Ehsaas 2007 reviews

  • Arijit Mahalanabis

    Dhrupad musician, art activist, President of Ragamala Seattle and a friend of Arpan.

    • I'm so amazed by the whole effort last night!  As a common friend said, there was so much grace in the whole thing, from the moment we walked into the theater.  The students of Arpan deserve a tremendous amount of credit in putting together an aesthetically pleasing, warm and intimate evening.  I know several people thought it was hilarious that all the backstage whispering was audible (yes, it was if no one told you. :-) ).  I just found it even more endearing.

    • Where else can we find the experience of a Bharata Natyam dancer on stage in booties to do her bhoomipranam!  :-)  That type of informality is indicative of a generous and beautiful spirit that pervades such an organization.  The director/founder of Arpan deserves major credit for creating the beginnings of a community of truly genuine artists.

    • I personally am very thankful that my meager musical stylings landed in the hands of a brilliant choreographer.  What you have done with Kala Prayanam is breathtaking!  Wonderful!  The best thing last night without question.

    • Also, I have to say that Lion King while clearly in its infancy, shows promise and was engaging.

    • All-in-all, wonderful!  Wonderful!  With a cap "W"!  Congratulations to all of the girls and to their "guru-in-training."

    • Please really, really convey my heartfelt thanks to the ladies of Arpan for making such beautiful art last night.  It has re-energized me quite a bit.

    • --Arijit--

  • Spider Kedelsky

    Director of Community programs, Town Hall Seattle and a friend of Arpan.

    • I thought the program was lovely. The first half was just the proper length and showed the dancers off to best advantage, particularly your last ensemble piece.

    • If I only have one suggestion, it would be that you did not need the Lion King segment. You are a classical dance teacher, and the event should have focused around that. If anything, the students could have prepared a brief (ten minutes max) segment of their own choreography that was inspired by their classical dance training with you. However, I think even that would not be needed. I don't know how long Meera's segment would have been, but if it was an additional 20-25 minutes, that would be all you needed after intermission.

    • --Spider--

  • Subhashini Santhanam

    Bharatanatyam dancer, ex-Microsoftie, founder of "From Within", Issaquah.

    • Ehsaas was a wonderful opportunity for the students of the dedicated teacher Joyce Paul.  She wanted her students to have a loving forum to showcase their talents and succeeded in providing them the opportunity for them to show their learning and talents to their friends and loved ones.  Like Joyce mentioned in the program, all dancers were of varying skill levels but they tried their best to dance together in a very co-ordinated fashion.

    • The Allarippu and Shabdam were my favorite numbers. The Allarippu arrangement was interesting and Raji's abhinayam at the beginning of the Shabdam dance is haunting me even now.  She was truly fabulous.  Kaalaprayanam was really beautiful with the live music support.  But it just needed a larger space and Joyce's choreography was superb.  Joyce really shines in the usage of creative juxtapositions in pure dance.   The freshness it brings is a joy to watch.

    • The students first creative item was just that... It was an innocent first attempt..  The wolf king put her heart in to her role more than the rest... It was good experience for all of them.  Even if the girls were doing a modern piece, they did not really match up to the skills of several modern dancers in the area.... if they had more time, they could have really thought about their parts and made the movements more interesting..  This comment is particularly because most of them are adults.  Lion King lacked weight but the girls really had fun doing it and that was nice to watch.

    • Formal Bharatanatyam costumes and makeup improvements will add luster to future shows - particularly makeup. Because it was a show meant to make the students feel good, they gave out awards etc.  It may have mattered to the family of the class but usually, I think this is a private dance class affair instead of acknowledgement on stage...

    • --Subha--

Agastya Kohli (Published on Artists India)

Engineer, actor, director and writer. Serves as the lead of Pratidhwani's Drama Wing.

  • Is it better to be an intellectual, capable of higher thought, wit and wisdom, or is it better to be a common man, that everyday people can relate with? Would a common man be able to impress an intellectual? Should an intellectual be able to impress everyday people? Or would an intellectual always appear to be a snob to people who are not like him/herself?

