Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Video number 2: Dolphin from Navatman Dance

Check it out, folks.

As an update, our social media enterprise is working pretty well, particularly YouTube. At this point, we've attempted putting up 1 minute clips of events we have done, either via Navatman Productions or Navatman Dance. We are utilizing commercials to clarify what and who we are, and try to keep it short or funky and quirky enough to hold your interest.

I love what we've been doing and we've upped our YouTube views to 15,000 total over 10 or so public videos we have as part of our channel using simple raw iPhone videos.

I'm excited to see where we go from here - we'll be next utilizing (slightly) more professional equipment for properly shot, well lit videos and it would be great to see how that ups the level at which people pay attention to what we're doing.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Female aesthetics in Indian classical dance

I have to say, there is one major thing that disappoints me about Indian classical dance today - our obsession with the body being "skinny".

I am definitely culprit of it myself, and our discussions of what we should or shouldn't eat, or how much we would like to reduce our weight has overtaken our daily dance rehearsals.


I put my foot down this week, and banned us from discussing our bodies, and even then, I still spoke about it once or twice. We are not lazy dancers, We pushing our bodies to the limit in rehearsal 3 hours everyday, 5 days a week. When performances come up, we do double rehearsals twice a day. We are strong, we are flexible, but we are not size zeros, and somehow, this bothers us.

More and more, India is looking west to take on ideals of the body that we have here. I hear major artists talk about how many "thin is in, fat is out" and dancers need to reduce weight to carry themselves on stage.

I just don't believe this to be true. Dancers have to be strong and beautiful. And that can come in many shapes. Yes, overweight is not good, and aesthetics are part of the game since dance is a visual form, but my heart breaks when I see dancers who are size fours and sixes eat two chappatis a night after 6 hours of rehearsal and obsess over themselves to have the body of the 15 year old sitting next to us.

When did we become like this? Oh, right, because of this:

And this:

And this:

We are proud, beautiful, Indian women with curves.

Don't let media moguls suggest otherwise.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What Ganesh Kumaresh can learn from Snarky Puppy

The grammy nominated Snarky Puppy recently caught my eye. When it comes to music, I learned classical violin for some years, but I admittedly feel that I cannot notice technical aspects the same way I do with classical dance...or dance in general. It's easier for me to marvel at a musician's emotional content because I'm not dismayed by their technical (or lack thereof) prowess.

However, even I noticed the incredible, incredible Lalah Hathaway when she sang this song and had to share:

The best is watching the incredulous reactions of the bandmates as they play with Lalah. At about 6 minutes this video becomes not just an incredible example of jazz but a feat of the human body as she sings chords with her voice. The best is watching the drummer literally fall off his chair around 6:20.

My only connection to Indian classical music here is that I feel the same way about the music that the incredible violin duo Ganesh Kumaresh creates as I do about this video. Those two are doing just groundbreaking stuff and the output is music that makes your heart race. So why do the videos on YouTube of Ganesh Kumaresh only have a few thousand hits?

So I did some research - and I couldn't find them on Facebook, or with any proper videos on YouTube and I am incredibly disappointed. To me, artists like Ganesh Kumaresh have mega starpower - talent that is taking music to new places. And clearly, they are successful artists who should be able to afford some level of outside help to manage them. Yet, their lack of use of not just social media but marketing/branding/etc is not just sad to me because they could be utilizing their raw materials better - but just the simple act of creating HD video for YouTube or maybe even trying something a bit different like those music videos I shared last would do wonders for the Indian classical arts scene as a whole. Ignoring the resources we have to do more, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, don't just help upcoming artists break into the scene.

Utilizing those resources properly - putting in the time and effort to make these things a proper part of your marketing platform, allows us (the Indian arts scene as a whole) to be more present to larger crowds of people. And when you have a talent like these two - to not take advantage of this is almost criminal to the arts scene overall.

Take a look below: