The 20th edition of AttenDance, the yearbook on dance by Ashish Mohan Khokar has Mysticism as its theme

The 20th edition of AttenDance, the yearbook on dance by Ashish Mohan Khokar has Mysticism as its theme

Over the years, performing arts didn’t benefit from the media’s consideration or had been poorly documented. Barring a couple of newspapers’ coverages of artwork and cultural occasions, artistes suffered for need of consideration/publicity. That was until scholar and art-critic Ashish Mohan Khokar conceptualised an annual dance guide titled AttenDance. In retaining with famend historian, artwork collector and his father Mohan Khokar’s strident want to chronicle all actions associated to artwork within the nation, the primary edition of AttenDance grew to become a actuality in 1998. The 20th edition, themed ‘Dance and Mysticism’ was launched just lately with artwork critic and journalist Ranee Kumar because the Guest editor.

In an unique interview, Ashish shares the two-decade journey of AttenDance and the standing of dance at present.

How did your guide ‘AttenDance’ evolve in 20 years?

It had no plan, no actual objective. I used to be merely fulfilling my cancer-bound father late Prof. Mohan Khokar’s need that there should be a report of the yr that was. This was in 1998 when there was no web; we had been nonetheless within the carbon-copy age! Even these working within the dance artwork discipline couldn’t readily recall who died when; what had been the milestones of a yr or what books had been launched. We tried to deal with the educational hole, as universities too had no literature on dance. Each difficulty developed as a course of of osmosis.

The annual dance chronicle AttenDance

The annual dance chronicle AttenDance
| Photo Credit: Special association

Do you see this yearbook serving its objective?

 Yes. Honestly and humbly, it helps hyperlink the previous with the current. We function history-based articles too, thus constructing bridges. My father created India’s largest dance archives referred to as the Mohan Khokar Dance Collection (valued at ₹ 7 crores, now donated to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (INGNCA) Delhi. Lots of uncommon photographs and historic supplies from there have figured in previous points of AttenDance, which additionally options upcoming skills, helps Indian dance attain worldwide academia and most significantly, provides to the physique of data that is woefully insufficient.

Who are your goal readers?

All we are able to attain: the practitioner, the purveyor, the patrons and the press! We are so small that when an order comes from Japan or Jalandhar we really feel elated. I didn’t even know the place Xalapa was till we needed to put up a replica to Mexico 20 years in the past. Sweden or Mauritius, we have now dedicated readers. There’s nothing like a yearbook of this sort in India. Today, we have now many PhD college students referring to it and some even copy it or translate it with out giving us any credit score. We don’t sue them as we imagine data should journey. We are mere transporters.

Was discovering good writers a problem?

Writing, like all arts, is a present too. Real data is not a quest or trendy even. Most kids can’t give a 3000-word article. Where I failed, Ranee Kumar, visitor editor of this most tough difficulty, succeeded. She discovered many good kids like Aniruddh Knight or Himanshu Shrivastav and made them flip in very readable copies. She discovered one in Finland too! She tackled a really tough topic and I have to confess, this Twenty second-year difficulty is by far the perfect within the final decade. All credit score to her.

Do you repeat your writers?

 Depends on the topic, although there’s no rule. Art is extra necessary than the artiste. Subject core competency decides the creator for us, although we are able to’t be too picky as in all India, actually sorry to say, there aren’t even 10 certified or good writers on dance.

How do you choose your visitor editors and how typically do you alter them?

Only as soon as in 5 years or so, I’ve. Idea is to discover a new voice and to offer readers a reprieve from a boring me. Subject, area, and expertise determine. For instance, 20 years in the past for a Gujarat Special, we wanted somebody on the bottom who knew the fabric and his marbles. Ditto for northeast 15 years in the past. Or dance in movies.
The first visitor editor was 15 years in the past from Odisha, Shyamhari Chakra who handled ‘Traditions of East’. Second, 12 years in the past, SD Desai on ‘Traditions of West’. The third was seven years in the past on ‘Telugu Traditions’ by Ananda Shankar Jayant and now on ‘Mysticism’ by Ranee Kumar.  There’d be no 20th difficulty with out Ranee!
Having written on dance for 40 years, I’m a bit drained of my voice and post-Covid there was fatigue. I had no focus. Ranee Kumar took complete cost: She discovered competent authors, supervised illustrations and proofread every article, even rewrote some very dangerous submissions and discovered sponsors.

Born right into a household of notable dancers and having pioneered the idea of artwork administration what are your observations relating to the modifications in classical dance?

It has modified from the artwork of the soloist to the artwork of the group. Increasingly, we see fewer dancers have the stamina or materials to bounce a full night, as many others did earlier. Dancers blame organisers for asking for selection within the programme to fill a corridor. Another necessary change is the velocity of recitals. Dance varieties are competing with the Shatabdi, (specific practice) it appears. Even languorous varieties like Orissi (the traditional title of this kind) that has lalitya (grace) at the moment are attempting to beat Kuchipudi or Bharatanatyam in velocity. Lastly, there are only a few paying organisers, besides for presidency patronage. Corporate India does nothing a lot for classical dance. Most of them help cricket or trend. India has wealthy traditions, however individuals have poor style or go for well-liked arts. TV has ruined dance artwork too.

At residence as Guest editor

Journalist-art critic Ranee Kumar

Journalist-art critic Ranee Kumar
| Photo Credit: Special association

When Ashish Khokar mooted the mission within the thick of Omicron and specified that she be the visitor editor, Ranee Kumar admits she didn’t precisely bounce with pleasure. “I took a have a look at the sooner books and felt all dance-based themes had been exhausted. Then what is left for me to discover? I needed it to be distinctive and in-depth, giving it my finest editorial shot. It was then that Ashish got here up with mysticism and dance, understanding each to be my pet topics. That type of determined the matter for me and I made a decision I cannot let him down,” says the senior artwork critic and a former journalist with The Hindu.

Once she got here on board, Ranee needed to face mounting challenges. While most had been editorial assessments like re-arranging, rewriting and change of headlines with out ruffling feathers of the contributors, what was daunting for Ranee was a dearth of writers on a topic that was just like the play of summary and concrete.

She says, “We wanted writers with a minimum of a bit of consciousness and theoretical data of classical dance as additionally mysticism. That was a tough mixture. Lots of individuals follow mysticism —– students, poets, et al however most weren’t assured about relating it to bounce. Then we had a bunch of academically certified dance performers and theorists who couldn’t deal with the topic of mysticism. And right here I used to be, attempting to pool in a minimum of a dozen articles of appreciable size and depth to mould right into a guide of consequence! Thanks to my publicity to bounce and artists, I used to be in a position to determine a couple of who might write on this topic as a result of of their involvement with each dance and mysticism.”

Ranee is significantly elated that she might rope in a Sufi professor, Mikko Viitamaki from Helsinki University, Finland who readily pitched in with an article on Sufi and Raqs (dance).

“My goal was to open minds to a brand new perspective of viewing dance and arrive at their very own conclusions. It is not a guide on the technicalities of dance, so anybody involved in spirituality and arts can perceive it. Art thrives solely when it has common enchantment, not confined to simply connoisseurs. As for mysticism, effectively, it is already established the world over,” says Ranee.

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