When Yamuna Sangarasivam went to audition for an ad for “Ethnic and modern dancer” little did she know it was for Michael Jackson’s video nor did she anticipate her brief brush with stardom.
When Black or White hit MTV in Los Angeles market in 1991, Yamuna became an object of adoring smiles. People came up to her and asked “Are you the one”. “Black and White” is a pleasant detour of dances from different countries. It broke new ground in the use of video technology and promoting the theme of multiculturalism. Yamuna does Odissi and has a duet with Michael Jackson.
Yamuna began to dance at age of six and has continued to do so throughout her whole life. The first dance she learned was Bharatanatyam. When she studied in Odisha, an eastern region of India, she did a piano and dance thesis recital where she performed a dance named Odissi, a very sensual, fluid and beautiful dance.
Yamuna Sangarasivam, was a student of Guru Gangadhar Pradhan. She enjoyed the experiences as a student of dance ethnology When asked about her experience she said “I feel fortunate that I am not caught up with it, it was great experience and a wonderful opportunity in that type of performance mode.” This was 1991, when she was pursuing her master’s degree in the anthropology of dance at University of California at Los Angeles. It was also the era of Los Angeles race riots and the brutal beating of Rodney King — an unarmed black man — by four white Los Angeles police officers. Jackson’s video was and continues to be a call to celebrate multiple cultures, while confronting and addressing the history of racism. Today, Yamuna is a Professor of Anthropology in Sociology & Anthropology in New York and continues to connect its themes, such as diversity, cultural integrity, and transnational formations, into her work today.
Courtesy of http://www.fullodisha.com