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

Usha Venkateswaran (Author)
Synopsis Russel Meriwether Hughes, born in Louisville, Kentucky, an 13th May, 1898, later came to be known as ‘La Meri’, he dancer, poet, writer, ethnic dance teacher and choreographer of repute. She traveled three times around the world and each time 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. Dances’ and energetically propagated the dances, for she believed in dance as the best form of communications, to bring about 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 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 testimony to the versatility of Law 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.
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About the author

Usha Venkateswaran

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 forms of 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 plateform to talented young artists.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Life and Times of La Meri: The Queen of Ethnic Dance
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173052921
length xvi+114p., B/w Plates; Appendices; 29cm.