Friday, March 18, 2011

Bharat Ratna M.S. Subbulakshmi

The next artist featured in this series on women pioneers in the field of dance and music is late Smt M.S. Subbulakshmi. Born on 16th September 1916 M.S.Subbulakshmiji was a renowned Carnatic vocalist. She received training in carnatic music from great gurus like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. She also went on to train in Hindustani music under Pt Narayanrao Vyas. She performed in different Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Sanskrit and Kannada. She was the first musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. She was also the first musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia's highest civilian award.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Padma Vibhushan Smt Balasaraswati


The first artist featured today in this series of 'Inspirational Women in Field of Dance and Music' is Late Smt  Balasaraswati. The reason i wanted to feature her  was because though not having the good fortune of seeing her perform,i have always been told about her inspiring dance and abhinaya by my guru Smt Uma Dogra. I did try to look up on web for videos of her dance however was unsuccessful in finding any. However if any of my readers do come across a good quality video, please share it with all of us.

About the Artist: Balasaraswatiji was a celebrated Bharatnatyam artist,  whose rendering of the  style of dance made it famous not only in India but also in many parts of the world.Balasaraswatiji came from traditional lineage of dancers and musicians from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu,India. She began her training at a young age of four under KK Kandappan Pillai. She was the first performer of her traditional style outside of South India, performing first in Calcutta in 1934. Balasaraswatiji has been awarded with "The President's Award" from Sangeet Natak Academy,Padma Vibhushan from Government of India and Sangeet Kalanidhi by Madras Music Academy.She was the only non-western dancer included in a compilation of the Dance Heritage Coalition, "America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100.

To know more about the life and work of this great artist you can also visit

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day

We at Kathakars would like to wish all the ladies around the world Happy Women's Day. While i was  browsing around i came across this music video by Shakti Album for Women's Empowerment by Gurumaa Ashram.  It shows how multi tasked the modern woman has become yet she has her traditional responsibility. Having had the opportunity to interact with women from all walks of life and from all over the world here at Stanford, i have realised no matter which part of world we women come from there is a common thread of compassion that binds us all together. We are daughters, sisters,friends,wife,grandmothers,girlfriends playing multiple roles at the same time in our life.
  This Sanskrit Sholka describes the roles a woman has to play as a wife;

Karyeshu Dasi, Karaneshu Manthri;

Bhojeshu Mata, Shayaneshu Rambha;
Roopeshu lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitri;
Satkarma Nari, Kuladharma Patni.

 The gist of this sholka is that  married woman plays different roles in her husbands life. She is the caretaker,adviser,nymph,she brings prosperity in his life, she feeds him like a mother and is all forgiving. I guess that's why the woman is called the better half. Today's woman is all the above and much more. She is achieving her goals and dreams. On  the occasion of International Women's Day we will be featuring women who have been pioneers and inspirations in the field of dance and music. So stay tuned for the next blog tomorrow. Till then A big shout out to Women Empowerment all over the world.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thiruvathira - Folk dance of Kerala

In this video of the day , we see the ladies celebrating the Thiruvathira festival in Kerala. This festival falls in the Malayalum month of Dhanu (December-January). Tradition has it that Thiruvathira festival is celebrated in commemoration of the death of Kamadeva, the mythological God of love. According to another version Thiruvathira is the birth day of Lord Siva.Thiruvathira is a day of fasting and the women don not eat rice on this day, but only take preparations of chama (panicum milicceum) or wheat. Other items of their food include plantain fruits, tender coconuts, etc. They also chew betel and redden their lips. At night the women keep vigil for Siva and perform Thiruvathira kali or Kaikottikali. They stand in a circle around lighted brass lamp, and dance each step at the rhythm of the songs they sing, clapping their hands. Grace and simplicity of the dance movements is what caught makes this dance so beautiful. This video again stresses how dance and music are integral part of worship in India.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mahashivaratri Dance Celebration in Palo Alto

Hi everyone, Do check out this amazing  dance celebration in Palo  Alto on the occasion of Mahashivratri. Am going to be there for sure ,hope to see all of you there too.