Singapore honour comes as a shot within the arm for Apsaras Arts, the island’s pioneering establishment
“It’s a matter of nice satisfaction not just for all of us at Apsaras Arts, but additionally for the Indian dance neighborhood that the Indian classical dance is among the many first six inaugural recipients of ‘Stewards of Singapore’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Award.’ Instituted by the Nationwide Heritage board of Singapore, this award is given to people or teams devoted to the promotion and transmission of intangible cultural heritage in Singapore. This award recognises our founder’s imaginative and prescient to have a good time native traditions and humanities, nurturing younger abilities to be showcased internationally,” says Aravinth Kumarasamy, inventive director of Apsaras Arts, Singapore.
The establishment in a approach is an offshoot of Kalakshetra, the place Neila and Satyalingam spent almost 20 years, initially as college students and later, as school moreover being part of Rukmini Devi’s Ramayana collection. Once they moved to Singapore, they established Apsaras Arts in 1977 to show and promote Indian classical dance in Singapore. They achieved nice success on this pioneering effort and their contributions have been recognised by the Authorities of Singapore and Neila Satyalingam was honoured with the very best civilian award, the Tradition Medallion.
In 2005, the founders inducted Aravinth Kumarasamy, who was working with them, as inventive and managing director of the institute. Aravinth, a local of Sri Lanka, is a multi-dimensional artiste with a powerful basis. He’s educated in vocal music, veena, dance and nattuvangam, having learnt from many stalwarts each in Singapore and India. He gained huge expertise by working with numerous cultural establishments such because the Temple of High quality Arts, Nrithyalaya Aesthetics Society and Apsaras Arts.
“My need, after I took over Apsaras Arts, was to construct a dance repertory with full time artistes and create dance productions of worldwide requirements. Since there are various dance establishments to impart coaching right here, I made a decision to focus extra on the repertory. With the blessings of our founders, I’ve managed to determine this Indian performing arts firm on a agency footing. We’ve eight dancers working full time and 12 part-time. My function as inventive director wanted me to maneuver away from performing in order that I may concentrate on numerous departments reminiscent of conceptualising, composing music, analysis and writing scripts, choreographic design, elevating funds and advertising and marketing.
“I needed to create an area for artistes to fulfill, talk about and share concepts, improve their expertise. My expertise of a few years within the IT sector helped me undertake a worldwide perspective, imbibe advertising and marketing and administration expertise and apply them to the humanities. The award comes as a recognition of our efforts and reiterates the religion that now we have reposed in our path,” says Aravinth.
Apsaras Arts has created over 10 unique dance productions prior to now decade and a half. A few of the noteworthy productions are ‘Angkor – Untold Story,’ ‘Nirmanika — Fantastic thing about Structure,’ ‘Agadhi’ on the plight of refugees, ‘Heroines of Raja Ravi Varma,’ ‘Alapadma – The Lotus Unfolds’ and the more moderen magnum opus ‘Anjaneyam – Hanuman’s Ramayana.’ They’ve consistently explored new concepts like ‘Kannagi’ — the primary stay musical in Singapore with O.S. Arun singing stay as Kovalan and Anita Ratnam and Anandavalli as Kannagi and Madhavi respectively.
“At any given level of time, we work on 4 or 5 ideas, researching materials for almost three years, earlier than narrowing down to at least one or two that can lend themselves to dance-theatre,” says Aravinth in regards to the methodology. “As soon as the theme is finalised, I am going by means of a mapping course of and choreographic design. Then we sit down to write down the script, compose music, choreograph, practice the dancers, work on costume, lighting and sound design, manufacturing, publicity and advertising and marketing. If it’s a small manufacturing, choreography is dealt with by Mohanapriyan Thavarajah with me composing music. For giant scale works, now we have two or three choreographers, a visitor musician as composer and famend dancers from everywhere in the world to play essential roles,” he elaborates.
“In most of our ensemble works, we take a look at cross-cultural productions, collaborating with different dance types reminiscent of Cambodian, Javanese and Balinese artwork types. Our repertory firm has been collaborating with Esplanade on the Bay since 2006 and as part of their annual Kala Utsavam pageant we premiered ‘Anjaneyam…’ in 2017. We invited Rajkumar Bharathi to attain the music, Sai Shravan for soundscape, Gyan Dev Singh for lighting design and dancers, V. P. Dhananjayan, Balagopal, Haripadman and Lavanya Ananth to collaborate with Javanese artistes. We had Abhishek Raghuram and Savita Narasimhan sing stay with Javanese musicians. Conceived over a four-year interval with 18 months of rehearsals, this present was an enormous success, getting rave critiques. This work was additionally chosen as one of many inaugural performances, screened by the newly launched ‘SISTIC LIVE,’ a digital platform by SISTIC LIVE, Singapore.”
Aravinth feels the necessity to have a look at the huge unexplored artwork types of South-East Asia. Impressed by his manaseeka guru Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, he needs to have a look at the Natya Sastra connections in locations reminiscent of Thailand and Bali, the place Bharatamuni is honored. He describes his expertise: “As soon as, after we visited Cambodia, we have been invited to a dance faculty in Phnom Penh. Once we reached, they urged we wait and watch their prayers. All of the dancers, lecturers, musicians got here out and displayed the devices and costumes. It was Thursday (Guruvaar), and so they have been providing prayers to Brothrishi Bharata. I used to be surprised as a result of even in India, we provide prayers to preceptors solely on Vijayadasami and right here they have been praying to Bharatamuni each Thursday. I now had no misgivings about working extra with South-East Asia.”
Additionally, he can not neglect their dance tour of India, after they travelled throughout the nation performing in lots of small cities and villages. Carrying their devices and costumes they used each type of transport — trains, vans and automobiles to bullock carts, cycle rickshaws and even boats to achieve the venues.
Aravinth is pleased with the truth that his ensemble is managing to maintain itself professionally. “We’ve almost 4 exhibits each month and we current solely our productions. All our works are primarily based solely on Bharatanatyam as a result of we have to work with what the dancer’s physique is educated for. There isn’t any must look past, for Bharatanatyam offers us sufficient scope for artistic explorations.”
Impressed by Milapfest, he began a decade in the past, ‘Dance India Asia Pacific,’ in collaboration with the Singapore Nationwide Arts Council, Milapest and Esplanade Theatres on the Bay. A growth initiative combining dance coaching programme, conferences, talks, e-book readings and movie screenings, it attracts greater than 2,000 contributors from Singapore, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Australia, and different nations.
He has acquired many awards and is a member of the advisory board of Nationwide Arts Council, Singapore.
“My dream is to see our ensemble achieve better recognition as a world class Bharatanatyam repertory firm,” says Aravinth Kumarasamy.
Themes and strikes
Mohanapriyan Thavarajah, the resident choreographer, says, “Since I’m concerned in the whole course of, I’m in a position to create what’s required utilizing the Bharatanatyam grammar. For example, in ‘Alapadma…,’ I created an Alapadma alarippu, the place the group actions have been designed to appear like a blossoming lotus. For the boat sequence in ‘Agadhi,’ the whole scene confirmed the refugees entering into the boat and travelling within the sea. The choreography was primarily based on a soundscape, which was a mixture of the rhythm of waves and heartbeats. It was extremely appreciated for bringing out the nervousness of the refugees.