Chhau Dance with Luisa Spagna

On a beautiful and a sunny morning of December 23, 2011 at Qila Sarai, Sultanpur Lodhi, the site of Faculty of Music and Arts, ANAD Khand (ANAD Conservatory: An Institute of Arts, Aesthetics, Cultural Traditions and Developmental Studies), 46 students had the opportunity to participate in a Chhau dance workshop by Luisa Spagna. It was perhaps the first time that this dance form had been introduced in Punjab, a land where, according to scholars such as Professor Kamlesh Datta Tripathi, Natyashastra was written and which is the source of life to so many classical and folk dance forms of South Asia.
To attend this workshop with Luisa, students came from the neighbouring Khalsa College for Girls and Sikh Mission School, situated about 2 miles away across the rivulet, Kali Bein. Students from both these institutions have been regularly attending numerous workshops and events that ANAD Khand has been able to bring to this town since May 2011. This time however, there were many new faces who had the time of their lives dancing with and learning from Luisa. Her husband, Professor Paolo Paccolla, who teaches musicology at the Conservatorio Di Vicenza, Italy and a percussionist, spent his time taking photos and videos of moments of joy and bloom that ANAD hopes would continue to grace Rāngali Satth: Nāt-Wast even more so frequently.
The Anād Foundation is grateful to both Luisa Spagna and Professor Paolo Pacciolla for their time and contribution.

Luisa Spagna
is dancer, choreographer, dance researcher is also a member of International Dance Council, CID Unesco.
She began her dance path with the ballet, deepening the Vaganova style with the Teacher Silvia Humailà. Later she studied Odissi, an Indian classical dance form from Orissa, with M. Pradhan of the Orissa Dance Accademy.
She won the scholarship of the I.C.C.R. (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) and continues to study Odissi dance in New Delhi at the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya with M. Mudgal and T. Maharana; at the same time she started her training in Chhau dance of Seraikella with the M° S. Acharya at the Triveni Kala Sangam.
Since ’92, she collaborates with musician Paolo Pacciolla. Some of their artworks are selected for the  slide-show Punctuation, at Athens, and receive the International Contest “The contemporaries of the European Community”, organized by Teatro Stabile di Como.
With Sutra Arti Performative she presented original productions and classical repertoire of India in festival in Italy and abroad (Mediascena Europa, Auditorium Parco della Musica, XXVI Festival Internazionale di Tagliacozzo) and in national and local television programs (RaiTre-Rome, Canale8, TeleRama – Lecce).
Since 2001, in collaboration with Paolo Pacciolla and Prof. R. M. Cimino, teacher of Archaeology and History of the art of India, she has been entrusted many times by the University of Salento for the organization of festivals on Indian art and culture.
In 2004, she created the dance project “Racconti del Corpo”(Body Tales) with which she investigated the theme of the feminine and choreographs the performances. Some of these choreographies are also art-video as the trilogy Shakti-Matrika-Shekara (2009) and Sussistanako (2010).
As a pedagogist, a degree that she achieved at the University of Salento, she teaches a course for educators, and in the courses of dance and music therapy of the Libera Università Mediterranea per l’Europa (L.U.M.E. Copertino-Lecce), and in projects at various schools.
She has published different essays on dance in magazines of the University of Salento and she is author, together with P.Pacciolla of the book “La gioia e il potere: Musica e danza in India” (Joy and Power. Music and Dance in India) (Besa, 2008).
In 2004 she received the parchment of the international prize “Beato Angelico” for her work in the arts (Gallipoli, T. Schipa Theater).

For reading Luisa Spagna’s note and for viewing images from her workshop, you are cordially invited to visit the following posts:

  1. Luisa Spagna’s Note
  2. Images

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