Friday, Jan 22, 2021 | Last Update : 06:42 PM IST

  Life   Art  28 Mar 2017  Fest gives expression to ancient dances

Fest gives expression to ancient dances

THE ASIAN AGE. | STUTEE KOTNALA
Published : Mar 28, 2017, 12:24 am IST
Updated : Mar 28, 2017, 6:29 am IST

The act is timely as it shows the fragility of human beings amidst tumultuous social changes.

The best musicians, dancers and choreographers have come together in this festival of dance, which not only celebrates life as we live it, but also aims to delve a little deeper to question the times we live in.
 The best musicians, dancers and choreographers have come together in this festival of dance, which not only celebrates life as we live it, but also aims to delve a little deeper to question the times we live in.

Representing today’s global ethos, contemporary dance in India has found its way, finding patrons and an audience. A three-day dance festival of contemporary dance, titled Expressions at Shri Ram Centre, began in the capital on Monday.

Curated by Dr Suresh K. Goel, former director-general of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, the second edition of the festival will showcase Indian and international productions, offering the audiences an interesting comparison between contemporary dance traditions from India and the West.

 

“Expressions aims to bring young creative minds from India and abroad together, where they experiment with their traditional and classical dance forms to create contemporary choreographies which may look similar at a macro level but in their soul  represent the native culture of the countries they represent. The audiences also share the joy and experience these diverse creations and have an opportunity to compare the trends in contemporary dances within India and abroad”, says Dr Goel.

a

The dance performances are a fusion of various dance forms like jazz, lyrical, ballet, and Indian classical and folk dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Kathak and Kerala martial art Kalaripayattu. Combining lights, sounds, digital arts and movement, the participating dance companies showcase how to connect the mind and the body through fluid dance movements.

 

Monday witnessed a dance performance titled Meidhwani: Echoes of the Body by Attakkalari, a renowned dance group based in Bengaluru. Directed by Jayachandran Palazhy, the music comes from Patrick Sebag and Yotam Agamm, who are from Israel. This piece attempts to explore and reaffirm the centrality of the human mind, body and spirit in live performance. Mei means body and dhwani means echo or suggestion — hence the word Meidhwani subtly alludes to “echoes of the body”. Specifically impressive was the light design by Thomas Dotzler, who is from Germany. The dance included Bharatanatyam and Kalaripayattu. Meidhwani moulds the five elements of existence — earth, water, fire, air and ether — and divides them into male and female energy. Female energy is attributed to water and earth thus we see earthen pots of water that form the backdrop on the stage while cylindrical lamps showcase the male aspect — fire and wind. “Stage is treated like a microcosm”, explains Palazhy.

 

a

The act is timely as it shows the fragility of human beings amidst tumultuous social changes.

“Time is represented in space… there’s a union of soul and meta-soul in this act… we aim to show the crisis a person faced through which the images emerge. One set of values gives way to another. While the focus is on the body, the end shows the solitude one attains after going through the rumble and tumble of life,” says Palazhy.

The artists include award-winning Bharatnatyam dancer Hema Bharati, Parth Bharadwaj and Anindita Ghosh among others.

On Tuesday, there’ll be a performance named Jinx 103 by József Trefeli and Gábor Varga. Trefeli and Varga will speak  the language of body percussion using clapping, slapping, clicking and stamping to the music of musician Fred Jarabo. This high-energy dance performance will be a treat to watch as their superfast footwork, leg twisting and weaving, high kicks and turning jumps will mesmerise the audience. The same day you can watch a contemporary twist to Kathak titled Kin by IceCraft Company, which is based in Ahmedabad. Performed by Kathal dancer Sanjukta Sinha and organised by Chirag Mehta, the dance piece is divided into three sections — Illumine, Incede and Bells. While the first two are purely solo Kathak performance by Sinha, Bells will have two contemporary dancers along with Sinha. The aim of the Kin is to give take our 3,000-year-old dance forms to the world stage. “In spite of being gifted with such a rich dance culture… we have seen that the Western world doesn’t understand our purely classical dance forms. So we are giving Kathak a contemporary twist”, says Mehta.

 

But to bring together artists, music and designs that could lend a “contemporary” interpretation to Kathak was not easy. Mehta got musicians from Austria. Mentored by English dancer Akram Khan, whose background is rooted in his classical Kathak training and contemporary dance, Kin uses electronic music to create 1,000 different sounds of bells. Tremendous grace of Sinha and modern-day music that includes Sabir Khan’s sarangi, pakhawaj and tabla makes Kin a performance to watch out for.

On March 29, the festival brings two dance performances. One is Desolate & Skin by Rhythmosic, Sengupta Dance Company from Kolkata. The piece celebrates the voices of those in society of mistaken identities and confused genders. It shows the gamut of emotions — constant struggle to be heard and the confusion — of transgenders or those belonging to the third sex who are always interrogated by society. We live free yet we are trapped within.

 

Another is It Couldn't Have Happened Before performed by Dafi Dance Company from Israel. Choreographed by Dafi Altabeb, the piece is danced and co-created by Ady Elzam and Noga Golan. The best musicians, dancers and choreographers have come together in this festival of dance, which not only celebrates life as we live it, but also aims to delve a little deeper to question the times we live in. An eclectic mix of music and dance!

Tags: classical dance, bharatnatyam, contemporary dance