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Sneha Chakradhar

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Passing on a Tradition: Guru and Disciple

IIC INVITE SPRING 2016

My solo Bharatanatyam performance at the IIC Spring Festival of Dance (Passing on a Tradition: Guru and Disciple) on the 7th of April, 2016 at the main auditorium, India International Centre, New Delhi was received well by  an audience of dance connoisseurs and critics. I presented compositions showcasing the various moods that the season of spring is associated with in the classical Bharatanatyam style. The presentation was carefully crafted with the valuable guidance of my guru, Smt. Geeta Chandran. It commenced with a famous poem by Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’ titled ‘Vasant Aaya’.

Through a conversation between the nayika (heroine) and her sakhi (friend), this poem announces the arrival of the season of spring. Like a young woman at the pinnacle of her youth, the earth too is in full bloom. Leela Venkataraman, senior dance critic, writes in her review of the performance for the IIC Quarterly:

“Geeta Chandran’s fast-evolving Bharatanatyam disciple, Sneha Chakradhar, entered welcoming spring’s bounty, based on suryakat Tripathi Nirala’s Sakhi Vasant Aya, set to Basant Bahar score by Sudha Raghuraman, followed by a spirited nritta/abhinaya suite with convincing sancharis interpreting Swati Tirunal’s Karnataka Kapi varnam Sumasaya. The sakhi, pleading with Lord Padmanabha the case of her lovelorn friend waiting in vain for him, urges the he join her… The finale saw a Tillana in Rageshwari.”

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The following is a link to dance critic U.K. Banerjee’s review of the festival, published in Vivacity, The Pioneer on 12th April, 2016.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/vivacity/melange-of-melody-and-motion.html

Banerjee writes: “As was evident from the recently-held IIC Spring Festival — Passing on a Tradition, Guru and Disciple, the two opposites, namely, representation and abstraction, were most clearly defined in Indian classical dances as nritya and nritta respectively. This came out most vividly in guru Geeta Chandran’a corpus at her institution Natya Vriksha, ably represented by Sneha Chakradhar… Sneha began with the poet Nirala’s famous poem: Vasant Aay set in raga Vasant Bahar. The cuckoo-calls, the peacock’s prances and the floral exuberance of the vernal season came through in her nritya very well. Next was an elaborate varnam in raga Carnatic Kafi, in alternate nritya and nritta, in picturesque choreography. Then there was a padam, in raga Suruti, to present in nritya a Khandita Nayika (querulous heroine): throwing away her faithless lover. Her final item, in contrast, was  a brilliant tillana in pure nritta.”

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Performance Demonstration: “When Pleats Dance”

I will be presenting a brief performance as a part of the ongoing exhibition “When Pleats Dance” on the 20th of June at 6pm at the Art Gallery (2nd floor), Kamaladevi Complex, India International Centre, Lodi Estate, New Delhi.

This unique exhibition, curated and designed by Sandhya Raman in collaboration with dancer/choreographer Geeta Chandran and Natya Vriksha, showcases the evolution in the Bharatanatyam costumes over the past four decades. The exhibition is on till the 21st of June (11am-7pm) and the entry is free.

‘Vividha’ at Delhi Dialogue VII

The first day of the Delhi Dialogue VII ASEAN-India summit witnessed a classical dance performance organised for the delegates. Curated by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the performance was an introduction to the world of the classical performing arts of India, specially designed for the international guests participating in the conference.

I collaborated with Kathak dancer Monisa Nayak and Odissi dancer Shalakha Rai in creating ‘Vividha‘, a half an hour long production, showcasing the common aesthetic sensibilities shared by the Indian classical dance forms that in fact are fascinatingly diverse in their technique and presentation. The work celebrates the beauty of each form through brief solo sections, while also enabling an interesting interaction between these dance forms of Kathak, Bharatanatyam and Odissi.

The event was held on the 11th of March, 2015 at the Oberoi Hotel in New Delhi.

 


An Evening of Classical Dance for President Obama

On the eve of Republic Day 2015, I performed with the Natyavriksha Dance Company and an accomplished team of dancers in honour of Michelle and Barack Obama at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Pranab Mukherjee was the host of the evening and the programme was attended by PM Narendra Modi, several Cabinet Ministers and a constellation of dignitaries from the fields of politics, sports, entertainment, education and business.

