Hari and Chethana
Choreographers, kathak dancers and contemporary performers Hari and Chethana have distinguished themselves through their performances all over the world. They have been featured in many films in different languages and have also received various awards for their contribution to art.
In an interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Hari and Chethana talk about the 25-year journey of the ‘Noopur Performing Arts Center’, response received for their art, recent work, future plans and more.
Tell us about your 25-year journey at the ‘Noopur Performing Arts Center’. How do you plan to expand it in other countries?
It has been an interesting journey right from the time of being a passionate lover of the art and to learning the art itself. Learning has been through various forms and from various gurus, each of them with their own valuable perspectives, techniques and understanding of dance. Learning from great teachers has been a blessing for us.
It was never easy for us throughout and we had to face a lot of challenges and obstacles as we hail from very conservative families. After understanding this art form, when we started performing, there were new elements, new techniques and there was a vast arena for exploration within the traditional boundaries of the art form. This gave us the room to explore and create more.
Being empanelled artistes of the ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) and the Ministry of Culture, we had the opportunity to travel for performances to the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Srilanka and the Middle East. We were also the Resident Artist of the Korzo Theater in the Netherlands since 2013. Under the guidance of Leo Spreksel, we were a part of musical productions like Satyagraha and Dance Macabre with live symphony orchestra.
We also organised training, workshops, lecture demonstrations and community performances by collaborating with local artistes and Indian artistes to produce mega dance productions, which have been huge successes.
We are also very happy and proud that our senior students Sirisha, Seema Krishnan, Nidika Loomba Tuli, Sonali Loomba, Manu Jagadish, Indu Pandey, Karthika Vijaykumar, Gayatri, Sneha, Sawan, Navya, Cynthia, Shika and Neethu are carrying forward this art form. They have been trained carefully and guided by us in their respective regions through dance classes and performances. We also teach students through online classes where students from any part of the world can connect easily and learn.
Tell us about the response you have received for your contribution to the arts?
We are very fortunate to have wonderful audiences who were a constant support and encouraged our works. We have received overwhelming responses everywhere we traveled and were blessed to meet wonderful people who contributed for our growth and gave us immense support, encouragement, guidance and several opportunities.
We are ever grateful to seniors in our field who inspired us, guided us, were there whenever we needed them and also featured us in their own reputed dance festivals.
During our visits to SriLanka we met wonderful people who were constantly working for social causes through their associations like Smt. Vanathi Ravindran, former Chairperson of Kalalaya Foundation, Smt. Yamuna Ganesalingam, wife of the former Mayor of Colombo, Smt. Shanthi Balasubramanyam and many more who arranged our concert to raise funds for a cause.
We have presented our traditional works through Soorya festival all over the Middle East through the leadership of the legendary Sri. Soorya Krishnamurthy. It was truly a beautiful experience where the audiences were moved to tears watching our work. We have received standing ovations in most places that we have performed.
We have also received great appreciation and have been awarded by various organizations in India and in SriLanka, like the National Peace Award given by the Prime Minister of SriLanka; honorary doctorate from The Virtual University of Peace and Education; Kempe Gowda Award from the State of Karnataka; Aryabhata Award; International Youth Award from Swami Vivekanada Kendra; BCKA Award from Bangalore Club for Kathakali Arts; Natyalakshana Akademi Award by the Former Foreign Secretary, AP Venkateswaran; Rasa Ranjini Award; Shiva Foundation Award Chennai; and Nritya Kowmudhi Award from Andhra Pradesh. We have also received positive reviews from several art critics and scholars all across in India and abroad.
With no on-ground shows currently, how do you keep yourself engaged? Share some insights on your recent work.
With the ongoing pandemic for over a year we are constantly using the social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to present online our previous works. We are also conducting online classes and workshops and receiving good response. We were a part of few online performances such as Korzo India Dance festival in the Netherlands curated by Leo Spreksel. Our performance ‘Ayush – A modern dance production choreographed by Leo Spreksel’ was streamed live online by the Indian Embassy in the Netherlands as a part of the yoga day celebration organized by them. We performed online for the Soorya Dance Festival in Los Angeles curated by Founder Director Sushma Kasturi, for Bharath Bhavan Festival, Swaralaya Music and Arts Festival in Palakkad and Kim Ham Dance curated by Kuchipudi dancer Avijith Das.
We filmed our new dance works inspired by Maestro AR Rehman, Shreyal Ghoshal and others. We will release it on the channels through actor Shivaani Sen and playback singer Arun Goan and Nimmy Arungopan. These dance films will be showcased in the forthcoming India Dance Festival at Korzo Theater in the Netherlands on 5 May 2021.
Tell us about your association with WE Talent Global and your experience working with them.
Our association with Siddeshji has been for over 20 years. He was the one who saw our talent and gave us the opportunity to perform at Kerala. Ever since then our relationship has been strong and personal. Through his previous company, we worked together for several events in Kerala and Dubai. We had the honour to perform for Her Royal Highness the Princess of Kuwait, Princesses of Jordan, His Royal Highness of Dubai.
Now, working with his company WE Talent Global since the last two years has been a very productive and pleasurable experience. Along with his supportive partners and his excellent staff like Anila, their marketing skills and creativity, they are very professional and experienced in their work. They understand us as artistes and work hard towards promoting us.
What are your future plans?
Due to the present situation everything has come to a standstill, yet we are very positive and right now working in our space to keep our spirits alive. As soon as the situation gets better we will be organizing our student Sneha’s Kathak solo presentation and also the Noopur Dance Festival showcasing reputed artistes of our country through our organizations Noopur Performing Art Centre and Natya Lakshana Akademy with the guidance of Smt. Usha Venkateswaran.
In an interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Hari and Chethana talk about their 25-year journey, responses received for their art, recent work, future plans and more.