Guru Leela Ramanathan was conferred the prestigious ‘Shantala’ Natya award by the Government of Karnataka.

We at Drishti on behalf of the art fraternity congratulate her on this achievement. We are honoured by and proud of Leela Ramanathan’s association with Drishti since its inception.

Dr. R. V. Raghavendra received the Kempegowda award from the Bangalore Mahanagar Palike for his contribution to the promotion of classical music in Karnataka. Kudos to him from Drishti. He has always been a source of encouragement in our endeavours.

One of the most popular percussionists of Yakshagana, Durgappa Gudigar was conferred with the Rangasthala award by Yaksha Mitra Koota on 2 October 2006 at ADA Rangamandira, Bangalore, for his invaluable contributions to Yakshagana. Gudigar, famed for his ability to play eleven maddales (mridanga) simultaneously, was associated with the renowned Bhagwata Subramanya Dhareshwar. For the last five decades, he has served in the Idagunji, Kota, Sirsi and Perdur troupes.

Swaramurthy V. N. Rao Memorial Trust and Bangalore Gayana Samaja presented the “Veena Seshanna Memorial Award” to Padmashree M.S. Gopalakrishnan, and the Swaramurthy “V. N. Rao Memorial Award” to Sangeetha Kalaratna Dr. R. K. Srikantan, at a function on 24 September 2006, at Bangalore Gayana Samaja, K.R. Road, Bangalore.

The Karnataka Ganakala Parishat honoured three leading Carnatic music artists, violinist S. Seshagiri Rao and the vocalists, Kavitha and Triveni, popularly known as the Saralaya Sisters, at its music festival in Bangalore, conducted from September 13 to 17, 2006. S. Seshagiri Rao, also the President of the 37th Music Conference, was conferred the title Ganakala-bhushana with a cash award of Rs. 10,000/- and a gold medal.

Saraswati Sangeet Vidyalaya

The Swar Anand wing of the Saraswati Sangeet Vidyalaya, a premier music institute ably run by renowned musician Shyamala G Bhave, is instituting the “Swar Anand Kala Puraskar”. An annual feature starting this year, competitions will be held every October in classical music, classical dance, instrumental music, devotional music and light music.

Open to all age-groups, the competitions for this year, 2006, will be held on Saturday, 28 October and Sunday, 29 October, at Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Pampa Mahakavi Road, Chamrajpet (Near Makkala Koota), Bangalore – 18. Please contact: Swar Anand, Saraswati Sangeet Vidyalaya, 114, Acharya Govind Vithal Bhave Marg, Nehru Circle, Bangalore – 20, Phone: 080-23443900, Email:

Mysore V. Subramanya Presides

Bangalore-based musician-art critic Mysore V. Subramanya was elected as President of the 38th Music Conference of the Bangalore Gayana Samaja. He presided over the Experts Sessions held daily in the morning from 14-19 Aug. 2006. The theme of the conference was Karnatakada Vaggeya Vaibhava (Splendour of Compositions of Karnataka Composers).

Also awarded the title Sangeeta Kalaratna at the conference, he is the great-grandson of Veena Seshanna, the legendary musician of Mysore Palace and the son of Swaramurthy V. N. Rao, veteran artist of Karnataka.

“Karana” – Danseuse Shubha Dananjay’s new Dance Space

The Drishti team would like to congratulate danseuse Shubha Dananjay on moving her dance institute Natyantharanga to the new dance space “Karana” at Basaveshwarnagar.

Dance Competition

As part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations of their dance institute, Navya Natya Sangama, on 24 October 2006, starting 9.00 am, conducts solo and group dance competitions in the categories: Bharatanatyam, Folk dance and Film dance. For further details, contact: Geeta Srinath, 9845766503.

Aseema Yatre – A Noble Work Undertaken by Natya Institute and STEM

The Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography ( has launched a new project, Aseema Yatre, to propagate an awareness of dance and choreography in rural areas of Karnataka and satellite towns around Bangalore. For several years now the Natya Institute as well as the contemporary dance unit, the STEM Dance Kampni (, have been involved in art in education and dance education projects in various academic, cultural and community centres.

This new initiative is funded in part by the Department of Kannada and Culture, Govt of Karnataka. Those interested in knowing more about the workshop/performance format, tour itinerary, etc. can contact:

Diploma Course by Attakkalari

Attakkalari, Centre for Movement Arts, Bangalore has launched its Diploma program in Movement Arts and Mixed Media in September 2006. The Diploma is structured to provide a unique balance of various Indian physical traditions and aesthetics with contemporary dance and new developments in lighting, stagecraft and digital technology besides critical theory and arts management. Academic subjects like art history, philosophy, pedagogy, and anatomy will also be included in the curriculum. The Diploma will prepare technically sound and strong performers adept in varied movement approaches.

Besides the three-year full-fledged Diploma program, students also have the option of a one-year Certificate Course (the Foundation Year), or short-term intensive modules on light design, digital arts and arts management. Reputed teachers of Indian physical traditions, contemporary dance, ballet and other movement techniques, choreographers and leading practitioners in the fields of Digital and Sonic arts, Light and Set Design, Art History and Critical theory comprise the regular and visiting faculty.

