Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our First Days in Chennai

We made it to Chennai!!

John Britto's dancers greeted us at the Chennai airport around 1am and performed a traditional welcoming ceremony...including flowers, incense, prayer, and a traditional indian was quite the treat after such a long journey!

We settled into our hotel and finally made it to bed around 2am. Our first day included a trip to the American Consulate, with John Britto, to meet with Ragini Gupta, Consul of Cultural Affairs. This was the first face to face meeting with Dana, John, and Ragini since prior communication had only been through phone and email! After going through the schedule and discussing the workshop, performances, etc., we drove to see the auditorium where the concerts will be held when the DTSB&Co Dancers arrive in January. Lastly, we met with John Britto's Dance Company at his studio/school. The dancers gave us a great demonstration of the different forms of dance they train in...jazz, hip-hop, flamenco, salsa, and classical indian dance are just a few of those forms. We are really looking forward to starting the workshop tomorrow...but for now, it is time to get some rest and recoup from jet lag!!

Workshop Day 1
Today is our first day working with John Britto's Dance company...they are such a wondeful group of dancers! Everyone is very excited to have us here...the dancers are very enthusiatic and eager to learn. The general schedule runs as a 2 hour monring class followed by a lunch break and then a 3 hour rehearsal. Dana is setting a new work on the group which will premiere in the January concert. Technical training in western dance forms has not been very popular in Chennai until almost 10 years ago when John created his studio. The studio has given John and his dancers the opporunity to learn different dance techniques by inviting artists from other countries to come and teach. The company not only provides John and his dancers a way to enjoy dance as a means of art and personal expression...but for many of his dancers it provides them with a full-time career! In addition to performing and touring, company members teach younger dance students who come to take classes after school. This reflects similarly on American culture and dance training.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dana and co! Its sounds like you guys will be having an amazing trip! I wish I were there! Make sure you guys get to eat some real South Indian food while you are there. Masala Dosa is my favorite...

Are you guys going to be taking any Bharatnatyam classes while you are in Chennai? Happy New Year!!