Film Club january
pm The Attic ‘The Dark Side of the Universe’
- An Illustrated Talk by
of a lensing cluster taken
by the Hubble Space Telescope
of the most remarkable astronomical revelations
of our time is the discovery that the universe
is expanding. In principle, keeping track of this
should be a simple matter of cosmic bookkeeping.
But what happens when the bulk of the matter in
the Universe is dark and does not emit any radiation.
Unseen elements, collectively called dark matter
and dark energy, account for roughly 96 percent
of the mass of the universe. Stars are the extreme
minority making up just 0.4 percent of the total.
Fox says in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s
Le Petit Prince, “L’essentiel est
invisible pour les yeux” – the
essential is invisible to the eyes.
The standard tools of astronomy cannot probe this
dark portion of the universe. Optical telescopes
are wonderful at spotting stars, which radiate
most of their energy as visible light, but these
telescopes are blind to anything that does not
shine. However its presence can be inferred from
gravity exerted by this so called dark matter.
Priya will present evidence for the existence
of this and illustrate a powerful technique, that
of light bending that is used to map and detect
this dark matter.
Priya Natarajan is a Bachelor of Science in Physics
& in Mathematics from the MIT, a Ph.D. in
Astrophysics from the Institute of Astronomy,
University of Cambridge Massachusets, Research
Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, U.K.. She
is currently an associate Professor in the Departments
of Astronomy and Physics at Yale. She is a theoretical
astrophysicist interested in cosmology, gravitational
lensing, black holes and accretion physics. If
that’s not scary enough she is a member
of the Extra-galactic Time Allocation Committee
for the Cycle 9 Program of the Hubble Space Telescope
and has written The Shapes of Galaxies and their
Dark Halos and Modeling the Accretion History
of Supermassive Black Holes amongst many other
articles and papers available in her 12 page bio
pm The Attic - Opening of Exhibition & Talk
- ‘Devis, Devas, Divas’ Captured and
conveyed… a wide-ranging series of caught-in-the-act
dance performance moments.
6th - saturday 13th january
11.00 am to 6.30 pm
by Vipul Sangoi
photos, mainly digital, were taken over the last
five years in Europe and India.
By titling it Devis, Devas, Divas, Vipul Sangoi
has shown his hand: he has selected each
dancer and photograph deliberately, not just as a
record of which performer he has shot over the
many years but the story behind each one.
In a sense, the selection here is eclectic, running
across the age, experience, style, gender, nationality,
political agenda and camera frame spectrum. There’s
a debut performance in London, a master performance
in Manchester, a classical performance at Nehru
Centre and contemporary work at the Royal Opera
House, with one common thread - they are all live
action, shot in performance. These are blurred-in-motion
shots that freeze the whipping turn or shadow
the silvery hasta.
Vipul Sangoi is a graduate of the National Institute
for Design, Ahmedabad and London College of Communication,
London. His work appears frequently in the UK
dance press, and is included in the collection
of London’s Theatre Museum. He owns Raindesign
in London which works in communication strategy
planning, graphic and web design, and photography.
He designed Pulse, the UK’s premier South
Asian dance magazine. Vipul has worked extensively
with NGOs and corporations in India and the UK.
saturday 6th january
6.30 pm The Attic – Dance Festival
‘To be in the world, but not of it’
‘From the Heart’ A Bharatanatyam
recital by Anusha Subramanyam
dance festival spread over four months will
feature 8 dancers using this Sufi saying as
explained broadly by Robert Graves ““The
natural Sufi may be as common in the West as
in the East, and may come dressed as a general,
a merchant, a lawyer, a schoolmaster, a housewife,
anything. To be ‘in the world, but not
of it, ‘free from ambition, greed, intellectual
pride, blind obedience to custom, or awe of
persons higher in rank; that is the Sufi ideal”
For the purposes of this festival and for Indian
classical dance, in particular, the dancers
who have been trained in different styles in
the classical dance tradition and therefore
being ”in” it will interpret their
forms, whether in music, costume, literary background,
style or gesture as being not entirely “of”
the Heart' is not a traditional Bharatanatyam
performance. It is an exploration of dance
that challenges notions of normal and abnormal,
able and disabled. The inspiration for this piece
comes from Anusha's dance therapy and creative
movement work with a range of people with physical
and mental challenges in a variety of settings
– terminally ill children in cancer
wards, psychiatric patients and care homes for
the learning and physically disabled. She was
struck with the nature of the dances created by
them, dances that she saw as raw and sincere
– straight from the heart, with their movement deeply
felt. The movement vocabulary reflects Anusha's
bharatantyam background. "When I dance," she says
"I want to be as vulnerable and as open and
to make those subtle and invisible dances visible.
Some dances can only be experienced and not seen'.
The Bharatanatyam performance will be followed
by a Dhrupad concert at 8.30 pm.
Anusha Subramanyam is a performer, choreographer,
dance teacher and dance movement therapist. She
is artistic director of Beeja, a London based
dance company. Anusha performs internationally
as a soloist. She has created interactive and
site-specific work for alternative venues, museums,
hospitals, and even the London Underground.
