About Darpana Academy of Performing Arts of (Ahmedabad-India) & Trainings :
1949 : Darpana was established as a dance academy by Mrinalini and Vikram Sarabhai. For nearly two decades it taught classical dance.(1949-1969). With Mrinalini as the lead dancer, and Chatunni Panicker as her partner, the Darpana dance company toured across the world. A few years later the great Kuchipudi guru, C R Acharyelu joined the faculty.
1960s : Darpana added departments of Gujarati theatre and puppetry under the inspired direction of Kailash Pandya, Damini Mehta and Meher Contractor. These departments taught and had performing groups that established names for themselves. Gujarati theatre was revived as was the folk form of Bhavai, and many other declining forms from across the country. The Andhra shadow puppets found a new lease of life.
1970s : Thousands of students were studying BharataNatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, Vocal and Instrumental Carnatic music, Puppetry, Bhavai and Modern Theatre. Many of the faculty members got involved in using the arts to tackle every day issues and prejudices. And Darpana grew.
1977s : Mallika Sarabhai took over as Honorary Directory.
1980s : Darpana for Development was established to focus attention on creating behavior change communication through the arts with Kailash Pandya and Mallika taking the lead. Government departments, Ministries and other non governmental agencies began partnering D for D to educate the public in issues of health, education and empowering women. Over the next two decades D for D became the fastest growing segment of Darpana, creating powerful communication that reached hearts and minds.
1994s : Darpana’s Amphitheatre Natarani, Gujarat’s only state-of-the-arts venue came into existence to give local audiences the opportunity to see world class performance, and to give artists a platform to build on. Each year Natarani presents close to 80 events, including dance performances, concerts, plays, cultural programs and films. Natarani’s café offers young writers, poets or music groups its space to hold informal performances, jam sessions and readings. The open gallery space allows Natarani to host thematic events encompassing live performances, craft demonstrations and sale, sculpture and painting exhibitions and specialty food at the café go with the theme.
1999s : When Darpana turned 50, all the Founder’s dreams had been fulfilled and over 20000 students had streamed through the institution. In a major reorganization, the teaching of the arts were put on a back burner and new collaborations, technological innovations and the use of the arts for social change took center stage.
2001s : Yadavan Chandran started Darpana Communications to explore the use of television and film for social change. Over the next decade the department produced and broadcast more than 2000 hours of programming, much of it path breaking in its innovative use of audience participation and in using popular genres to introduce taboo subjects. Recently Darpana for Development and Darpana Communications were merged to become Darpana for Change.
2014 & onwards : Revanta Sarabhai took charge of the teaching wing, the Conservatory, to revitalize it. This department now runs short and long term courses in classical dance and music, theatre, martial arts and a variety of other forms.
Natarani hosts seven major international festivals every year:
* Sunday to Sunday Theatre Festival – October 5 to 12
* Naada Music Festival – November 13-16
* Women at Work Festival – November 28-30
* InterArt, The Vikram Sarabhai International Arts Festival – Dec 28-30
* Cinema of Resistance – January 23-26 . .
* Festival of Nonviolence – Jan 30-Feb 2
* Celebrating the World of Dance – Apr 1-6
Over the last 20 years of it’s existence, Natarani has presented performers like Aditi Mangaldas, Amjad Ali Khan, Anahita Uberoi, Anupam and Kiron Kher, Anuradha Kapur, Astad Deboo, Atul Kumar, the Auroville Dance Company, the Cartoon Sardine Theatre, Fazal Qureishi, the Garlic Puppet Group, Javed Akhtar, Louis Banks, Shivamani, Niladrikumar, Mynta, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Rahul Bose, Ramdas Padhye, Raman Kutty Nair, Daksha Sheth, Rohini Hattangady, Ronnie Govender, Shabana Azmi, Shovana Narayan, Shubha Mudgal, Tom Alter, Usha Ganguli, Vibha Mishra, Zakir Hussain, Indian Ocean, Deepti Naval, Nandita Das, Zohra Sehgal and many others.
