SAIIER Annual Report 2014-2015: Centre for Research in the Performing Arts

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Auroville Theatre Group
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Deepanam School
Centre for Research in the Performing Arts


Introduction

The aims of CRIPA are:

  • To offer a space for the development of the Performing Arts in Auroville through classes, workshops and performances.
  • To enrich Auroville’ s cultural life through theatre, music, dance and the visual arts.
  • To enhance the consciousness of our audience through the Performing Arts.
  • To increase inter-cultural understanding through the Performing Arts.
  • To offer the ground for a cross-disciplinary exploration of the Performing Arts.

Activities of the year

CRIPA offers classes, workshops and a rehearsal cum performance space for performing artists, which includes music, dance and theatre. These activities are lead by Auroville artists and teachers as well as those coming from outside Auroville, as we welcome choreographers, directors, singers, actors, musicians, and composers from India and abroad. Students can sign up for regular classes, attend a weekend workshop, or as audience members enjoy a performance at CRIPA. Three of the main activities at CRIPA are the Auroville Choir, the Youth Choir, and Auroville Theatre Group (see separate report).


Auroville Choir

Introduction

The Auroville Choir was founded in 1988 with the aim to promote human unity and to foster a more harmonious collectivity through the joy of singing together, while working to refine singing and develop musicality.

Activities of the year

The Auroville Choir consists of 53 singers, from 15 different nationalities, in the age group of 17 to 70 years. The Auroville Choir meets regularly twice a week and performs 2 or 3 times a year, in Auroville and occasionally in Puducherry.

This year we also performed in the Sir Muthu Venkata Subbu Rao Concert Hall in Chennai, as the opening show for the festival “What is Auroville?” held in Chennai during the second week of March 2015. Articles and photos about the show were published in The Hindu, Indian Express, Chennai Online, etc.


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The Choir performs à cappella as well as with accompaniment from the piano or other instruments. Its repertoire explores Western classical choral music from all time periods including the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras and in different genres such as sacred and oratorio, opera, lied and chanson. The Choir also performs choral music written by contemporary composers and songs from the repertoire of musicals, gospel, folk music and pop. This season we presented a program on Romantic and Contemporary classical music, including 3 pieces composed by a young Aurovilian composer.

Outcomes

Choir members have the opportunity to learn about singing and music making, and can develop their voices and the ability to sing in tune with other harmonies. Choir singing also brings many different types of benefits to the singers: it tones and stimulates the heart and the breath, it releases endorphins, brings joy and healthy fun, balancing the emotional and mental planes of the being.

While it is a big challenge to work with a group of people from many different cultures and musical backgrounds, it is very rewarding for the singers and audience alike to see, and hear, how well they can blend together, manifesting unity and harmony.

Reflections

With the continuous work done throughout the years and the consequent performances, the level of singing is steadily improving each year, as well as the capacity to work together in a more harmonious atmosphere. The choir is a group of people that love to sing together, and works with a strong and steady dedication.

This year especially the concert in Chennai made a big impact on us. It was a big challenge, a whole day trip with 70 people (Adults and children) and performing in a very different auditorium and for an unusual audience. The result was very successful.

Future direction

We will continue working in the same direction, integrating the new members that every year join the group. It is a great challenge year after year to keep alive the spirit of the work and the quality and enthusiasm of the members.



Youth Choir

Introduction

The Auroville Youth Choir was founded in 1993 with the aim to provide the children with a refined level of singing, to help them grow in the understanding and appreciation of music, and experience qualities such as harmony, joy, beauty and unity.

Activities of the year

The Youth Choir consists of 30 singers, from 10 different nationalities, in the age group of 10 to 17 years. The Auroville Youth Choir meets once a week for rehearsals and performs 1 or 2 times a year in Auroville. Recently this year we performed in the Sir Muthu Venkata Subbu Rao Concert Hall in Chennai, as the opening show for the festival “What is Auroville” held in Chennai during the second week of March 2015.

The Choir performs à cappella as well as with accompaniment of the piano or other instruments. Its repertoire explores Western classical choral music from all time periods and popular songs from different countries, the children having a contact with other cultures through singing different original languages. It also performs choral music written by contemporary composers and songs from the repertoire of musicals, gospel, folk music and pop.

Outcomes

Choir members have the opportunity to learn about singing and music making, and can develop their voices and the ability to sing in tune with other harmonies. Choir singing also brings many different types of benefits to the singers: it tones and stimulates the heart and the breath, it releases endorphins, brings joy and healthy fun, balancing the emotional and mental planes of the being. Being an activity that children can pursue for about 10 consecutive years, it provides them solid basics on choral singing.

Reflections

With the continuous work done throughout the years and the consequent performances, children steadily improve their singing and musical abilities and the capacity to work together in a harmonious atmosphere year by year.

This year the concert in Chennai made a big impact on the children. It was a big challenge for them and a whole new experience, performing in a very different auditorium and for an unusual audience. The result was very successful.

Future direction

We will continue working in the same direction, integrating the new children that every year join the group. It is a great challenge year after year to keep alive the spirit of the work and the quality and enthusiasm of the members.

Outcomes

More than 500 children and adults use CRIPA regularly for classes, workshops, performances and rehearsals. Our performances are also very well attended.

Reflections

CRIPA has been very busy this year with rehearsals, dance workshops, performances, and ongoing classes (see files attached). We are very pleased that CRIPA has become a valued addition to Auroville’s performing arts scene.

Future direction

Next year, we look forward to expanding our student/teacher base with more and varied offerings, acknowledging that our schedule is always full and, in fact, more artists would like to be given timings in CRIPA. When we can implement Phase 2 (separate office, additional bathroom/toilet facilities, piano room), we can enhance the user experience of CRIPA even further.


See also

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Auroville Theatre Group
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Deepanam School