International Conference on Bharatanatyam in Singapore 2014


The inaugural international Conference on Bharatanatyam in Singapore is titled “The Emergence, Development and Future Directions of Bharatanatyam in Singapore and Malaysia” and will be held on December 6 and 7 at Stephen Riady Centre, University Town, National University of Singapore.

Bharatanatyam is said to be one of the first South Asian art forms to be transmitted from India to Singapore. The development of the dance form in this landscape has been closely tied in with Singapore’s own social, economic and political development. The traversing of Bharatanatyam transnationally into the Singapore framework weaves notions of culture, memory, preservation, identity, reproduction, and change.

The conference will bring together local, regional, and international scholars, researchers, artists, observers. and policy makers and include keynote speeches, paper presentations, roundtable discussions, and lecture demonstrations and covers issues within the framework of history and historiography, diaspora studies, gender studies, and cultural studies in the context of Singapore and Malaysia.

The conference line-up is phenomenal; dancer/choreographer/researcher/dynamo Nirmala Seshadri has done an exceptional job curating this ground-breaking event.

I will be participating in a roundtable discussion (via Skype, since I will be overseas at the time), “Bharatanatyam and the Negotiation of Geographies and Visibility,” moderated by Dr. Stephanie Burridge, writer and lecturer at LASALLE College of the Arts. The panel will feature: dancers Kiran Kumar and Shantha Ratii; Professor of Ethnochoreology and Ethnomusicology, University of Malaya, Mohd Anis Md Nor; media professional Sabanitha Shanmugasundram; and doctoral candidate in Communication and New Media, National University of Singapore, Shobha Vadrevu.

I will likely weave the following threads: South Asian dance as discussed on social media; the lack of proper criticism in the media (and online media more specifically); and the connections between diasporas. ALL THE THINGS that I yammer about all the time!

Conference fees, which includes lunch and refreshments, is SG$120 and SG$60 (for full-time students). Early-bird rates—SG$95 and SG$45—are valid until October 31. Go register!

The conference is co-organized by Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society and N Dance & Yoga: A Space for Research and Experimentation in Dance and Somatic Practices and supported by the NUS Centre For the Arts.

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