The 18th Sanjukta Panigrahi Yuva Mahotsav

The world has been going through such turmoil in many aspects, including the pandemic, lives being displaced by armed conflicts, racism, climate issues, and more. Since the beginning of 2020, there have been numerous times when I hesitated to share things, not wanting to cover up other important messages. 

However, today, I would like to humbly share this celebratory news because what my teacher's teacher in India is doing is noteworthy. 

Also, in times like this, I remember what my maternal grandfather, a traditional bamboo weaver, said. "People don't need art to survive, but art makes people's hearts supple and whole and sustain human spirits, so in difficult times, artists need to keep honing their skills and creating art." 

Guru Jhelum Paranjape, whom we affectionately call Jhelumtai ("tai" means elder sister in Marathi, one of the Indian languages), has organized this annual dance festival called "Sanjukta Panigrahi Yuva Mahotsav" through her dance school, Smitalay, since 2004. 

Sanjukta Panigrahi (the lady in black and white in the flyer above) was the foremost exponent of Indian classical dance Odissi. She passed away at age 52 in 1997. Yuva means youth, and mahotsav means festival. Since Sanjuktaji always encouraged young dancers, Jhelumtai started this festival to support newly establishing dancers, presenting nearly all the classical styles. 

Last year and this year, the festival was and is hosted virtually due to the pandemic. When I received a message from one of Jheumtai's senior students, Hemangitai, notifying me that I will be a part of the festival, I could not believe it. 

I scouted possible locations, asked my friend, Kosuke Furukawa to videotape me, and I edited the video. Kosuke said that morning light is the best, so we began shooting at 7 am. I woke up at 4 am and got ready; I had never performed that early in my life. :-D 

Then I experienced a huge learning curve to use DaVinci Resolve, a video editing software. I watched many YouTube videos, read websites, and asked Kosuke and another friend, Stephan Boeker for their guidance over the phone to complete the video. 

Why did I edit it myself? 1) I did not have the funds to hire an editor. 2) I always wanted to learn how to use DaVinci Resolve. Thanks to Jheumtai for this incentive to dive into something new.

One more dive I had to make was to be okay with making my performance video available to the Internet world. With Yosakoi dance (Japanese dance), I had no problem. I've been dancing it since I was a child. I felt I knew what I was doing well enough, and I was satisfied with my performance level. 

But with Odissi, I am only dancing it since 2005, and it takes years and years to learn this classical art form. There are so many incredible dancers, and I have a long way to reach their mastery if I could ever get there. I had to overcome my inner voice and tell myself, "You know what, Akari? You did what you could do as of today. It was your best as of today, so be okay with it. And keep working on it. Being vulnerable is a part of the growth process! You cannot avoid it if you want to grow, and you're not gonna die from it, so get used to it." 

I am grateful to Jhelumtai for believing in me and pushing my back to be on this platform. 

I know that for Hawaii friends, it will be hard to watch it live as it will be 3:30 am (on Tuesday, 8/24). I believe it will be available to be viewed after the live show on FB and YouTube

On the first day, Preetisha Mohapatra, the granddaughter of Padmavibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Sumanjit, a disciple of Guru Aloka Kanungo will be seen. I saw Alokaji's performance in India in 2014, and I had goose bumps.

I am on the second day with Sanatan Chakravarty, another senior disciple of Jhelumtai. I met and got to perform with Sanatan back in 2013. I believe we are close in age, and hearing his story of quitting a stable job to pursue Odissi dance truly inspired me (which I ended up doing the following year). 

I offer a deep bow to Padmashree Sanjukta Panigrahi, Smitalay, Jhelumtai, and the Smitalay friends working behind the scene for this opportunity. (Thank you, Ankur Ballal.) 

And my pranam to my teacher, Sarala Dandekar Vafaie for I am here because of her.





私たちが親しみを込めて 「ジェーラムタイ」と呼ぶ(名前の後につく「タイ」はインドのマラーティー語で「お姉さん」という意味)ジェーラム・パランザペ師は、2004年から自身のダンススクール 、Smitalay で「Sanjukta Panigrahi Yuva Mahotsav」というダンスフェスティバルを毎年開催しています。ジェーラムタイは私の先生の先生です。




そして、ビデオ編集ソフトDaVinci Resolveの使い方を学ぶのに大変な苦労をしました。YouTubeの動画をたくさん見たり、ウェブサイトを読んだり、こうすけさんや友人のステファンさんに電話越しで教えてもらったりして、ビデオを完成させました。

なぜ自分で編集したのかといいますと、1)編集者を雇う資金がなかったから。2)DaVinci Resolveの使い方を学びたいとずっと思っていたから。ですので、このように新しいことに挑戦するきっかけを作ってくれたジェーラムタイに感謝しています。








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