December 24, 2008

Amphi headache

On Sunday, I attended this dance event at an open-air theatre near my place. The amphitheatre is surrounded by tall buildings...that somehow curbs the amphi quotient. I headed towards the first few rows, but my path was blocked by an usher - reserved, he said. Nevertheless, I found a nice place right above the reserved rows. The compere entered and greeted the audience and made some comment on the lines of 'oh such a nice evening, so much breeze and so many trees'. Then came the clincher - no photographs and videos please. Okay, the flash bit and how it distracts dancers, I understand. Reminds me, I just chanced upon a blog post where the author ranted about how she can't fathom why dancers allow people to post their choreography on Youtube. Though she made some valid points, not everyone can afford to buy 200 and 500 rupee tickets to attend events with decent dancers. Though I've always wondered, in the case of many dancers...by the time they become famous they're too soggy and too sappy. And why not put stuff on Youtube...sure, there are those who learn stuff off Youtube videos. But I'm sure 95% of those who watch a dance performance on Youtube are not exactly about to spring up from their chairs and mimic what is going on. Online videos have their disadvantages, but they also grant phenomenal accessibility. And one likes to watch a good performance again, there aren't that many anyway. The official videographers will probably sell me a DVD for a bomb. And copyright? Dude, the choreography may have been passed down to you and is probably performed by a hundred others. Whom are you kidding?! When dance is such a big business - many popular dancers in India are abroad for months at a time, doing workshops wherever they go, that choreography we're talking about is being passed on to hundreds of people who may find different uses to put it to. So why are we singling out video footage and lampooning it as a means of copyright violation?

Anyway, coming back to my amphi experience, the music was too loud. And most of the dancing quite podgy. Some of the students who danced could have done with lessons on costume draping. Having a sexy figure and looking poised doesn't solve the problem! And I wish dancers would not stick to the same popular abhinaya pieces. Salbeg was great, but get over him now! The corniness in the air was so thick, my head stayed foggy.

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