The Life and Times of La Meri: The Queen of Ethnic Dance

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Item Code: IDF261
Publisher: Indira Gandhi National Centre For The Arts, Aryan Books International
Author: Usha Venkateswaran
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8173052921
Pages: 129 (Illustrated throught with B & W Figures.)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11" X 8.8"
Weight 1.03 kg
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Book Description

From the Jacket:

Russel Meriwether Hughes, born in Louisville, Kentucky, on 13th May, 1898, later came to known as 'La Meri', the dancer, poet, writer, ethnic dance teacher and choreographer of repute. She traveled three times she diligently studied authentic dance forms and made them part of her repertoire.

She came to India, 'her dreamland', and managed to learn Bharatanatyam from Papanasam Vadivelu and Kathak from Ram Dutt Tiwari and held performances very creditably. She analysed all the dance movements and created a good methodology for teaching the varied dance forms from different countries. She was called the 'Queen of Ethnic Dances' and energetically propagated the dances, for she believed in dance as the best form of communications, to bring out peace and amity amongst people from different cultures.

The present monograph is a precise and insightful attempt to look into the life and times of La Meri. The author has dealt with the subject with great care and sensitivity. The six chapters - Looking through a Mirror: a Glimpse of Personal Life; Images: La Meri and the Indian Imagery; Crystals: La Meri as an Ethnic Dance Expert; Reflections: Inspirations and Achievements; Spotlight: Stars on and off the Stage and Rainbow: The Colourful Life and Beyond - illustrate different facets of her colourful personality. The text, supplemented by excellent and rare photographs, bears testimony to the versatility of La Meri, the artist and La Meri, the woman.

It is hoped that this monograph will add significantly to the meager literature on this extraordinary artist.

About the Author:

Usha Venkateswaran is a disciple of the legendary Bharatanatyam Guru, Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai. She had later on studied Manipuri and Kathak.

She graduated in Choreography from the well-known State Institute of Theatrical Arts (GITIS) when she was in Moscow. As the wife of a diplomat, she had ample opportunity to observe and learn the dance from the different countries.

Besides performing and giving lecture demonstrations, she taught Indian dances to artistes in the countries she lived in like Ethiopia, the USSR, Fiji, Germany, the USA, Syria, Switzerland and China.

Usha Venkateswaran has used her rich experience in dance production and choreography to set up 'Natyalakshana' (The Institute of Choreography and Innovative Dance in New Delhi), which provides a platform to talented young artists.


Foreword V
Preface IX
Introduction XII
1. Looking through a Mirror: A Glimpse of Personal Life 1
2. Images: La Meri and the Indian Imagery 36
3. Crystals: La Meri as an Ethnic Dance Expert 55
4. Reflections: Inspirations and Achievements 80
5. Spotlight: Stars on and off the Stage 88
6. Rainbow: The Colourful Life and Beyond 96
Appendices 103
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