She believes in the transformative power of dance.
In her workshops she has explored the rich potential
of Indian classical and folk dance forms alongside
mind-body techniques such as yoga and pilates.
She teaches bharatantyam and is a qualified Pilates
teacher and yoga practitioner. Anusha graduated
in Bharatanatyam, with honours, from Kalakshetra,
Chennai in 1986 and University of Herfordshire,
UK in 1996. She also trained under Leela Samson
for 6 years.
pm The Attic ‘Dhrupad Concert’ by
Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar
“When I close my eyes and begin to sing, there
is only darkness... slowly, light comes, then the
beginnings of colour." Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar
is the most ancient style of Hindustani (North
Indian) classical music that has survived in its
original form. It is a music based on the poetry
and chanting of the Vedas, transformed in complexity
and sophistication in the royal courts of the
medieval period and now the purest and most austere
form of Indian classical music. The Dagar family
has developed the Dagarvani Dhrupad style, with
particular emphasis on the Alap, in an unbroken
tradition since the time of Akbar. It is a style
that sees musical notes as fluid entities with
endless shades that seem to flow and merge into
each other. Obvious ornamentation is avoided in favour of microtonal inflection.
This evening ustad performs after a one week (31st
dec. to 6th Jan.) workshop for his students and
admirers. For workshop details please contact
The Dhrupad performance will commence
at 8.30 pm after the Bharatanatyam performance
6.30 to 8 pm.
Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar represents
the musical tradition of a family that is believed
to have preserved and nurtured Dhrupad music for
the last 20 unbroken generations. He was born
in Udaipur, India, where his father Ustad Ziauddin
Khan Dagar was the court musician for the Maharajah
of Udaipur. He was taught vocal and instrumental
music (veena & sitar) by his father and later
by his elder brother, Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar.
Ustad is responsible to a great extent for popularizing
Dhrupad music by his numerous concerts and workshops
in India and abroad. In recognition of his immense
contribution to the classical music of India,
Ustad has been bestowed with many prestigious
pm The Attic - Book Reading ‘The Burden Of
Jawahara Saidullah (read by Ghazala Amin). Organized
by Roli Books
16th century India, when Nadee is swept away by
the raging Yamuna, her life itself becomes a journey.
A journey that takes her from her devastated village
to the burning ghats of Kashi, to Agra and finally
Even as her life intertwines with history, barriers
between the future and the past, the dead and
the living break down until they become indistinguishable.
She is doomed to love Kashi’s unattainable
King of the Dead, the Dom Raja, to serve the legendary
courtesan, Chhapan Choori, and then the almost
mythical emperor, Akbar. When her newborn son,
the legacy of her love, disappears, she slides
further into madness and despair as she searches
desperately for her one link to herself.
Nadee is blindingly aware of her destiny, though
she remains powerless to change it. The Burden
of Foreknowledge is a story that traces an unusual
life, brushing greatness but as the boundaries
between reality and fantasy collide, the story
reaches its climactic conclusion in the abandoned
and desolate city of dreams, when Nadee finally
achieves what has been predestined.
Jawhara Saidullah was born and brought up in the
hot, dusty plains of Uttar Pradesh and credits
her love of writing to too-frequent power cuts
and no television. With a Master’s degree
in Communications, Jawahara currently works as
a computer book editor. Her work has appeared
in several publications, including the recent
Seal Press anthology, Voices of Resistance. She
was a weekly columnist for Mid-Day in Mumbai and
is a regular columnist for www.chowk.com.
Jawahara divides her time between Boston
and Geneva with her husband and a very spoilt
dog named Naina.
6.30 pm The Attic
‘The Expressionist Aspect’ A Bharatanatyam
A special feature of the Bharatanatyam dance form
are the ‘Padams’ or poems on the hero-heroine
theme. These are enacted by the performer who
has to be aware of the numerous subtle features
of both the style and the expression of the poem.
They are slow and evocative pieces of music intended
for a rich and luxurious expressional interpretation
by a Bharatanatyam dancer. The lyrics are usually
amorous in nature, though the hues of love treated
therein can range from the physical to the spiritual.
Padams in Tamil have a flavour quite different
from those in Telugu. The text is often dense
and very deity specific, even referring to traditional
practices in temple worship, ways of decorating
images, processions centered around images and
even anthropomorphizing of singular aspects of
a certain god-images.