Email: Website:

The Art Centre to be Opened Shortly in South Bangalore

Developed by artists Raksha Sriram and DIvya Raghuram, the Art Centre is an ergonomically designed, fully equipped, professionally-run space that offers pre-designed short-term courses and hobby classes for the general community in various art forms in an environment that provides for fun and focused learning. The courses will range from basic to advanced levels and will cater to both experienced and first-time artists. To be opened in Jan 2007, the Art Centre is located in South Bangalore and will consist of five studios; a performing arts studio, a ceramic studio, a painting studio, a digital studio and a general classroom. It will work in tandem with a pool of talented artists to constantly innovate and create alternate teaching methods.

Danseuse Vyjayanti Kashi Receives the Zee Astitva Award

Zee TV, Mumbai, along with the Archana Trust has instituted the Zee Astitva Award recognizing women who make a difference to those around them. The jury comprising of women leaders from different disciplines has chosen women from the fields of dance, fine arts, theatre, business, journalism, science and technology, etc. For her contribution to dance and service to humanity, Vyjayanthi Kashi was honored with the Zee Astitva Award on August 5, 2006 at the Jamshedji Bhabha Auditorium, NCPA Point, Mumbai. Vyjayanthi is celebrated not only for her deep understanding of Kuchipudi, but also for her work in television, theatre, choreography, dance-education and dance-therapy.

No Proper Security Provided by the Department of Kannada and Culture

While the two girls, Prakruti Hoskere and Samana Gururaj, disciples of dancer Praveen Kumar, performed graciously at Nayana Bhavan, in the Every Wednesday program, organized by the Department of Kannada and Culture, some Kannada activists tried to disrupt the program and threatened to harm the artists because the varnam performed by the artist was in Tamil. No official from the department did anything about this and no security was given. Other young dancers who perform in the Every Wednesday program should be aware of this threat which hovers over every person who will dance for a non-Kannada song. Shouldn’t the Dept. of Kannada and Culture protect the artists? Or maybe they should declare the program as a Kannada-language one!!!

(PS: In spite of the miscreants shouting from the audience and insulting the musicians, the kids did a wonderful job and completed the program flawlessly.)

Dancer Geeta Chandran’s Book wins First Prize for Best Art Book in English

Dancer Geeta Chandran’s book So Many Journeys, the maiden publishing venture of Niyogi Books, has won the First Prize for Art Books in English category in the national awards declared by the Federation of Indian Publishers.

Designed by cutting-edge designers, Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra, the lavishly illustrated and impeccably presented book is a personal record of the talented dancer’s encounter with her beloved dance Bharatanatyam. Geeta narrates how she imbibed the grand tradition – beginning with her first teaching hailing from dasi-parampara – and then went on to erase orthodoxies in classical dance. The 228-page book has seven chapters. Anjali, the introduction; Guru Dakshina where the dancer discusses the role of her teachers; Navadarshanam a series of chapters where the dancer maps the changing frontiers of Bharatanatyam today; Rasika, where she evaluates the changing role of audiences and critics in dance; Bhakti where she presents dimensions of the mythological content of Bharatanatyam, She-Rahasyam, where the gender dimensions in classical dance are discussed, the Samarpan, or conclusion.

Usha Venkateswaran’s Book on Dancer La Meri

Published by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, The Life And Times of La Meri, by Usha Venkateswaran is about La Meri – called the queen of ethnic dances – who came to India in 1936 and studied Bharatanatyam from Papanasam Vadivelu and Gouri Ammal, and Kathak from Ram Dutt Tiwari. She performed along with the Devadasi Varalakshmi and Bhanumati in Chennai and in 32 cities of India. She launched Ram Gopal in the Western world.

“I admired La Meri for the keen interest, dedication and efforts made by her to master this art and also teach it to two generations of American dancers. She used Natya Shastra to train her students in Indian as well as other forms of classical dances,” says Usha Venkateswaran. When Rukmini Devi Arundale was opening the doors of Bharatanatyam to Indian artists, La Meri was performing Bharatanatyam along with her students in the U.S.A. She toured thrice around the world to bring about better understanding among people through dance. She produced the first book on hastasGesture Language of the Hindu Dance.

Any dancer would love to read, benefit and be inspired by this book which has many insights into her dance techniques and beautiful photographs. For details, contact Usha Venkateshwaran: 080-26682394.

Yet another step by Drishti to bridge the gap between Art, Artists and Art lovers

Drishti moved its dance institute to a bigger and spacious studio – “Drishti Dance Studio” on 11 Aug. 2006.

The inaugural performance was “Yaksha kadamba” – Ekavyakti Yakshagana by Sri Mantap Prabhakar Upadhya, performed under the direction of Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh. As guests at the function, the institute was blessed to have three important personalities who are also its well-wishers, guides and a part of Drishti: Guru Dr Maya Rao, Smt. Shyamala G Bhave and Dr. R.V. Raghavendra.