A Vote of Thanks!

TDC was conceptualized in 2005 being a very successful fundraiser and one of its kind dance show in the Sacramento region raising funds for the Cancer Foundation of India. We had an incredible team of participants, volunteers and sponsors who had made this happen. In 2007 we finally became official as a dance troupe with Soma Tapadar playing an incredible part in its inception and operation. We don’t say this enough, but TDC would not have come into being without you, and all of us who know you here still miss you very much and wants you to move back to Folsom.

Who we are today and where we’ve come has been due to a lot of hard work and wonderful gestures from a lot of you whom we haven’t thanked enough. So today, I’m going to take this opportunity to recognize you and want you to know how grateful we are for your contribution.

Shomeek: Without his support and faith in me, TDC would not have come into existence. He believed I could do it the morning of 2005 when I first told him about the concept and he helped create my vision all the way. His technical expertise has brought life to TDC shows as he continues to support my dreams.

Kiran: I thank for making things happen and believing in us. Having played a big part in the organization and running of the school in its initial year, he allowed myself and Soma to concentrate on what we do best. Always a person we could count on.

Sowmiya: For being the most committed member and volunteering garage space for innumerable rehearsals. For being a rock solid member whom everyone could count on for anything imaginable and for believing in us for the longest time. We miss you and would like to congratulate you on your twins. Wish you all the best and hope our paths cross soon.

Nalini: I don’t get to thank you enough for the love and support you always show us. The way you always take care of the kids and are always present for me to count on you for any kind of help. I am proud to have your wonderful daughter Anjali on our team, who in so many ways is so much like you.

Tigi: I remember speaking with you the first time. You didn’t even know me but had seen our performances and had believed in me from day one. You are always there to help and have on so many occasions been a cheerleader for the kids group. I am proud of where Meagan has come and the friendships she has created.

Anuradha: For being a proponent for the kids class and helping me get together a group to kick off.

Sonali Kimsen: For providing me extremely valuable feedback when I first started the kids classes. They helped me improve in more ways than you could imagine.

Janki: Thanks for lending us accessories any time needed from your vast and beautiful collection and also opening up your home for several rehearsals.

Mahi: What an incredible addition you have been to the team. Thank you for all your help with the costumes and putting in such hard work. You have also been a believer since the beginning and I really appreciate the love and support you’ve shown me.

Lalita and Shilpa: For bringing talent to the team and being with us for the longest. Helping out with choreography as well as helping others out in class whenever needed.

Juneli: For thinking of TDC always and volunteering to get costume jewelry for our use from India.

Padma: For positive feedback and volunteering to conduct practices while I'm away.

Guru: For being a true supporter and an avid proponent of TDC. He has invited us to perform on several occasions and still does.

Kumar Kalagara and Anand Tiwari: For helping us out on several occasions and always ready to come to our aid whenever need be.

Sanjeev: For capturing our wonderful moments with his lens.

Kanchan: Who has helped me in every possible way to keep my sanity in running TDC. From costumes to coordination of events she helps me out in every possible way to keep us all together to achieve our goal.

And last, but not the least, to all past and current members, parents, supporters, organizations – a big thank you! You are all with us because you believe and are passionate. I cannot explain the pride I feel whenever someone walks up to me and tells me how they love what we do and it is all because of YOU!


Circle of support

“Unless artistes support artistes there can be no awakening in our social and political systems to support and encourage art.” - The Quarterly Arts Series by Sapphire Dance Creations, Kolkata

I cannot agree with the above comment more. I wish we had a stronger support system amongst the various Indian schools of performing arts in the Sacramento region. In all the years I have been practicing dance in this area, I have felt a void of collaboration and mutual support. I might be wrong though and it is with the hope of some performer to walk up to me and say ‘wake up lady –we’ve been here all this while’, that I write this post. Please keep in mind that I am not saying I have not received any form of support from my fellow dancers – I’ve been very lucky in that aspect, but that support was more due to personal friendships.

I also think our audience needs to witness more collaborative work between these groups. With the amount of diverse talent and creativity it would be quite amazing to experience a conglomeration of the various art forms. Different groups sharing the same stage at a Diwali event is not what I am referring to in this context. I’m talking about collaboration in its true form – creating something together from concept to competition. Merging different styles and ideas and creating an explosion of all genres that results in painting one big picture – pure art. How wonderful would that be!

Here is my plea to all you artists out there – let’s not be in competition, rather let’s be there for each other and help each other preserve, create and educate all with what we do best. Let the arts of our country shine and touch the minds of our audience. Let’s support each other and help bring the true Indian experience to Sacramento.

Contact me at malapaul@sbcglobal.net to volunteer and participate in a collaborative workshop series this summer.


Contemporary Dance in India

Exploring is what I most like in a dance. I think that’s what makes dance interesting and keeps it fresh. The freedom to interpret any style of dance or art in any form that speaks to the dancer and his/her audience is what I consider being contemporary in a dance – a form of expression and communication. That I think is the beauty of contemporary dance.

India now has quite a few contemporary dance schools doing some brilliant work throughout the country. Their works build awareness on topics that range from homosexuality to politics. I am very lucky to be acquainted with one such dance group from Kolkata who have been getting acclaims both nationally and internationally in their attempts to break barriers through the medium of dance – Sapphire Dance Creations. Their artistic director, Sudarshan Chakraborty is a visionary and it was my honor to meet him during my last visit there.

