The audition and first rehearsal…
I met Anita in the Purandharadasa Program in Feb 2012. I was very impressed by her innovation concepts and themes in her production. I am an avid reader and have performed Shakespeare Macbeth, Comedy of Errors and the Twelfth Night in school dramas and plays. When she approached me if I was interested to audition for a Mid-Summer’s night’s dream, I thought this was a great opportunity. Anita was very welcoming at the auditions and made me feel at home. As a new dancer in town, Anita was very encouraging and opened a lot of avenues and ideas for exploring dance here.
The First Rehearsal
Working with Anita has been a lot of fun. She is very organized, extremely dedicated and very passionate about inculcating about new ideas and concepts. She creates a visualization of your character and pushes you to develop the character. In every step she gives more suggestions, broadens your thoughts and brings you to portray that character. And I enjoy dancing with Shaila, Alisha & Sanya. They help me bring out my character better!
Groomed as a traditional classical dancer, A Mid-Summer’s Night’s dream opens to a new picture of me! I am very happy to be a part of this production and I look forward to all the new challenges!
Rehearsals in full swing
Some bleary eyed, some sleepy & some bright, we were up and awake at 7:00 am for practice for Thillana on Saturday. Those two hours were hard hitting practice session but it felt so great to have a work out so early that morning. The energy that bounced from 10 dances practicing hard over and over again was amazing! Made my day being extremely active and I ended up hiking triple falls that day! My next practice was with Alisha, the introduction of Puck and Oberon. Young, versatile and supple, Alisha also has a charm in her dance through her expressions. She got me in splits that day with her all her ‘goshte’ (mischievous acts) expressions as her mother puts in! When I was thinking how to portray a Shakespeare character, Anita helped understand by bringing out resemblance of Krishna for Puck. We also had a finale practice that day and an introduction round of the dancers present. Group practices are more challenging as it requires perfection from every dancer together! That’s what makes it hard, challenging but the end coordination on the dance and positions will be worth the hard work! This was one of the challenges faced this week. Looking forward to practice sessions that are yet to come!
Third week and counting! The rehearsals are in full swing and they are back to back! Continuous practice of every scene from the ‘top-top’ in Anita’s words! AMSD is helping me learn a new culture and what better way to learn it than bringing out resemblances with our own Culture. I was truly amazed when Anita explained Oberon’s Character with Puck, where he asks Puck to go fetch a flower similar to how Rama asks Hanuman to fetch Sanjivani, a herb to cure Lakshmana. In each practice session that I attend, I understand how much of a co-incidences are there. It is truly a feat to teach & learn our traditional dance to the stories of the west. Looking forward to the next few practice sessions-Oberon’s anger, the confusion & the main plot of the whole play!
Short yet interesting practice this week!
This week, my practice session was very short. Only an hour in the whole week, yet I felt this was one of best practice sessions. We did the pre-interval dance and I enjoy this dance. Maybe my favorite so far?.. hmm confused. I like Oberon-Puck intro and TOPC as well! Pre-interval dance: the music is simply superb! its make us all dance to its tunes with joy and our co-ordination for this dance is pretty fantastic! It was fun to listen to different suggestions on the formations- the postures to make the dance look good and Anita says,’Poorna, you’ll have a lot of jumping in this one’! especially to hold out the posture and make the jump in that fraction of a second coordinating with the music is a main task! It was a lot of fun! The more challenging it gets the more I like it! Maybe that’s why Pre-interval has a slight (teeny weeny) edge of favoritism over the others! Ciao! I look forward to next week to meet the whole cast, dancing this time!!
This week’s practice
This week’s practice was the most interesting of the whole. For starter’s we got to see the sequence of AMSD (it was just great to see the whole cast, dancing this time!) and secondly, I probably did my best step so far in the production. Monday’s practice brought me in the second half, the much awaited plot of the whole AMSD. When Anita explained the sequence to me, I got so confused! The ‘Love mix up’ is truly a mix up indeed!! But it was much fun. Esp to see Meera (Helena) shower her ardent love to Demetrius. Got us reminisce all the Saroja Devi/Gemini Ganeshan movies to come up with ideas!
Three weeks to go!
