To celebrate our dance groups fifth anniversary we organised an event in the Solihull arts complex. There was a curtain raiser from Atreyee Bhattacharya.
The main performance was a one and a haf hour dance drama which depicted the Ramayan. As all members of Anjali took part the age group varied from about 5 to 50.
Some people were given character roles to act out in Bharatanatyam dance style and the story was brought to life through exciting dance sequences of not only Bharatanatyam but also kathak, Bollywood and contemporary. Although our main focus was to depict the Ramayan we had placed more emphasis on the character Seeta and so the event was named “Seeta a Saga…”
This programme was a very interesting one for me as I took part in many areas of preparation.
My Own Dancing
There were many dance sequences in which others of my age and I played extras adding texture to the stage. For my own performance I was given the role of Hanuman. The first step was to pick out scenes that involved my character and make notes of the script. The next stage was to roughly plan out actions that would match each line. Once I had confirmed these I found that although I was confident of the steps that varying paces of speech had to be looked into so each movement looked instant and natural. To conquer this I had to listen to the track even when i was not dancing to fully memorize each expression and timing of the words. Once I felt I had achieved this I had to truly understand my character to really convince the audience. Hanuman is actually in the form of a monkey, mischievous yet also elegant and it was difficult to balance this. To find a way to portray this detailed character I looked at various you tube clips of people who had previously done this.
As well as being involved in teaching and performing myself I also played an active part in creating stage props to set the scene. I created a tree behind which characters could hide or use as a prop to move around in expressing the words. I also made masks for demons. Finally a sequence in which my group had to build a bridge required rocks which I also made. The costs were covered by my advisor and I as well as anyone else using the supplies.
On the Day….
On the Day I had a fantastic time performing as well as watching my group. I helped with getting younger students ready and coordinating their stage make- up. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, especially teaching which was new to me. I really hope I can participate in something like this again as I thought it was fun to do dance in the from of a drama.
The Solihull South Asian Group held its annual diwali event on November the 24th and our dance group as well as members of all other ages took part to put on a show as a tribute for the greatest actresses in Bollywood history. There were also young children’s performnces in the first half of the event.
My own Dance
The first thing I performed was part of a group of young girls in a kathak sequence. My part was to contrast theirs with a scene of morning. I found this very difficult as I had never really performed much kathak before and to make an emotional impact as a soloist was quite challenging. It took a lot of practise to make the movement both fluid and accurate.
We also, as Anjali Dane Group, performed a devotional piece called Igiri Nandini.
As part of a tribute my peers and I did in honour of modern actresses I performed in dances called Tum hi ho Bandhu and Ishq Kamina taught to me by another member of Anjali Dance Group. The hardest part of learning the dances was to make sure we had a great energy impact as we were one of the smallest groups performing. However since the five of us performing Tum hi ho Bandhu have often worked together in the past we found that as a group, we coordinated and worked together well.
On the day…
On the day the performances went well. However I think I was incredibly nervous for the solo performances which affected my confidence on stage. Our Anjali Group’s performance well, but the lighting may have been better if it was brighter to see the full movement and expressions. Finally Tum hi ho Bandhu was fantastic and was well received by the audience. The five of us are performing the same sequence at The Sampad event of Bollywoods got Talent celebrating 100 years of Bollywood in May 2013.
We participated in the Nuneaton arts festival as part of the classical group section. The 5 of us performed a piece called Rhydhun, choreographed by my advisor and dance teacher Smita Deshpande. We worked hard to improve our technique as it was a classical competition and we were eager to do well in our first competitive experience.
On the day, we did well and the judges were impressed with our synchronisation, technique and visual impact. We received 1st place and we were proud of our achievement.
The Kannada Balaga is an organisation which aims to spread Karnataka’s culture, heritage and language both nationally and internationally. Karnataka is one of the South Indian states in India. They hold two events each year in celebration of diwali and spring. We often participate in these events, most recently on the 14th and 15th of April 2012.
The first item i danced was a bharatanatyam one along with the rest of Anjali Dance Group. The piece we performed was rydhun which we hd originally prepared for the Nuneaton arts festival. The crowd enjoyed our piece and it was well received.
Another item prepared by many members of all ages from families within Solihull was actually a 30 minute shadow performance in which we represented the contributions of Karnataka to the world in the form of a drama behind a screen. This was anything from a scientist, warrior, religious leader, actor or poet. The preparations took many weeks and there were many steps in the process. We first got the inspiration from a you tube video. Our next step was to decide a theme to which we could find clippings of music and record a narrative that would be both emotional and informative. Once we had done this our aim was to decide the best way to portray each person or scene with a famous moment in their lives or Karnataka’s perception of them. This required us looking at more clips for inspiration and deciding which ideas worked but were within our limits. Then we had to practise each scene with extreme precision so it would come exactly as we had practised, on the day. It involved standing in fixed positions at a certain distance from the screen and each other. This was in fact a problem, due to the fact we were delayed in arranging lighting and a screen to cover. This would definitely have been something to plan earlier. I not only played a part in performing, but also assisted in making props to bring any shadows to life. On the day the performance went very well, receiving a standing ovation from the audience, who appreciated our originality and emotional touch.
The Talent Show
The last thing in which I participated was part of the inter region talent show. Each region received a 15 minute slot and we represented the west midlands along with an item by Anaya Bolar, Ambika Jois and Praveen… For this opportunity we researched many themes but our final decision was to present a tribute to our fathers. However, we split this into 3 sections in order to divide the age groups. Each age category presented a story from each era in the hindu tradition. Myself and 4 others were given the current day era and with the help of a presentation, depicting a childs view of their father throughout their life, we decided to dance in a contemporary style, mainly focused on kathak. We then had to find a music clip. The one we found was the theme tune from the movie Mohabbatein. The dance was choreographed and taught to us by Debjani Deshpande. The main feature of our sequence was a selection of photos of participants with their fathers on screens either side of the stage during one of our poses. Many rehearsals went in to improving the technique and coordinating with the other groups. I not only actively played a part in dancing but also taught younger children who had missed lessons so they could catch up. It would have been a good idea to start the preparations earlier as we only had a week. I really enjoyed performing and especially liked the different contemporary style which I had never done before.The performance was a great success and for our efforts we gained first place.
I took an active part in many parts of the entire event helping in making decisions for the performances and was even given the opportunity to help out in arrangements and organisation on the day, including directing people to their seats and selling raffle tickets. The other performances were also excellent, representing the culture of Karnataka. I enjoyed this event a lot, especially the administrative side as it gave me a more rounded view of the thoughts tht go into making an even succesfu. I would love to be involved with something like that in the future again.
I am often asked to teach younger students in our regular weekly lessons. I go over steps from our graded exams or revise dances and polish their steps. Not only does this help them, it also increases my confidence in teaching. This is a clip of me going through the technique of a step from our grade three syllabus.
The Asian Spring Festival is an event organised each year by Sampad in honour of the local Asian talent. This dance event is a showcase of all indian styles including Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Bollywood and Bhangara. 2012 was the first year Anjali Dance Group were invited to perform. We performed a dance named Rydhun, which we had previously performed in other places. The experience was new to us as we had never danced in a place as big as the Adrian Boult hall in front of such a large audience from all over Birmingham and the West midlands. Our performance was successful, but not without the occasional positioning issue as we were slightly lost on such a large stage. Everyone enjoyed our performance, with special commendations for our visual impact and we have invited to perform there again this year.
The other performances were breathtaking with their amazing technique, stunts and crowd pleasing music. The event was very enjoyable.