Friday, March 17, 2017

Proust Questionnaire Take 25 - Dr. Saskia Kersenboom

Published by sathirdance on March 17, 2017

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Freedom in every sense.

What is your greatest fear?

Violence that invades and disrupts freedom in the private and public spheres.

Which living person do you most admire?

Difficult – perhaps Choreographer Jiri Kylian?

What is your favorite journey?

The Rasika Journey into poetry, music, dance, drama, ritual, architecture,

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

What: LIFE - and the way Indian Performing Arts allow me to access its infinite complexity; they are my biggest, magnum size teacher.

Who: Gozso Szőrös my Hungarian Roma husband.

When and where were you happiest?

Difficult to choose. I have experienced intense happiness at several, totally unexpected moments, as a child, an adult, a traveller, a researcher, as an artist, and “in-love” - What these moments share is: they catapult me out of my little frame into dimensions of LIFE beyond my own time and space – close to obliterating me. It’s like an ever fresh amazement at the cyclic return of seasons, like waking up to the sound of the waves of the sea (Pondicherry), breathtaking sunsets, the moon rising behind the trees in our garden, or, that same moon over Agnishvara temple in Tirupugalur, the abating heat of the stones under our feet in its outer prakara, the depth of historical time (Siena), or, my student on stage - dancing a choreography, taught by me, in my costume, to my music - totally pulling me inside much…as if rocked by the gods…

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able sing Carnatic music in full depth, especially Padams, Javalis and Varnams – the Shringara rakti repertoire.

What is your current state of mind?

I fully believe in total commitment in whatever you do, but also in parting, leaving, letting go when life’s vitality has evaporated. Looking back, I have separated myself from my parental home and family, from teachers, from a former marriage, from my country of birth by emigrating into Hungary and from Academic life (after forty-two years). Now, I find myself in a stage and state of mind that was predicted by my Indian astrologer Mrs. Bhama in the 1990-ies: living in a beautiful remote village, surrounded by nature and FREE ! to fully devotee myself to what I love most: Indian dance, music and culture.

With Paramparai Foundation my husband and I have created a Time-Out of the stressful urban and global rat race through summer residencies where the only thing that counts is artistic development and growth. The remaining time is dedicated to reconnecting the Devadasi cultural heritage to the living traces of its original contexts: the temples and royal courts of Tamil Nadu. These experiments are the four weeks Winter Residency called Yatra and the two week Repertoire Workshop “Mohamana” - studying this famous Varnam in Tiruvarur District. Amazing encounters emerge between the local inheritors of this old world and modern performers from India, USA, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Singapore and New Zealand who are open minded, curious to come face-to-face with their roots and critical of (post) colonial, national narratives on the Performing Arts. For the first time, after 23 years Associate Professorship, I can teach Devadasi Heritage in the way I feel it should be taught: in situ, in dialogue with its practitioner, inheritors. And, most importantly, meeting with participants who are highly skilled, informed and motivated, critically inquisitive and creative. Every participant - so far - has transformed the Workshop Residency experience into a new, personalised project. In short, a dream coming true!

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

What is the quality you most admire in a man?

Sensitivity, intelligence, generosity, decisive yet gracious.

What is the quality you most admire in a woman?

Sensitivity, intelligence, generosity, decisive yet gracious.

What do you most value in your friends?

Empathy, mutual care for each other.

Who are your favorite writers?

Milan Kundera, Sandor Marai, Isaac Bashevis Singer, John Fowles, Ruth
Prawer Jhabvala and Gita Mehta among many other contemporary Indian writers.

Who are your heroes in real life?

The Obamas as beacons of Hope and shining role models for Civilised
Priorities in life (on a long distance scale), Ranvir Shah for his idealism,
visionary generosity and sustained efforts in and support of culture, for his sincere devotion to Shri Tyagarajasvami of Tiruvarur (on a closer scale), and, my private, life-time Hero Gozso Szőrös - who knows Love.

How would you like to die?

In an unending kiss... but that's a bit selfish...

Saskia Kersenboom was born in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and grew up there. Indology and Theatre Studies took her to India for the first time (1975), where she started her training in Bharatanatyam with Smt. Nandini Ramani. In the following 42 years, she spent 32 years in Tamil Nadu for shorter or longer periods, studying dance, vocal music and Veena in Chennai as well as Devadasi ritual song and dance with Smt. P. Ranganayaki in Tiruttani. As a performing artist she has worked in several Conservatories as Guest Faculty and performed widely in Europe, USA and India. Saskia is probably best known for her fascination with Devadasi Tradition. Her PhD NITYASUMANGALI (18 May, 1984, Utrecht University, The
Netherlands) drafted a vast map of a research-field that has been travelled by many scholars until today, covering a broad range of disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences. NITYASUMANGALI – Devadasi Tradition in South India was published by Motilal Banarsidass in 1987 and has seen five editions so far (2016). This work and the later Word, Sound, Image, the Life of the Tamil Text with interactive CD (1995, Oxford, Berg Publishers) underlie her Associate Professorship at Amsterdam University (1990-2013) subsequently in Linguistic Anthropology, Musicology and Theatre Studies.

In 2006, Saskia Kersenboom emigrated to the village of Legend in Northern Hungary. Since 2013 she and her husband Gozso Szőrös dedicate themselves full-time to Paramparai Foundation, convening Summer Residencies in Legend, and Winter Residencies based in Tirupugalur, Tamil Nadu. -

* In the dressing room
* Singing for Saint Nicolas
* New directions: Marriage in Legend

Monday, March 13, 2017

Proust Questionnaire Take 24 - Kiranmayee Madupu

Published by sathirdance on March 13, 2017
Kiranmayee Madupu, Bharatanatyam Artiste based in Hyderabad, India.
Photo by: Prithvi Poosapati

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To have a Double-Chocolate-Nutella brownie and not get fat. Just kidding, happiness for me is being content. I experience it when I dance, paint, write, create, ideate.

What is your greatest fear?

To grow up, to lose passion, to stop being stupid, irrational and impulsive, to compromise, to settle with mediocrity.

Which living person do you most admire?

My Guru - Mrs. Hemamalini Arni. 83 year old, epitome of class, wisdom at its best, with a rustic patina of the bygone eras and all the elegance they bring.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Proust Questionnaire Take 23 - Madurai R. Muralidaran

Published by sathirdance on March 12, 2017

Madurai R. Muralidaran, Bharatanatyam Artiste, based in Chennai and the world.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

God’s creation is very balanced in this world. We do not understand the reality of happiness. We have different levels and ways of seeking happiness. One thing is for sure, we all want to achieve perfect happiness in our lives. No one wants to be unhappy. At times I feel that real happiness eludes me. But I found an answer to the question. I just want to be a good human more so than a good artiste.

After years of trying, I now know that my happiness really depends on me, set realistic expectations and avoid disappointment. Creating new compositions with innovative concepts gives me happiness, and I feel I have achieved something in that area! I am also happy to see that my compositions are useful for Bharatanatyam performers worldwide.