Friday, 28 July 2017

Proust Questionnaire 33 - Parswanath Upadhye

Published by sathirdance ©2017

Photo: Mark Wessels
                                      
Parswanath S. Upadhye
is one of India's leading dancers, performing nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. Parswanath is the principal dancer, choreographer and artistic director of the Punyah Dance Company based in Bengaluru, India
                                         

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I find myself at my best and happiest in the middle of rehearsals which makes me forget time and space.

What is your greatest fear?

Being influenced by someone’s negative ideas and losing my originality and belief.

Which living person do you most admire?

My son.

What is your favorite journey?

Physical journey: From my home-town Belgaum to Goa.

Intellectual journey: The dancing process that starts from scratch, which leads to the creation of something totally magical.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My grandmother.

When and where were you happiest?

I remember feeling absolutely happy dancing in the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Nataraja at the Perurpatteeswarar Temple


Which talent would you most like to have?

To fly :)

What is your current state of mind?

Yearning to learn more.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, who or what would you choose?

To be born as a musician who can dance too!

Photo:Mark Wessels
"I find myself at my best and happiest in middle of rehearsals which makes me forget time and space"
What is the quality you most admire in a man? 

The quality of not to over-think!

What is the quality you most admire in a woman?

The quality to handle any adverse situation.

What do you most value in your friends?

Them being non-judgemental about me.

Who are your favorite writers?

Kannada writers, Shivaram Karanth and DaRa Bendre.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Every single person around me in my life is a Hero - Everyone is fighting their own battles bravely with a gentle smile on their face.

How would you like to die?


The Jain Seeker’s death, through starvation (Sallekhana), is something that I admire and I find it interesting too, because more than how he dies, he gets to decide when he dies.

What is your motto?

Teach and learn dance for as long as possible.


Parswanath Upadhye

Monday, 24 July 2017

Proust Questionnaire 32 - Mavin Khoo

Published by Sathir Dance © 2017

Photo: Wong Horng Yih

Mavin Khoo is internationally recognised as a dance artist, teacher, choreographer and artist scholar. He studied Bharatanatyam with the legendary dance maestro, Adyar K. Lakshman in India - Mavin is currently the artistic director at the ŻfinMalta Dance Ensemble.
                                                                         

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

When I do class it is when I feel most centred, most connected and therefore I guess, happiest. The joy of discovery of learning is something that for me, is essential to my development as an artist. So, I place tremendous importance on ensuring that regardless what my schedule is as a performer, choreographer, coach etc...that my own time in class where I train and study is always maintained. 

What is your greatest fear?

Lots of things: Not dancing probably would be the most significant. I am terrified also of unknowingly placing myself in a bubble that I lose my search and start procrastinating. I have seen it all too often, and this terrifies me.

Which living person do you most admire?

I have lots of role models. My teachers mostly...artists that have coached me, some of whom I place all my trust on particularly after the passing of Adyar Lakshman Sir - but I am also always in awe of those who do so much in silence, who work with issues that really matter like human and animal rights issues. Often, I feel very self indulgent as an artist, I feel that there are things far more complex today that need attention...this really makes me snap out of self indulged moments and focus on how fortunate all of us are to be creating as artists.

What is your favourite journey?

Anything that takes me through a spectrum of emotions, dark and light is real for me. So any journey whether its geographical or just mental/emotional is special for me when it's REAL :)

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Undeniably Adyar Lakshman Sir and my family. I am a very big Devi devotee and I genuinely feel this relationship of love with Her. I also am very fortunate that I have a very small group of friends (they are more than that) who I have known for years and years...all creative people. I love them very much as they inspire me and keep me very grounded.

Photo: Haris Jalaludin
"Submit, submit: to the dance, to any experience, encounter and relationship...to the Divine"
When and where were you happiest?

I'm always happiest in class and rehearsals.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to have a good voice. My singing is not bad but if I had a good voice I would have developed more in my music training.

What is your current state of mind?

Very emotional! I have just left a very significant contract (my decision). I am very excited about the next few years as I have some amazing opportunities coming up but this means closing the chapter on some people and things that literally took over my life in the last few years.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, who or what would you choose?

