Wednesday 18 November 2015

Residential Project at a Spiritual Retreat

Mridul Upadhyay, Open Award Participant attended SPIC MACAY International Convention for his Residential Project. Mridul is presenting here a report on his Residential Project.

The 3rd International Convention of SPIC MACAY was held from 31 May to 6 June at IIT-Mumbai. SPIC MACAY (Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) is a voluntary movement that organizes events (over 5000 annually) of classical music and dance, folk arts, crafts etc. in educational institutions through the world. The annual conventions of SPIC MACAY, with more than 300 chapters in India and abroad and thousands of volunteers working selflessly, is a Mahakumbh or a spiritual retreat. The annual convention has acquired international status from the past three years, when delegates from other countries also joined hands. 

The International convention focusses on providing a unique atmosphere to delegates with an emphasis on the Guru-Shishya model. The convention aims to provide a holistic experience in line with classical Indian tradition and participants follows certain rules and regulations like consumption of holistic food, not using mobile/camera and early morning wakeup etc. The convention aims to bring the lesser known and often underappreciated art forms, and the associated artists back into the spotlight. Arts forms like Paper Mache, Puppetry, Kudiyattam and more are probably not as famous as others but they are without a doubt equally significant in the amount of skill and hard work that goes into them. The convention serves as a great stage for these artists to earn the respect and appreciation they deserve while attracting people towards these lost art forms. 

The unique experience of the week-long "Aashram-Vaas" for nearly 1,800 participants from home and abroad was unforgettable, where the normal day started at 4 am with Naad-Yoga, the practice of music; Hatha Yoga, the Yogic exercises; and Dhyaan Yoga, or practising meditation; followed by "Shram-Daan" or cleaning up the surroundings. After it the most unique feature of the convention: the 3 hour long intensive workshops every day by renowned Gurus of classical music and dance, folk theatre, painting, handicrafts and much more. Based on what we learnt during this period we got a chance to perform in front of everyone on the last day. 

On various days, the afternoon sessions and lecture demonstrations had Qawwali by Warsi brothers, Sattriya dance performance by Guru Ghanakant Bora and his talented disciple Anvesha Mahanta, Odissi by Sujata Mahapatra, Bharatanatyam by Praveen Kumar, Kathak by Prerana Shrimali, Mayurbhanj Chhau by Ileana Citaristi, classical Hindustani music by Pt Vinayak Torvi, screening of Malayalam film Kathapurushan followed by interaction with 16 times National Award winning film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, an illustrated lecture with Puppet show by Dadi Padamji and an inspiring talk by the renowned painter Akbar Padamsi.

Another unique feature of this convention was the overnight music concert which started on the night of June 5, 2015 from 8 pm and go till 6 am in the morning of June 6, 2015. Renowned artistes like Balamurali Krishna, Aswani Bhide Deshpande, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Wasifuddin Dagar performed during the overnight concert. On the last day, the participants were taken on tours to different heritage sites in the city like the Kanheri Caves, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and many more.

All in all, the week-long convention facilitated hundreds of participants not only the awareness of our classical art and culture but also its ethos, the deeper and subtler meaning and values, inspiring them to become better human beings. Click her for pictures

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