Friday, 21 August 2020

Bharatanatyam artists, Aruthy Kumanan from Western Sydney and Indian-born choreographer, performer and educator Aruna Gandhi expertly distill what makes this South Indian classical dance such a fascinating art form anchored in tradition and spirituality. Dispelling Youtube and Bollywood myths, both artists will make you want for more!





In order of listening:
Kanthanin Karunai
Arjunan Puveendran (composer)
Arunachalam (Original Lyrics)
(courtesy of Aruthy Kumanan)
Indian Carnatic Song
(courtesy of Aruna Gandhi)

Running Time: 43 Minutes

Pola Fanous

Pola Fanous is a young poet and performing artist from Western Sydney. An Egyptian-born immigrant, at age 21 Pola is a prominent figure in Sydney’s slam scene. In 2016, Pola competed in the Poetry Olympics and spoke at the City of Sydney’s Youth Leadership Conference. In 2017, Pola was published in ‘The Resurrection’ Anthology and performed at the Digital Writers’ Festival, The Plot Music Festival, and the Parliament House of Australia. His poem ‘Mr War (Palestine)’ incorporated into Warren Armstrong and Susannah Williams’ multi-sensory artwork ‘Listening Device VII: Felt Histories’, was awarded the 2017 Paramor Prize for Art & Innovation. In 2018, Pola began writing for Honi Soit, performed at the Sydney Writer’s Festival and made waves with his now-iconic ‘Westies’. Pola was the 2018 NSW Slam Champion in the Australian Poetry Slam National Final at the Sydney Opera House. In early 2019 he released his debut collection of poetry, STRONGSOFT. He was the Speaker in FORM Dance Projects’ 2020 Sydney Festival creation ENCOUNTER directed by Emma Saunders.

Aruna Gandhi
An independent performing artist, choreographer and educator, Aruna Gandhi specialises in the Indian-classical dance style of Bharatanatyam. She trained under the renowned artist Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy in Chennai, India. With an artistic journey spanning over three decades, she received the ‘Distinguished Talent Visa’ in Australia in 2013.  Aruna presents solos in Bharatanatyam, collaborates with artists for cross-artform projects, facilitates ‘Creative Movement’ workshops and is the Founder-Director of ‘Silambam-Sydney’ an institution for fine arts in South-West and North Sydney. Since 2009, she has performed at various mainstream and community events around Sydney and previously all over India. Her dance projects have won community grants from Fairfield & Liverpool city councils. She is a tutor at Australian College of Physical Education (ACPE) and is also a curator of community cultural events and festivals.   Her mission is to represent the Indian artistic and spiritual tradition and the multicultural face of Australia around the world.

Aruthy Kumanan
Aruthy Kumanan is a Western-Sydney born and raised Tamizh training in the art form of Bharatanatyam. Since having presented her first solo recital in 2013 she has been a student teacher at her dance school, Bharatalaya Dance Academy, Sydney. Aruthy continues to attain further training as a performer, teacher and creator. She has performed in various community festivals and charity performances such as Parramasala 2010, Holi Festival 2019 and Pongal Festival 2020. As an amateur artist, she has dabbled in choreography and continues to explore her artistic identity as she collaborates with her contemporaries and senior artists. In addition, she has also had a significant role in the staging of many dance and theatre productions. In 2018 Aruthy conceptualised, co-choreographed and staged her first thematic presentation, ‘Ma’. Currently, Aruthy is working towards the presentation of ‘Margam’, the inaugural show for a community arts organisation Niraivadhi Fine Arts, which she co-founded with the hope of fostering a platform for up-and-coming Classical Indian artists like herself.

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