher, came to our dance class to give us a workshop on dance and exercise. She presented her unique way of learning dance to us and we really enjoyed our time with her. First she showed us a fun and lively, but effective way to warm up and explained the importance of doing so. Next we worked on some basic steps of Bharatanatyam and after observing what we could do, she taught us a way i which to turn even the most simplest of steps into something exciting through facial expression. We explored the behaviour and characteristics of certain animals and worked on how to improve our dance by putting these into each step. This was a fantastic way of understanding the impact of expression. We finished with a cooling down activity, which she also explained the importance of. Finally she gave time to narrate her experience as a dancer ad teacher, which was very inspirational.

As well as man other things, Anusha is also a teacher at CAT, the centre for advanced training and following our workshop with her and watching some of our other performances she selected some of us to audition for the recently created Bharatanatyam programme. Although I turned down the place I was offered I really enjoyed the whole process, including the audition, and enjoyed learning how contemporary dance could be mixed with Bharatanatyam.

The Arts and I…

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I have always been interested in arts, ever since I was very young and I have been taking part in many areas of this. I have learning dance for almost 7 years, more specifically the Indian Classical dance of Bharatanatyam. I really enjoy this and have progressed to grade 5 in Oriental Board of Examination London, taking part in many perfomances along with the rest of Anjali Dane Group. However for the past 2 years, I’ve also started learning Kathak. This is more informally, without specific grading, but I have focused more on the contemporary side as well. In addition to dance I have also taken part in singing events in SSAG and have even achieved grade 1 in Carnartic music. Finally I have been learning the piano and finished grade 3 with the Trinity Board.

 

BBC News Coverage

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As part of another celebration of the opening of the Olympics an event was held throughout the England in which bells from all over the country would be rung simultaneously for 3 minutes at 08:12 on the 27th of July. This included doorbells, bicycle bells and even church bells. As part of a promotional news news coverage 3 members of our Anjali dance group were used, with dance bells around our feet, for an afternoon show. 

Arangetram

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As a sign that a pupil has reached a satisfactory performance level in Bharanatyam, or other classical dance styles, they must  perform their debut solo act as an arangetram. The word in tamil means “raising or reaching to the stage.” It takes place in front of critics, fellow artists, family and friends. It is a traditional sign that a dancer can move on to perform alone or give training to others. Many years of practising must be put into reaching this stage as the dancer must have a thorough understanding of music and other dance aspects. 

The performance lasts for three hours, requiring a lot of stamina, and is divided into 2 parts.

First half

  • pushpanjali or alaripu– salutation to God
  • jatiswaram– complex dance sequence
  • shabdham– devotional mix of dance and expression
  • Varnam– dance and expression with the theme of love

2nd Half

  • Padam– based on the states of mind of a woman in love (nayika)
  • Ashtapadhi or Bhajan– dance based on a poem either devotional or romantic
  • Thillana– mainly pure dance, with some devotional verses 
  • Mangala– salutation to God, the teacher, and thanks to the audience for making the performance a success.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be invited to two arangetrams. The first was the performance of Neelam Deshmukh  and the 2nd was by Anaya Bolar on the 23rd September. These events were spectacular and showed knowledge and understanding of years of dance as well as the passion they ha for it. Though both of them had selected different items to show their different states within India they both danced with technical precision, remarkable stamina and involved the audience throughout, beautifully convincing them of the messages in the items.