Russel Meriwether Hughes, born in Louisville, Kentucky, on 13th May, 1898, later came to be known as La Meri, the 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 they 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 analyzed all the dance movements and created a good methodology for teaching the varied dance forms from different counties. 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 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 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. It is hoped that this monograph will add significantly to the meager literature on this extraordinary artist.
Table of Contents:
- 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
- Rainbow: The Colourful Life and Beyond
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 forms of different countries. She has used her rich experience in dance production and choreography to set up Natyalakshana, which provides a platform to talented young artists.