Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dr. Kalai Mugilan's Arangetram, Aug 12, 2007

Kalai and Sheila Rubin

Kalai and Sheila Rubin after the arangetram
What do you call a dancing man dressed in silk and gold, with makeup on his face?
Kalai Mugilan......

Dr. Kalai Mugilan had his arangetram on Aug 12th, Saturday at the Children's Dance Foundation. Family and friends cheered him on as he donned the grease paint to get onto stage to do a full fledged margam. Starting with a mallari he continued onto more intricate dances to finally end with a tillana. The second half of the program saw him more relaxed and it showed. The energetic Kali Kauthavam and the devotional Tulsidas bhajan gave us a glimpse into his dedication and all the hard work he had put in for this day.

Male dancers have to work twice as hard compared to a woman to impress an audience. The best thing about Kalai's dance was that "he danced like a man", without looking effeminate. This is not stating the obvious because a masculine interpretation of this art with grace is truly hard when all your colleagues are girls and ladies. Easiest way to learn dance is to imitate your teacher.... but he had to understand and reinvent dance "the masculine way" as his guru was a lady (no offense Sheila Akka). We all wish him more years of manly dancing bound by tradition.

Kalai has been learning with Guru Mrs. Sheila Rubin for more than ten years. It was heart warming to see him pay respects to his Guru Mrs Sheila & Guru-pati Mr. Lenny Rubin as per Indian tradition.

Deepa, his wife and all his close relatives were excellent hosts and fed us quite sumptuously with a variety of snacks.