Sem Chuddar Ponnambalam's Biography
Sem Chuddar Ponnambalam had studied with Guru Nila Balasubramaniam in Madras, India since she was five years old. In 1986, she had her Arangetram performance in Madras. After having settled in Ottawa, she then became the disciple of Guru Renuka Sahay, from 1987 till 1996. Sem has performed several times for Canada Day Festivities on Parliament Hill, at numerous Embassies and High Commission Functions in Ottawa and various multicultural events through out Ottawa and Toronto, Canada. Since 1996, Sem has been teaching, choreographing and performing Bharatanatyam (Temple Dance), Folk Dances from Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Bengal, along with Bollywood Fusion and Bhangra. Sem had also been invited to perform for the Indian High Commission in Washington, DC. Sem continues to teach, choreograph and perform with her students for various City of Ottawa multicultural activities and various Ethnic Associations. Sem resides in Ottawa and works as a Senior Market Development Advisor for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Our Dance Studio(Click on images to see more photos!)
Types of Dances: Bharatanatyam (Temple Dance) Bharata Natyam, which is a very popular and oldest of classical dances from India. It is highly traditional and known for its grace, purity, tenderness, staturesque & sculpturesque poses. It uplifts the dancer and the beholder to a higher level of spiritual consciousness. An embodiment of beauty, charm and gracefulness. The antiquity lies about 3000 years ago with a mythological as well as a historical origin. This dance was originally known as Sadir-attam (court dance) and also Dasiattam (performed by the daasis-the servants of God). It is the dance (natyam) that beautifully blends the three elements - ‘Bha’ - Bhava (from expressions), ‘Ra’ - Raga (from musical melody) and ‘Ta’ Taaala (from rhythm). Bollywood Dance: The dancing in Bollywood films, especially older ones, is primarily modeled on Indian dance: classical dance styles, dances of historic northern Indian courtesans or folk dances. In modern films, Indian dance elements often blend with Western dance styles (as seen on MTV or in Broadway musicals), though it is usual to see Western pop and pure classical dance numbers side by side in the same film. The hero or heroine will often perform with a troupe of supporting dancers. Folk Dance: Every state in India has folk dances of its own and they all somehow connected with the regional atmospheric condition and regional festivals. One of the more popular folk dances is Bhangra. It is a traditional form of dance and music which originates from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. It was initially used as a celebratory folk dance which heralded the coming of spring, or Vaisakhi, as it is known.
Folk dances can be categorized in three:
- Aadivasi Nritya (Tribal Dances): which belongs to the Tribes and people in deep Rural areas
- Grameend Nritya (Village Dance): Dances in Village.
- Shehri Nritya (City Dances): Mass Dances on different festival and occasions in cities by city people these dances are neither classical nor fully folk dance but the mixture of both.
- Jammu & Kashmir
- Himanchal Pradesh
- Sikkim and Ladaakh
- Manipur and Assam
- Uttar Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- Andaman & Nicobar
In the royal court of the Qadjars, old dance traditions can be found there, especially among Qadjar women, even if the art of dancing had no popularity among ordinary people.
However, the rise of the Qadjars in 1796 meant a liberalization of people’s attitude toward dancing, although this art form remained in the monopoly of the royal court. There are illustrations such as both splendid paintings and texts in form of memoirs and official reports emphasizing the popularity of these dances in court and among the elite and bourgeois families. Thus dancing became much in vogue and a social phenomenon, usually performed during diverse entertaining programs like coronations, marriage festivities and ceremonies of Norouz (the Iranian new year celebration).