Churning – Within and Around – Kathak by Shama Bhate and Nadroop & Storm before the calm – Bharatanatyam by Rama Vaidyanathan and Ensemble.
Churning – Within and Around:
For years, classical dancers have portrayed samudra manthan, ‘the great Churning’, the conflict between the honourable and the evil. The churning that brought out the good and the bad, the benevolent and the ruthless, the amrit and the poison.
A sensitive mind wonders if the pandemic has been another churning that threw both the individual and the society in catastrophe? It affected the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak. It entered not only human bodies, but the human psyche. Ironically, everyone’s life began to revolve around the TV, laptop and mobile screens which were the only connection to the outside world.
Paradoxically, amrit surfaced for optimistic and creative minds. It brought forth some untrodden paths to explore through dance. An added dimension to widen the horizons of one’s form and a new perspective for curious enthusiasts in terms of conceptualisations, musical renderings and vibrant visuals.
Guru Shama Bhate also known as Shama Tai, is among the Kathak exponents in India today. Her career spans over 40 years and she has been learning and performing Kathak from the age of 4 and has been a teacher and is involved with choreography and training many Kathak dancers in India. She is also the artistic director of her Dance Academy Nadroop in Pune.
Storm before the calm:
When the status quo of placidity is interrupted, and the inner self is stirred, what emerges is change, movement and regeneration—the dance of the cosmos, the dance of the body and the dance of the mind. For a practising dancer, the years of introspection and dialogue with the art form results in the release of creative energy that incites the body to move in the actual space and stimulates the mind to fly in a virtual world of imagination. The process of churning within a dancer is inevitable and it happens on a multitude of levels. It evokes originality, it reaches out to unchartered spaces, it placates a disturbed mind and provokes a placid body. Storm before the calm takes us inside a dancer’s mind and traces the crucial journey from the studio, where the churning happens, to the stage where the elixir of joy is experienced.
Rama Vaidyanathan took Bharatanatyam to a new era. Her ability to use her Bharatanatyam compositions to observe the Universe set her apart in the realm of classical dance. Her bond with the spiritual, combined with a knack for instinctually gravitating towards the abstract, has made her one of the most formidable creators in Bharatanatyam.
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