Three weeks to go for the program! This week the final choreography for my part was done. The entire plot, the mix up and straightening of the confusion was completed! Discussions were made on my costumes, dress change and the things for the day of the program. I enjoyed learning & dancing with Puck & my Fairy Queen, The chemistry has worked out well and all we need now is more & more practice.
I am looking forward to see the full sequence of the show. The countdown has begun!
Three weeks and counting!
The countdown has begun. This week we had a run through of the whole show and wow, did we have some major correction-session. We had practice for about 2 hours and a correction session which lasted for almost an hour. I felt the correction session helped a lot. Though we are practicing home individually, when it comes to group co-ordination is most important and that was our focus for the practice session this week. Certain tips/corrections which Anita gave really helped a lot. Now it’s up to us to perfect it. There were also discussions on the costumes, hairdo, and time change for costumes. With all these discussions, it seemed yesterday; I met Anita &had auditioned. Time has indeed flown. The next two weeks is only practice and perfection. The excitement for the big day has crept in!
Ah! This might be my last blog post and when I think of it, I am partly torn with the program excitement creeping in and partly I have a twinge of sadness that all rehearsal sessions and all the fun is coming close to an end. This week’s practice was definitely the best so far. The story has woven very neatly and everyone has groomed in their roles so well, that it’s hard to imagine anyone else do the part. I finally met the duchess and was impressed that in a short span of two days she picked her role so well! I particularly enjoyed the Ballet dancers dance to classical beats and the classical dancers to the Beethoven’s fifth symphony. Truly a joy to witness it. All in all, every scene, every role is done with complete interest and dedication.
I would like to thank Anita Menon for this wonderful opportunity. Like I had mentioned before, this is my first trip to the US and I cannot ask for a better summer than this, to experience the joy of dancing in such an innovative production. I would also like to thank Mini, Meera and all the dancers for their co-operation, all the fun times at practices and for making me feel at home! Good Luck to everybody lets rock the show!!
Actual last post
I sit to pen down my blog post the program. It has been a week since the show yet the post-program excitement is still sinking in. Let me start by congratulating Anita, the entire cast of AMSD, the wonderful coordinators of the show and the most supportive parents and husbands! This was a team effort, without this team effort, the show would not be a success. We have got a fantastic review on Oregon arts watch and I hope there are many more to come! We had a dress/stage rehearsal on Fri, the eve of the show. This helped us get familiar with the stage, the ambience and understand the timing for dress change. I had to change from a male character to a female character in 6mts and boy, was that a task! Saturday arrives before even I know it. I was up all early in the morning, geared up for a great day of dancing. I was all ready by 11:30 and since Newmark was only five mts away from home, I dressed with ease and comfort. Anita Ramachandran was wonderful in helping me add the final touches to get ready as Oberon. Our first show was at 2:00 and we had a circle time, this was going to be the last two times we danced together on this show. It was a small emotional moment for me as well. The ten weeks of hard work was finally going to be staged! I performed both shows with dedication and enjoyment!! For someone who has danced for almost 15 years on stages, this opportunity to dance in one of the best stages in Portland was a wonderful feeling, something which goes beyond what I can express in words. I thoroughly witnessed every scene with joy that day. I felt everyone was at their best, everyone was in their character & displayed their best effort and most importantly, I felt everyone was enjoying
themselves! I particularly enjoyed the theater in the dance. I have always been fond of theater. Back home, I had even participated in a lot of them. To see that combined with dance was something I enjoyed a lot! It was also a treat to see Alisha’s ‘Call me maybe’ after the show. I’ve seen the song a number of times; but I enjoyed it the most that day. Maybe it was a recap of all the dedication and all the fun we had over the ten weeks that it was such a wonderful touching finish to the audience and to the people who worked on AMSD as well!
It has truly been a pleasure to work with Anita and the team of Anjali School of Dance and all the other dancers as well. Dancing in this production has broadened my vision to learn and teach this glorious art. Dance to me is more than a passion; it’s an integral part of my life. I hope there more opportunities for future performances with Anjali School of dance and that Anita & I are able to collaborate on projects which are of mutual value to us. To Anita and the entire team, thank you for making my first summer, a joyous experience!