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Water Ripple

Issue 3

Dec 2020
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Astad - Icon, Rebel, Superstar

By  Ketu H Katrak

Astad Deboo’s voice, his memorable chakkars on stage, his prodigious talent in riveting performances, his infectious laugh, his impeccable ability to offer friendship to so many across the world have all been stopped in his untimely passing. This news has shocked and devastated us, his dance fraternity and friends. The Indian dance world has lost one of its most paradigm-shifting and beloved artists. 

From the Guest Editor

The Multiple Modernities of Bharatanatyam

By Aranyani Bhargav

Hidden away in a footnote in Saskia Kersenboom’s ‘Nityasumangali’ (1987) were the words – “Now, in 1984, the two styles are mutually unrecognizable and irreconcilable. Perhaps the time is ripe to distinguish between a Classical Bharata Natyam (or Catir or Dāsi Āttam) and a ‘Modern’ or ‘Free’ Bharata Natyam.

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Through the Lens

Conversation between Kanak Rele and Matangi Prasan

Being a Gujarati, how did you gravitate towards Kathakali? Since this art form is culturally connected. Were there any moments where you felt disconnected? What efforts did you have to make to imbibe that culture?
(Kanak Rele): My chosen idioms are both from Kerala. I was only 6 when I gravitated towards Kathakali. Guru Karunakara Panicker had migrated to Bombay at an invitation of the cultural organization Seven Arts of which my maternal uncle was one of the founders. In those days Kathakali and Manipuri were well sought after. So my uncle and his friends decide upon getting a fine teacher cum from Kerala to teach Kathakali. Sri Ragahavan Nair was initially invited to Mumbai for the same.

Out of the Ordinary

AI, Indian Art and the World

By Prachi Hota

The world is going through an unprecedented time. The Covid pandemic has changed our worlds. And one of the most affected communities have been the performance arts community. The dance community in India is no different. And one question that everyone is struggling with is - how do we continue to create dance performances during these challenging times. A very obvious option is the online platforms. But that in itself is a challenge because it is a new medium for us. And like anything else it needs a little getting used to....but you can get there. It is a skill that you can learn...just like driving a car.

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A Balancing Act

by Dr Dancer Tony Aloysius Pius

The truth is – I do whatever I need to do to remain sane and happy. Let me explain. I am sure a lot of doctor-dancers, as I call them, would be able to relate to what I am about to say. For that matter, anyone with a dual passion/profession will be able to resonate with what I’m going to say.


Yes, we stride two boats. It is not that one leg is in each boat, and the boats are drifting away from each other. We steer them both with a delicate and challenging balancing act.

Initiatives and Features

Doing Justice with Art

by Kirthi Jayakumar

Armed conflict breaks society from ground up, no matter where it happens. Historically, humankind has risen out of armed conflict while holding onto memory, etched in the form of the words Never Again, personified through art. It isn’t a particularly new idea that art is healing, transformative, unifying, and edifying.

Initiatives and Features


Neo Narthaki presented DECODE, an online campaign that unraveled the Margazhi 2020, through behind-the-scene-glimpses from daily lives of performing artists, and spotlighting contemporary issues in dance through powerful narratives. The campaign included Instagram Takeovers by performing artists and institutions and engaging videos with thought-provoking content on issues in the performing arts. For more on the campaign, visit @neonarthaki on Instagram.

Initiatives and Features

Latest News and Trends in the World of Dance 

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