The programme was curated and presented by Seher, headed by Sanjeev Bharagava. We presented an excerpt from ‘Sankriti’, a collaborative performance of five classical dance styles directed by Madhavi Mudgal. The esteemed audience enjoyed the show immensely and we got a ‘thumbs up’ from President Obama as he exclaimed “Great job!”

 

Triyatra: Choreographies in Bharatanatyam

A small bouquet of choreographies in the Bharatanatyam style, ‘Triyatra’ is a reflection on the dance journeys of Sneha Chakradhar, Divya Saluja and Radhika Kathal. Disciples of Smt. Geeta Chandran, the three dancers come together to revisit and choreograph traditional compositions from the Bharatanatyam repertoire, taught to them over the years by their guru and present them as a tribute to her 40th year of dancing.
‘Triyatra’ explores new movements and ideas within the classical framework of Bharatanatyam. Borrowing both from their intense training in this essentially solo dance form and the years of experience of dancing in group choreographies, the three dancers have attempted to choreograph not only pure dance pieces, but also abhinaya or interpretative compositions, finding novel means of presenting the narrative.

Artist and designer, Sandhya Raman invites you to be a part of this experience in the intimate setting of her studio in Lado Sarai, which is also currently hosting the photo exhibition on Geeta Chandran, ‘In the Click of a Movement’ by Shri Rakesh Sahai. The dancers will also showcase new drapes for dance, designed by Sandhya.
Join us on Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 5:30pm at Atelier, F-213C Lado Sarai, New Delhi.
Note: Since there will be limited seating, we request you to kindly confirm your attendance. 

Aatish-e-Ishq: A collaborative performance of Bharatanatyam and Sufi musical tradition.

Aatish-e-Ishq – a collaborative performance of Bharatanatyam and Sufi musical tradition

Aatish-e-Ishq – a collaborative performance of Bharatanatyam and Sufi musical tradition

Aatish-e-Ishq invite

Aatish-e-Ishq

Bharatanatyam by Sneha Chakradhar
Sufi Vocals by Dhruv Sangari
Original Baramasa Poetry by Prof. Ashok Chakradhar

Duration: 1 hour

Accompanying Artists

Tabla: Amjad Khan
Sarangi: Kashif Ahmed
Nattuvangam: Radhika Kathal

Lighting Design: Deepa Dharmadhikari
Costumes: Sandhya Raman
Choreography: Sneha Chakradhar
Music composition: Dhruv Sangari

Related links

Statesman review by Manjari Sinha

Aatish-e-Ishq video preview on YouTube

Performance overview

This dance presentation is a unique collaboration, a true representation of syncretism and synthesis in the Indian classical arts. The temple dance of Southern India walks the path of Mysticism, hand in hand with the Spiritual music of the Sufi shrine. A momentous meeting indeed!

Sharing common aesthetic and poetic registers, musical modes, grammar and sensibilities, two forms inhabiting vastly different worlds, come together in the universe of classicism, intensely engaging, weaving together ideas, structures and emotions.

Baramasa is a conceptual construct of visual art and poetry depicting life, love and longing in the Indian subcontinent through the cycle of six seasons spread over twelve months.This device has been used by Sufi and Bhakti saints to express their mystical musings and spiritual discourse for over a thousand years.

Aatish-e-Ishq, or the ‘Fire of Love’, burns in the being of the nayika, the heroine each day of the month and each month of the year. Pining for her beloved, every passing season brings forth a new facet to her yearning. Seasonal shifts and changing ecological imagery, create new experiences to her state of suffering.

Video preview of the performance

O sakhi, my confidant, she laments, “the fire of love burns bright all twelve months. From ash a spark, from ember a flame…”

Beginning with spring, a ruthless shower of Kamadeva’s arrows torments her. Her suffering is further exacerbated by seeing nature in bloom and living beings in union.

In summer, the suns relentless assault is unbearable. A drink of water may relieve the parched throat but what will quench the desire for union with the beloved? The nayika has become a laughing stock for those whose lovers have returned home.

Lo, the dark grey clouds have arrived. They bring with them a renewed hope. As thunder claps and the drops begin to fall, all of nature dances in celebration. But the nayika’s body burns with passion and the rain drops turn to steam upon contact with her flesh. The constant drum rolls of lightening instill in her a fear and eyes have storm of their own brewing in them. The beloved, she contemplates, has forgotten her.

