Take a walk down a dusty path to a village near Bangalore in India. Nrityagram—literally “dance village”—lies nestled among flowering trees. In the heat of the day, the strains of a flute reach you. You turn a corner and come upon a group of dancers. They are practicing the classical Indian dance form of Odissi, said to have originated approximately 2000 years ago. The beauty of the place belies the exacting, dedicated and real HARD work all day- that accounts for its excellence!
This is the sight that greeted Nan Melville when she first visited Nrityagram (www.nrityagram.org) at the invitation of the late Protima Bedi. She met the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble when assigned by the New York Times to photograph their debut performance in New York in 1996. She was enchanted by the dancers, and the concept of a village-school devoted to dance, and has become a great friend of the members of Nrityagram, photographing many of their New York performances. She decided to make a documentary film about the Nrityagram Dance Village and Ensemble to capture for posterity the story of the dance village and the dancers, and how they promote and develop the classical Indian Odissi dance form. She has traveled twice to India to film life in the dance village, and research archival materials. Nrityagram: For the Love of Dance premiered to favorable review at DFA’S 2010 Dance on Camera Festival in New York City.
Dance institutions in India are still very reliant on individuals for financial support, and Nrityagram is no exception. It is hoped that this documentary will promote awareness of Nrityagram, and encourage generous donors to support the school.
DVDs are available for purchase via nanmelville.com.
Nrityagram: For the Love of Dance debuted in January 2010 as an official selection
of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Dance Films Association, Dance on
Camera Festival in New York City.
The New York Times’ chief dance critic Alistair Macaulay said, “Many intelligent points are made, and much of the dance footage, not least during the closing credits, is spellbinding. I wanted the film to be twice as long.”
About the Producer
Nan Melville (nanmelville.com) is an accomplished photographer and videographer. She has been based in New York City, USA since she left South Africa in 1986. She has been assigned to photograph international figures and performers, and often travels abroad on arts and travel assignments. Her photographs are syndicated world-wide and have appeared in many overseas magazines and newspapers.
Nan’s mission is to capture for posterity the story of the Nrityagram dance village and the dancers, and how they promote and develop the Odissi dance form.
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