Nan Melville’s Documentary Film ‘Nrityagram: For the Love of Dance’ screens at the Newport Beach Film Festival on May 3‏

Posted by Lia Chang

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble in their Amphitheatre in their village in India.  Photo by Nan Melville

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble in their Amphitheatre in their village in India. Photo by Nan Melville

Nrityagram: For the Love of Dance, a short documentary by dance photojournalist Nan Melville, will screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, in Newport Beach, California.
Protima Bedi at Nrityagram, February, 1998.  Photo by Nan Melville

Protima Bedi at Nrityagram, February, 1998. Photo by Nan Melville


Melville, a freelance photographer for several arts institutions including The Julliard School, Carnegie Hall, and The New York Times, specializes in photographing and filming the performing arts, primarily dance.

Melville first met the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble in 1996, when she was assigned by The New York Times to photograph their U.S. debut performance in New York. After visiting the Nrityagram dance village in Bangalore, India, at the invitation of the late Protima Bedi, she began working on her documentary. She returned to India to film life in the dance village, and research archival materials.

Nan Melville

Nan Melville


“I’ve become a great friend of the members of Nrityagram, photographing many of their New York performances,” says Melville. “I’ve even put up dancers on my sofa when hotels were overflowed.”

Nrityagram: For the Love of Dance debuted in January 2010 as an official selection of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Dance Films Association, Dance on Camera Festival in New York City. The New York Times’ chief dance critic Alistair Macaulay said, “Many intelligent points are made, and much of the dance footage, not least during the closing credits, is spellbinding. I wanted the film to be twice as long.”

“Alastair echoes my intent to expand the film into a feature length documentary,” says Melville. My mission is to capture the story of the dance village and the dancers and how they promote and develop the Odissi dance form for posterity.” To learn more about the Nrityagram documentary project – and ways to contribute to Nrityagram’s continued success – visit www.nanmelville.com/nrityagram.

About Nan Melville:
Internationally renowned photographer and videographer Nan Melville has been based in New York City since she left South Africa in 1986. Before making Nrityagram: For the Love of Dance, she collaborated on filming a documentary on the Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company. She has won various photographic awards, including 1st Prize in the Flying Springbok International Travel Photographic Competition (Nikon, Nissan, and SA Airways). Her clients include The New York Times, The Julliard School, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. Her photographs are syndicated worldwide and have appeared in many overseas publications, including books, magazines, and newspapers. As more of her clients began requesting video work, Melville expanded her expertise into videography. She is much in demand to film performances as she has the ability to capture an event in both still and video. Her video experience led to an interest in documentary filmmaking. www.nanmelville.com