Lucinda Al-Zoghbi

The Art of Critical Writing

Image Credit: Yasmin Khan

Earlier this year, in April to be exact, we launched the Art of Critical Writing, a short course enabling budding arts critics to fine-tune their analytical skills over an afternoon of practical tasks, feedback and discussion.  The course proved to be a success among the participants at its premiere, at the Southbank Centre’s Alchemy Festival, and since then has taken on Leicester and Birmingham with further dates scheduled for November 2012.  In line with these recent developments, we thought it was an appropriate time to reflect on the sessions, and share the concepts and issues that have arisen from them, with you.  

The Art of Critical Writing (AOCW) was curated by Kadam Director and Pulse Editor Sanjeevini Dutta, who wanted to open up the performance experience by encouraging arts enthusiasts to find their authorial voice.  AOCW forms part of a trio of Kadam short courses, the others being Listening and Seeing, and was named ‘The Art of’ as an homage to Alain de Bottain’s Art of Travel.


Image Credit: Courtesy of the Artist


Mythili Prakash & Ensemble
Dance Base – National Centre for Dance 
As part of Edinburgh Fringe Festival 


Image Credit: Courtesy of the Artist  

Thu, 2012-08-16

For her Fringe debut, California-based bharatanatyam dancer, Mythili Prakash, presents Natyam, a three-part performance extraordinaire at Edinburgh’s premiere dance venue, Dance Base.  Prakash began her training in the Thanjavur tradition under the direction of her mother, Smt Viji Prakash, herself a virtuoso performer and disciple of some of the great masters in Bombay; and has since performed extensively in India and America to great critical acclaim.  But how will she fair at the world’s biggest arts festival? 

Ragamala Remixed

Credit: Courtesy of Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Thu, 2012-05-24

For one night only, Dulwich Picture Gallery presented Ragamala Remixed, a late-night opening of the Ragamala and Van Dyck in Sicily exhibitions with “a little bit extra”.  The “extra” came in the form of live dance and music performances from young people to semi-professional artists – the evening had an inclusive, participatory focus which certainly managed to draw in the crowds which was, perhaps, surprising considering the location.

Lok Virsa: Without Borders

Image Source: 
Simon Balson
Sonia Sabri Company
Tuesday 17 April 2012
Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall
As part of Alchemy Festival 
Tue, 2012-04-17

It’s Alchemy Festival and, once again, The Clore Ballroom has been transformed from a vast empty space to a bright, colourful, even intimate, hub for South Asian culture to unleash itself on even the most unsuspecting passerby.  One group who recruited a steady flow of audience members was Sonia Sabri Company who had people up on their feet and joining in by the end of the performance.    

Classic Cut

Credit: Chris Nash
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company

Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House  

Thu, 2012-03-15

“An intriguing new production in two halves”, that’s what we were told.  And intriguing it was.  Classic Cut is a double-bill from acclaimed British-Asian choreographer, Shobana Jeyasingh which combines new – Dev Kahan Hai?, or for those of us not fluent in Hindi Where is Dev? – and old, Configurations, the 1989 collaboration with composer Michael Nyman.  What I found most intriguing, at first, was Jeyasingh’s decision to programme the new first and then the old.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Bollywood Brass Band

Credit: Michelle Baracho

Bollywood Brass Band @ Stratford Circus

Fri, 2012-02-10

The first time I saw the BBB perform was last year at the Guildford International Music Festival, and I’d been keeping my eyes and ears peeled for their next (London-based) gig ever since.  These guys are great, if you haven’t seen them perform before then you should.  Sold as “Bollywood meets Brass meets Bhangra”, they do exactly what it says on the tin plus much much more.  

Pulse Preview - Kathak Innovators in the UK: Aakash Odedra

Credit: Nisha Kajal Patel

London audiences will be treated to a real gem of a performance this weekend as Aakash Odedra takes to the stage at The Place on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February.  Pulse caught up with Odedra ahead of the show to probe him on his kathak journey thus far.   

Odedra, who spent most of last year in the studio working with three big names on the international contemporary dance scene - namely Russel Maliphant, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Akram Khan, compares his experience of working with choreographers from different dance worlds.  “In kathak there’s a formality and if you don’t learn the formality then you don’t learn the art form.”, he begins.  “There’s that level of respect, the behaviour and mannerisms in the class but with the choreographers it’s completely different.

Pulse Exclusive: Interview with Miti Desai

Credit: Courtesy of the Artist

Mohiniattam dancer, Miti Desai, is set to perform in The Good Fashion Show, later this week.  Pulse caught up with Miti ahead of her performance to get the lowdown on all things dance and design.  Interview conducted and edited by Lucinda Al-Zoghbi.  

LA: How long have you been dancing Mohiniattam and where and with whom did you begin your training?

Borderland (as part of London Jazz Festival) - Soumik Datta

Courtesy of the artist

Rich Mix, London 

Tue, 2011-11-15

The stage is deserted except for a few discarded instruments which mysteriously fade into the background.  A film (aren’t we here to see a music concert?), that’s set on board a flight bound for London Gatwick airport, appears on a projected screen and is over-layed with speech spoken by an Indian man.  We, or rather I, later discover that the man is, or rather was, Rabindranath Tagore, the acclaimed Bengali poet.

The Re-Making of a Ballet Classic, Khoo-Style


He slipped off the radar for a while but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been hard at work.  Pulse caught up with Mavin Khoo, the acclaimed Malaysian-born dancer of bharatanatyam, contemporary and ballet to hear how his dance career is flourishing across the world. 

Mavin Khoo is a busy man.  Like any successful dance artist, he has a back-to-back schedule that includes training, rehearsals, performances and numerous meetings.  But where Khoo is different from his contemporaries is his geographic reach.  Khoo stretches himself between his home in Malta, his native Malaysia, India, London and wherever his tour takes him (usually Europe and Asia).  Khoo admits “ life is pretty hectic at the moment because my work branches out into so many different areas.” Amongst these: premiere for his own version of Swan Lake, cr
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