Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

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

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


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All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com.

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Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography


Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2011 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com.

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