  • Are classical art forms a ‘higher’ expression of art, or does popular culture dictate what qualifies as art and what doesn’t? If classical dance is more evolved, then would it always impress its audiences? Does the audience need to be educated in the classical tradition to appreciate the nuances of the art, or the skill of the performer? Or would it be aesthetically pleasing even to the uneducated eye? 

  • When a truly smart man interacts with people who’re not as gifted, he can judge his audience, and finds a way to relate with them. If he’s unable to do so, then he isn’t any smarter than any one else around him – he’s just different. Similarly, if a classical dance form is not attractive and beautiful to untrained audiences, then it can’t be a more evolved art form.

  • Ehsaas 2007 – presented by Arpan featured dancers at different levels of skill and ability. However what was consistent about the entire show was its appeal to the audience. I have no training in dance and music… but I know beauty when I see it. I know poetry when I hear it, and I know emotion when I feel it. After a number of short pieces presented by students of Arpan, the first half of the show came to an end with Kala Prayanam – a journey in time and space – clearly the highlight of the evening in my view. That we are not in control, and time can touch us in unpredictable and uncontrollable ways – is in many ways the essence of eastern philosophy. As the piece progressed, it was evident that gradually each one of these dancers will occupy a different part of stage, and will face and point in a different direction. The end result wasn’t a mystery. But the game was to figure out how and when. Who will move next? Will they be joyful about the opportunity, or forced against their wishes? Just like the universe moves us around – sometimes expectedly, and some times not – and shapes our lives, Joyce Paul’s dancers moved gracefully as they became a part of a beautiful human sculpture – not only demonstrating their talent as dancers and undoubtedly impressing those who can appreciate the subtleties of their art – but also creating something visually pleasing, that novices like myself were able to enjoy, and be touched by.

  • There is a saying in Hindi – ghar kii murgii daal baraabar – when something is easily available to us, we tend to underestimate its importance. A dancer, choreographer and teacher of Joyce Paul’s caliber lives and works amongst us here in Seattle. It is easy to misjudge the value of her local presence to the community of dance and music, but I’d caution you to not fall into the trap. It is a great privilege to have artists of such high standard in such easy reach of us… and a common man may not know what that means, but the wise among us know we are blessed, and grateful for it.

  • Radha Janardhan - Narthaki

    Loves writing, music and dance - contributes interviews and reviews for newspapers and magazines.

  • Suchitra Raman

    Assistant instructor at Sadhana School, patron of the arts and friend of Arpan.

    • Hi Joyce - That was a wonderful evening. We enjoyed the program immensely. I could see that all of your students putting a great deal of effort irrespective of their level. Also everyone seemed very close knit - there was a lot of love among the dancers - very nice. Lion king was fun to watch too.

    • Congratulations, you deserve all the credits.

    • --Chithra--

  • Immaneni Ashok

    Founder and primary instructor at the Sadhana School of Arts.

    • Hi Joyce,

    • Given the amount of training your students had, they did a fabulous job. I didn't find anything "wrong". Given that the essence of your teaching is to realize one's self and express one's innate creative energy through the practice an art form, I see Bharatanatyam only as a set of structures and tools to help students realize what their body and mind can do. You are one of the few teachers I have seen in my life who allows students to explore their creativity in their own way, making use of the intelligence that they imbibed from their teacher.


    • What is personal about the awards? I believe it is important to recognize star students. It motivates the star students to continue to excel and inspires the other students to do better. A good teacher takes every opportunity to kindle the desire for excellence. FYI, I gave excellence awards to my students as well - check out

    • I really enjoyed your annual day function. Here is my feedback:

    • 1. The entire program was very professionally done and great attention to detail in every part of the program.

    • 2. The main MC was very expressive. I enjoyed listening to her narration.

    • 3. I liked the variety - traditional pieces with Carnatic music, your innovative composition with Hindustani music and the play with Western music.

    • 4. I was touched by the following qualities your students expressed:love for their teacher, passion for the art form, attention to detail and focus during performance, commitment to learning, creativity (esp. going out of the box).


    • You are doing such a great job as a teacher and I seek inspiration from you.


    • Cheers,

    • Ashok