Below is an excerpt from one of their works: Purush Prakriti, performed by their principal dancer Dibyendu Nath and co-director Paramita Saha who is also my friend from college.


A short history lesson - TDC style!

Caller: Hello! Is this TranceFusion Dance Co.?
Me: Yes
Caller: What kind of dance do you teach?
Me: Contemporary (Indian Style)
Caller: Like Bollywood?

I get that from almost every caller. No doubt Bollywood can also be categorized as contemporary but modern dance in India has come a long way and most of the India population in Sacramento are not aware of this particular style and most don’t consider it a credible form of an Indian dance style.

Having been brought up in the cultural capital of India – Kolkata, I had been exposed to contemporary dance from a very early age. More commonly known as ‘creative dance’ it was largely inspired by philosophy as well as movement. This dance style was formed as a break from the tight structure of classical dance and that is what made it so fresh and appealing.

Ref: artindia.net; culturopedia.com

Modern Dance in India has a relatively short history. Since the perception of 'modern' or 'contemporary' can vary from dancer to dancer, this dance form cannot be defined as easily as the classical dance styles of India. It is also not codified in a detailed manner, as are the classical styles.
Uday Shankar, elder brother of Pt. Ravi Shankar, who was born in the early years of the 20th century, is widely accepted as the Father of Modern Dance in India. This great dancer had a very wide vision, and he appreciated the wonderful variety and scope of expression afforded by the different classical and folk dances extant in the country.
His search for a personal expression led him to incorporate different dance styles, such as Bharata Natyam and Kathakali into his choreographic productions. He established an idyllic institution in the hills of Kumaon, where he invited teachers from different genres to train his troupe in order to groom their bodies to a state where they could produce a varied, rich and contemporary dance vocabulary. Uday Shankar was an idealist as well as a wonderful showman. He was a catalyst in the renaissance of interest in Indian arts during the 1930s and '40s, and he introduced audiences in the West to Indian dance and music through the performances of his troupe.
Today, in addition to the line established by Uday Shankar, there are many other practitioners of modern dance in India. With growing interaction between dance practitioners all over the country and the world, and awareness of important contemporary issues, many classical dancers have also stepped into the realm of contemporary dance through exploration of one or many dance styles. Often martial arts such as Kalaraipayattu of Kerala and Chhau of eastern India are incorporated into dance choreography, lending greater vigour and variety to the artistic expression.

Coming up: My take on Contemporary dance in India


Bringing Some Sunshine and Some Rain

Sari umra hum Mar mar ke ji liye
Ek pal to ab hume jine do…jine do!
(I’ve spent my life like a dead person all this while. Give me a moment now to live!)

This song and movie brought sunshine to a lot of households this past year. Undoubtedly not a brilliant movie from a critic’s perspective, but what I think it did so brilliantly was touch a chord in the common man of every generation in India. Now considering that demographic and India’s population – you can be rest assured it did very well in the box office.

The movie in topic as all of you have guessed by now is 3 idiots. However you must now be wondering why am I writing about a movie in a dance blog. Rest assured this post isn’t a review of this movie. If you are disappointed, you can read my favorite review here.

It is also not about the only song in the movie that you would relate to a dance immediately: Zoobi Doobi. I'm sure we are going to witness tons of groups performing to this song at the various Indian functions in town.

It is about that one song that speaks volumes and explains the gist of the movie all at once. It is one of those rare Bollywood songs with a wonderful message that we at TDC love to create our magic with and inspire our audience. So join us this February for some sunshine and some rain. We at TDC will be getting another chance to grow up once again.

The 2010 TDC experience begins 02.07.10…

We also have a new Facebook page. Please join us there for your daily dose of sunshine and don't forget to share the page with your friends.



I am extremely sorry for not posting on this blog for so long. Wow, so much has happened since the last post. Soma packed her bags and moved to Seattle for good. We miss her. But the good thing is, she still remains very involved. We had three great performances after the Rancho Cordova International Festival. The most recent one was ‘An Ode to Mumbai’ performed at Utsav’s Saraswati Puja celebrations. The performance was dedicated to all those ordinary Indians in extraordinary circumstances. We will be performing an extended version of the same at our upcoming performance in March.

Starting this month TDC is offering kids classes. It is a very exciting step for me since I’ve always been a bit unsure as to how I fare as a teacher to the little ones. Having my own little one probably helped me in that department and I am on my way to spreading my vision to the upcoming generation. So far we’ve had a good response and the classes are a lot of fun. The feedback has been encouraging and it seems like I’m not doing too bad of a job after all. ☺

2009 seems like an exciting year to look forward to. I have a huge to-do list which includes first and foremost updating our website and keeping this blog alive. Thank you for all your support this past year and we look forward to many new relations this year.

Ode to Mumbai - Utsav Saraswati Puja 09

Dreamcatchers - Utsav Durga Puja 08


Dancing on hot coal

The experience was close enough this past Saturday when our troupe took the stage of the amphitheater at the Rancho Cordova Internation Festival, while temperatures soared to 105 degrees. The result: blistered feet and an awestruck audience.

The pain soon dissolved when everyone congratulated us for a spectacular performance and mentioned that they just witnessed the best Indian Fusion ever.

What came out of the whole experience however was very strong team spirit and professionalism on part of our troupe members. Not only did the dancers keep their composure intact while braving the elements, but our members who did not perform, stood relentlessly in the heat to cheer us on. I'm proud of our group and the love and respect we share amongst ourselves.

Way to go TDC!