No other private arts institution in India had the facilities available at Natarani. The campus, the theatre, the artists, the technical equipment, the rehearsal rooms, the library of books, music and videos, the workshop, and perhaps most significantly the mind set. This made it unique for opening it out to the artists and creators of the world who wanted to break out of technique bound institutional or performance set ups and have the possibility of working with artists of different trainings, nationalities, sensibilities and goals.
Grace And Grooves thanks Darpana Academy of Performing Arts for sharing their beautiful journey of performing arts under the leadership of Guru Smt.Mrinalini Sarabhai and Guru Smt.Mallika Sarabhai. This as well reflects in quality, technique focused environment pertaining to style or form and above all-commitment and discipline to form/style.
The above article is being submitted by Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, Ahmedabad-India to Grace And Grooves to provide knowledge about institute’s premier setup in Ahmedabad-India. Ms. Hetal Nagaraj has taken several trainings (1999, 2000, 2015) in various Indian Folk Dances, Puppetry and Gujarati Theatre at Darpana Academy of Performing Arts from some of the most renowned artist that visit the institute for teaching their speciality. Some of these choreography and conceptual works were also performed before and after Grace And Grooves was registered with state of Texas as a LLC and were reproduced as direct replica of her trainings at Darpana Academy of Performing Arts(Ahmedabad). While a few of the choreography work-ideas from Darpana students’ showcases (of 1999, 2000, and 2001) have inspired Mrs.Nagaraj to use the very same in Bollywood, Bharatnatyam and other Classical Fusion works (Kalakshetra Style or with multiple styles of Bharatnatyam, and Kathak). All with required trainings without forsaking fundamentals, practical approach and creativity.
Be it for fun or competition–it is all about what you take home once the training is done.
We, at Grace And Grooves choose to provide the very same quality, commitment and creativity without forsaking the fundamentals of dance forms or styles. Students are taught to practically apply choreography work in their specified dance forms or styles and Indian dance categories(if-competitions). Knowledge of various vedas, shastras, epics versions, access to culture books, translations and history books are open to students who would like to study in-depth. Fusion works, musical theatre are taught in their own category of dance forms or styles. It is due to hard work and in-depth interest, that Mrs. Hetal Nagaraj has gained some of the finest knowledge and books from various parts of India during her extensive travels all over India for her education in various fields(including dance) and for the love of travel! While some books and mentorship were gifts from her dance guru(s), instructor(s) and Sanskrit professors at various institutes/universities/department of tourism(state & India) or performing arts related associations.
When you take Indian Folk Dance Classes from Mrs. Hetal Nagaraj in Dallas-Texas, the history of culture with related Indian Folk Dance variations, styles, costume & prop- guidelines, with required rules associated with dance form or style is very much part of program as per region and state wise – Both! Props making(if not available in market) & puppetry(-includes making them-) is also taught wherever applicable; knowledge of which she has inherited from her own mother who was volunteer teacher in local drama plays and schools in which folk dances were prominently showcased as part of entertainment on regular basis.
Her drama-plays included a full routine of dance performances in Indian Folk Dances on Indian festivals and subjects such Ram Leela, Krishnasthami(Janmashtami), Shivratri, Onam, Sankrant(Makar Sankranti), Dussehra(with 9 days decors), Women’s Empowerment, Diwali Decors, Christmas Plays, Lezim, Lavani and many others to include which are taught today also at Grace And Grooves Indian Folk Dance Classes or Musical Theatre (wherever applicable, as per need) as part of various programs.
Possibilities are endless with trainings as they come with practical safety guidelines for each form or style. This allows you to showcase endless creativity and still stay within the form or style.
For No Dance Was Ever Made To Harm And Dance Is Beautiful With Creativity!
Just don’t forget what you were dancing out there in the name of creativity.
This above timeline was submitted by Darpana Academy about Darpana Academy to Grace And Grooves. September 2015.
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