Definitely a dog in a cool home. I’d like to be pampered rotten and be able to snooze whenever I want. I’d still like to be a cool dog though.

What is the quality you most admire in a man?

I don't :) I think men have all kinds of issues.

What is the quality you most admire in a woman?

Strength, Power, Compassion, Beauty and ability to just be…I can go on :)

What do you most value in your friends?

Firstly, I respect them and therefore I love them. I actually don't have many people I consider friends...I have a lot of acquaintances...I have few friends, but those few…I would do anything for them.

Who are your favourite writers?

Lots - Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, I have always loved Agatha Christie from the time I was a child till now, and Ronald Dahl. I also love academic writers like Alexandra Carter and Christina Kostoula.

Who are your heroes in real life?

At present, I would say real social activists that are fighting for something with such passion and honesty.

How would you like to die?

In my sleep, painless.

What is your motto? 

Submit, submit, submit: to the Dance, to any experience, encounter and relationship...to the Divine.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Curious Case of the Bharatanatyam Mentor


Published on dance portal - Narthaki.com in August 2016

"Over the last few years yet another trend in the art of Bharatanatyam has emerged, to add to the growing list of (disturbing) trends - THE MENTOR.
Quite a few youngish dancers announce at the outset of their performances, "With respects to my gurus AND my mentor."
 A mentor? What does that entail, and how is it different from the Bharatanatyam guru?"

Read the full article on Narthaki - website link:

http://www.narthaki.com/info/articles/art407.html

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Proust Questionnaire 31 - Divya Devaguptapu

Published by Sathirdance © 2017


Bharatanatyam Artiste, Divya Devaguptapu - based in San Diego, CA.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Growing up, the society conditions us with the “idea” of perfect happiness – A good education, a stable job, a life partner, children, saving for retirement, property - These notions of happiness being a state of mind that occurs through achievement is so ingrained in our upbringing that it took me a long time to figure out what exactly MY idea of happiness was. As I sit down to write this, I realize that happiness for me has been a state of mind through many everyday moments of my life and not a long term goal of materialistic permanence. I have had very many perfectly happy moments in life – dancing, hanging out with my friends at ‘Fruit Shop’ as a teenager, stumbling on a brilliant choreographic idea, holding my newborns tiny hands, watching soulful dance, listening to a brilliant note/phrase in a concert, browsing through the many floors of quaint bookstores and libraries, reading an exceptional piece of writing, sipping coffee at ‘Ananda Bhavan’ and so many more beautiful moments of daily existence.

What is your greatest fear?

Nothing.

Which living person do you most admire?

My mother – Growing up I strived hard to be the perfect child – good at everything she wanted me to be. Not because I wanted to be favored, but because I could not let her down - I wanted her to be proud of everything I did. I have admired and respected her like no other. She has been the most selfless person I have known. Someone who gave up her own dreams, aspirations and desires to fulfil those of her children. She is one of the most intelligent, hardworking, compassionate, talented and warm person I will ever know. I cannot ever repay or achieve anything big enough to equal what she has done for me.

What is your favourite journey?

The creative process.

(photo by: Ramanathan Iyer)
"These notions of happiness being a state of mind that occurs through achievement is so ingrained in our upbringing that it took me a long time to figure out what exactly MY idea of happiness was"

What or who is the greatest love of your live?

I know this sounds banal, and every artist says this - My Art!

When and where were you happiest?

I’ve had very many happy moments. I can’t single out one moment when I was happiest.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Street smarts!

What is your current state of mind?

5 mA!

Well, on a serious note, I feel very accepting, grounded and calm.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, who or what would you choose?

Myself!

What is the quality you most admire in a man?

Integrity and honesty.

What is the quality you most admire in a woman?

Strength and perseverance.

What do you most value in your friends?

Nonjudgmental understanding.

Who are your favourite writers?

I have had many favorites through different stages in my life –
Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Frijtof Capra, Robert M. Pirsig, Stephen Hawking, R.K. Narayan, J. Krishnamurthy, Osho, Frank Kafka

Who are you heroes in real life?

My mother.

How would you like to die?

Dancing.

What is your motto?

Dance like no one is watching!