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THE LIFE AND TIMES OF LA MERI: THE QUEEN OF ETHNIC DANCE

Monograph by USHA VENKATESWARAN

2005, xv+113pp., appen., ISBN: 81-7305-292-1, Rs. 900 (HB)


 

Russel Meriwether Hughes, born in Louisville, Kentucky, on 13 May 1898, later came to be known as "LaMeri", the dancer, poet, writer, ethnic dance teacher and choreographer of repute. She travelled 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 Kathakfrom 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, fior she believed in dance as the best form of communications, to bring about peace and amity among 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 ofLa Meri, the artist and La Meri, the woman.

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

 


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