Sunita Menon will be presenting a group of Tamil
Padams, each unique in its outlook and treatment
of both carnal and as ascetic love. Like many
other professional classical dancers she started
learning dance at the age of 7 with Guru Sujata
Dinesh and completed her senior diploma in Bharatnatyam
from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. She is
a graduate of Delhi University and a double diploma
holder in Bharatanatyam both in the Pandallur
and Kalakshetra styles. She joined Shriram Bharatiya
Kala Kendra, Delhi in 1998 and has since danced
the lead female role in virtually all dance drama
productions by her Guru Justin McCarthy. Justin
says “Sunita’s innate talent is eminently
suitable to Bharatnatyam. She has an unwavering
rhythmic sense, a taut control of line and an
almost uncanny feel for the correct expression
pm The Attic ‘Hindustani Classical Music
Vidushi Sumitra Guha
Raag Shyam Kalyan – the khayal style of
North Indian music is now the preferred form for
most classical music recitals. Most artists do
not announce in advance what they will sing but
to enable our audience to enjoy and appreciate
this particular raag Vidushi Sumitra Guha has
agreed to explore the intricacies of this excellent
evening raga expressing ‘sringara bhakthi
rasa’ (romantic devotional emotion) in addition
to a couple of bhajans of Meera, Kabir and Surdas.
She is an exponent of the Kirana Gharana known
for its emphasis on melody, emotion and bhakti.
Initially inspired and taught by her mother she
started her formal education in Carnatic Music
under the acclaimed S. R. Janakiraman. She graduated
in philosophy from Viswa Bharati University in
Shantiniketan where she was drawn to Hindustani
music and started learning from Pandit A. Kanan
and Vidushi Malobika Kanan and continued with
Pandit Sushil Kumar Bose, the accomplished
disciple of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.
She has performed at many Radio Sangeet Sammelans
and other venues all over the country including
recordings for the archives of the Sangeet Natak
Akademi and the national channels of AIR and Doordarshan.
As well as in the concerts at the Musée Guimet
(Paris, France in September ‘06), Glasgow
Royal Concert Hall (UK), Sackler Music Hall at
the Harvard, as well as West and South East Asia,
Mauritius, Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East.
CLASSICAL DANCE WITHOUT FRONTIERS
The purpose of this festival is to explore
the learning and teaching of Indian classical
dance to artistes of nontraditional backgrounds.
There exists among the Indian artistic fraternity
a feeling of cultural superiority about
the inability of foreign students to imbibe
India’s complex musical and dance
traditions. The lack of knowledge of language,
history, mythology and the inability to
follow the traditional Indian teaching methods
of the guru-shishya parampara make the cross
cultural transmission of Indian traditions
and methodologies either impossible or at
Does the same logic apply in reverse? Is
Zubin Mehta lacking something as one of
the great conductors of Western Classical
music? Is Yo Yo Ma not a good enough Pianist
because he is Japanese? Is it not true that
some of the best books on Indian classical
music are by Alain Danielou and Walter Kauffman
? Dr. Katherine Zeiss, a student of Odissi,
Bharatanatyam and a doctorate in Indian
Philosophy asks“ How is it that we
are nourished here, in a land far from our
birth, and what aspects of the universal
human spirit are we able to develop in the
process of refining ourselves to become
more fit instruments of the Divine Melody
Here is Mohini-Attam dancer Brigitte Chataigner.
“Dance for me is like breath itself,
a movement linked to infinity, to the eternal.
It is a moment one catches in the middle
of the hustle and bustle of the eternal
world. Indian dance in particular takes
us in between body and spirit, thought,
poetry, beauty. It inspires us to Love and
generosity. There is no end to the numerous
qualities of this dance each time renewed,
present, traditional, ancient, sacred, as
well as contemporary. For it encloses the
precious treasure of life, life itself “
This festival of about 12 dancers will follow
different formats based on the specialty
of each dancer. The dancer may be actively
introduced by the guru followed by a short
performance by the student , followed by
an interaction of some sort between guru,
student and audience. Followed by a simple
vegetarian dinner. Or where the guru is
not present the dancer talks about him/herself
and interacts with the audience.
The Sahitya Kala Parishad has conducted
videshi kalakar utsavs in the past, but
this is an ongoing effort and we hope to
bring a new generation together to talk,
understand , perform and help not only non
traditional artists to understand the problems
of learning Indian Classical forms but with
an equal emphasis on Indian audiences appreciating
the dedication and effort of these artistes
in learning and performing out of their
saturday 20th january
pm The Attic ‘Odissi & Dance Therapy’
is a dancer, actress, psychologist and body therapist.
Her dance training spans Western Classical and
Modern dance forms as well as Balinese and Odissi.
She is a graduate of psychology from Sao Paolo,
Brazil, has trained in Japanese inspired Butoh
dance and performance techniques.
In order to create Integrated movements, Bia has
gone through a long professional journey. This
started initially with corrective exercises and
modern dance till she ‘discovered’
oriental dances. She attended workshops with Dr.
Ehrenfried in Paris, learnt Balinese dance and
theatre with the, I Made Djamat Company and performed
with the Balinese American Dance Theater in New
York. She has studied Butoh, performed Flamenco,
studied danse du ventre with Jamila Saliempour,
and has been studying Odissi under Madhavi Mudgal
and her students Bindu Juneja and Moumita Ghosh
She distills this experience in her performance
tonight of odissi with demonstrations of Balinese
dance, Japanese Butoh and an explanation of her
work with Integrated movement, a method that enables
people to move correctly, acquiring a new postural
balance and independence, strengthening muscle
tone while respecting the limits, structure, genetics
and life experience of each person.