Mandakini Trivedi [Mohini Attam Exponent]
Ms. Mandakini Trivedi with a Master's in Fine Arts from Bombay University's Nalanda Nrityakala Mahavidyalaya was a professor in dance for almost 10 years at the University. She was initially trained in Mohini Attam by Dr. Smt. Kanak Rele. She received the Central Govt. Junior Fellowship for research in Mohini Attam. Under this project she studied dance under Mohini Attam Masters - Smt. Kalyanikuttiamma and Smt. Satyabhama and more recently under Smt. Kalamandalam Leelamma. Since then Mohini Attam has been the focus of all her creative work. Her style now is a blend of all the inputs and influences that she carries.
After she met her spiritual mentor Swami Shri Harish Madhukar, for the next seven years she lived and learnt spiritual disciplines under his loving guidance. She had learnt, when a student at Dance College that Liberation (moksha) and Self- evolution is the purpose of Indian Dance. But it was only after she lived with the Master that she clearly understood 'how' and 'why'. Her initiation into spiritual practices gave her a vision of dance, as the ancient Masters must have practiced it. The touch of her Guru revealed the amazing parallels between dance and the spiritual sadhana and it totally changed her perceptions to dance and life. With the blessings of her spiritual master she has once again returned to the practice of dance with this renewed consciousness. He initiated her into many spiritual practices as she lived and learnt from him. But it was his philosophy of Ananda Yoga or Integrated Happiness,which merged spirituality seamlessly with life - that had the greatest influence on her life and art. Association with him made her aware of the similarities of means and method in spiritual sadhana and the art of Dance. He thus sowed the seeds of her approach to Dance as a Yoga. It is in tune with this vision that she teaches, practices and spreads the art. At present she is the chair-person of Shaktiyogashrama Gurukulam founded by Babaji and is the creative head of Nateshvari, its Dance wing.
She also conducts Dance Awareness Programmes highlighting the aesthetic and spiritual aspects of Indian Dance traditions through Sabrang, an arts education organisation that she runs in Mumbai. Meanwhile she continues to explore the deep connections between Dance and scientific yogic techniques under Shri Sharad Phatak.
Her workshops, performances, choreography and writings bear the unmistakable mark of the teachings of her master. The range of her dance activity includes:
PERFORMING: Some of her notable performances include shows at the NCPA, The Rain Drops Festival, The Krishna Gana Sabha Pongal Festival, The Ghunghroo Festival, The Konarak Festival,The Kalidasa Samaroha, Khajuraho Festival, Pune Festival and The Swati Sangeeta Mahotsava, the 50th swami haridas Sangeet Sammelan, The Mumbai festival 2006, among others.
CHOREOGRAPHY: Mandakini's forte is the creation of solo dance pieces that are experimental within the framework of the Mohini Attam tradition. She creates all the items that she performs. Her work is marked by a dynamic use of space and the creation of powerful visual images conveyed with a moving simplicity that does not fail to touch even the lay - person. Her composition of Maricha Vadha from the Ramayana, Kalidasa's description of Varsha ritu, vasanta ritu and a solo dance ballet Kumarasambhava among others, are instances of such works. Her chief effort has been to give Mohini Attam a richness and variety in repertoire.
- Master's thesis - Evolution Of Hastas from Mudras
- Articles on Classical Indian dance in many leading news papers like the Times of India.
- Ananda Yoga - Conversations on Happiness, which is a compilation of dialogues with her spiritual master on life and spiritual practices
- At present is working on a book of Essays on Indian Dance.
DANCE AWARENESS PROGRAMMES: Her thought provoking lecture-demonstrations on Indian Dance have created a love for the idiom in lay - persons while revealing the intricacies of the art to even advanced students of dance. She has taken these workshops to schools, colleges, Govt/Corporate Organisations like Hindustan Levers, H.D.F.C., Lintas, Cadbury's, Ulka Advertising. The School of Architecture -Ahmedabad, The M.S. University -Baroda, The Industrial Design Centre - IIT Bombay, School of Architecture- Surat are some of the important educational centres at which she holds her programmes regularly. She was regularly invited by the Femina Miss India Beauty paegent to introduce Indian Culture to the participants.
TEACHING: Since the last 20 years Mandakini has been teaching dance, at first at the Bombay University for 12 years and thereafter on her own. It is in the classroom that she brings to life the aesthetic, and spiritual traditions of Indian art and teaches how they can be actualized while dancing. Her chief concern is to revive the yogic traditions in Indian dance through the perfection of technique and perfection of the Self. At present she is also the chairperson of Shaktiyogashrama Gurukul, a trust founded by her spiritual master to establish an educational-cultural centre. Nateshvari, the dance wing of Shaktiyogashrama trains young dancers to learn and live the philosophy of Dance in the ashram/gurukul mode
FACILITATOR FOR MEDITATION COURSES - Mandakini has conducted meditation courses teaching omkarasadhana as practiced and learnt from her guru Swami Shri harish Madhukar.
FITNESS INSTRUCTOR - Mandakini has devised fitness programmes for students of classical Indian dance based on yoga, Pilates and innovative techniques of strength and resistance training.
LIST OF PERFORMANCES / PRESENTATIONS
involving Mohini Attam, Flamenco and Theatre - 2005
Sanskrit poetry and the interpretation of Hindustani thumris - 2004