The poet Kalidasa describes sharada as the season of ripening. The earth resembles a beautiful bride and the cool rays of the full moon of sharada purnima ignite in the heroine a deep yearning for Krishna. All the lovers gather to dance with the beloved, but the dusky flautist is nowhere to be found.

As fall looms, nature sheds its colourful beauty. One by one the leaves fall to the earth. The trees stand denuded, derobed. The wind whistles through the wilderness, but ride not on it the nayika’s pleas to the beloved. The sleepless night bears witness as ankle bells accompany her restless song.

Oh the irony of separation. The body shiver in the frost of winter, but inside, the soul burns in agony. The hearth fire only serves to fan the flames within. Radha dances lost, in solitude. “O friend, what’s keeping Krishna?”

And finally after an entre cycle of seasons has passed, the hero arrives. The nayika exclaims:

“This cycle of my suffering has finally come to a close… Krishna has appeared. As he lifts my veil, I stand in disbelief. He plays holi with me. He drenches me with his fountain gun; his hands smear my body with colour. As the moment of my dreams becomes reality, I belong completely to him.

Hear me now o mountain bearer, o giridhari, I too have borne a mountain of suffering in your absence. The seasons mocked me as I yearned for you, as I burned in your love. Come now; sit beside me. Let me fill my sight with your visage.

O sakhi, my confidant…the fire of love burns bright all twelve months.
From ash a spark, from ember a flame…Love dances, the beloved dances, I dance, you dance, the seasons, all twelve months dance, the cosmos dances… The flame of love dances eternally.”

Photo Gallery

16th National Festival of Creative Arts

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Sneha Chakradhar will be performing choreographies in the Bharatanatyam style with her guru Smt. Geeta Chandran and the Natyavriksha Dance Company at the 16th National Festival of Creative Arts at IHC, New Delhi. The dancers will present three interesting pieces of work, choreographed by Chandran, exploring and expanding on the vocabulary of the traditional Bharatanatyam technique.

As always, entry to the event is free and seating on first come basis. The program starts at 7:00pm with a performance of urban folk music on social issues by Susmit Bose from Kolkata followed by Natyavriksha’s dance presentation. Do come!

Natya Vrinda: Dance ensemble choreographies in Bharatanatyam by Geeta Chandran and Natyavriksha

Date: 5th March, 2014

Time: 7:45pm

Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi.

 

Solo performance in Bhopal

Sneha's solo performance in Bhopal

Sneha's solo performance in Bhopal

If you are in Bhopal, don’t miss Sneha’s solo performance at Ravindra Bhavan tonight, 28 November 2011 at 7pm.

The performance has been organised by the Ustad Alauddin Khan Music and Art Academy for the Madhya Pradesh Cultural Council.

Bharatanatyam dancer Chitra Dalvi from Mumbai will also present a solo performance tonight.

Bharatanatyam solo performance by Sneha Chakradhar
Date: Monday, 28 November 2011
Time: 7pm
Venue:  Ravindra Bhavan, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Lecture Demostration at the Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney

If you missed Sneha’s performance in Sydney on April 30th, here is your chance. She is going to present an interactive lecture demonstration exploring the evolution of the dance form of Bharatanatyam and its contemporary practice. 

The details are as follows:

Date: Friday, 6 May 2011
Time: 12 noon
Venue: Room#3003,  Sydney Conservatorium of Music
University of Sydney
Cnr Bridge & Macquarie Streets
Sydney NSW 2000

It is an open and free event, all are welcome.

Website inaugurated

What more could I ask for but to have my Guru stand by me, support me, encourage and guide me… always! I take extreme pleasure in announcing that with this blog we have officially inaugurated this website in the presence of  my Guru Geeta Chandran, my parents Ashok and Bageshri Chakradhar and an esteemed gathering of academics, artists and friends. A big thank you to my brother Anurag for making this wonderful website. It is the most beautiful birthday gift.

About

Dr. Sneha Chakradhar is a Bharatanatyam dancer based in New Delhi, India. She has been pursuing the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam since the age of nine and has trained under acclaimed gurus. Sneha regularly performs across India and the world. She has recently performed in Chile, USA, Indonesia, Thailand, and at the Khajuraho Dance Festival in India.