Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance - Day 1

Thanks galore to Prakriti Foundation for bringing such a huge pool of dance talent to the shores of Chennai. What better place to drop anchor than the lovely Kalakshetra, rubbing contemporary dance off against tradition, and hoping to ignite minds. Well done Ranvir and Priyadarshini Govind, great plot there..

It was a great start to the evening with the performance of Avantika Bahl's"Say, What?'. It kind of set the trend for the evening. Yes, these were thinking performers. They had an idea to present, something they had researched upon and carefully incorporated steps into their repertoire. The viewer has to keep vigil and be continuously engaged with the thinking of the choreographer to enjoy the performance, a moment's slackness can lead u into a deep slumber.

Avantika had chosen to present her understanding of the mind of a deaf individual. She was greatly accompanied onstage by one such differently gifted performer. however the story she chose to weave her performance around sounded high on saccharine, but that doesn't take anything away from the great movements and symphony. 

'Where Should i Look' by Atul kumar, seemed to convey the struggle of and man who is troubled by trans gender feelings. It seemed to convey his struggle between his self and his desires in the backdrop of the society, and seemed to suggest that with no where to go he finally takes refuge in renunciation. But the write up in the hand out convey ideas that seem far fetched.  

'Fitting room' by Surabhi Jain set off on roll the most popular idea of the evening, that would be hoisted again by other groups, that of 'conformity'. Surabhi had conceived the performance around Jenness' ' Jar of coffee beans'. The very fact that not much of an answer was forthcoming from the audience to the performer's repeated call for a guess, seemed aptly to mirror the audience its 'conformity to a collective mum'.

Ronita Mookerji's 'Who?', was a loud and a different performance. There was experimentation with lighting, with space, appearance, sound and explorations in unrefined, primitive movements. it was the struggle of a primitive mind with the question of identity.

In 'F4' by Virieno Christina, the performance seemed to have ended before one could get a hold of the idea projected.

' White noise' by Aprna Nagesh had a great idea to start with. But the length made u wonder if they harped little too longer on that simple idea. it was, however, refreshing to see dancers of different frames efficiently carrying the show. it was a reassuring proof that the stage was not necessarily only for the slim and fair. 

'23.4/ 15.8' by Riya Mandal simply bowled me over. It was a dance that gradually grew from Random movements, to bursts of intersections to a struggle for domination to an exploration of peace to a beautiful meditation on harmony. This performance simply blinded my eyes and i just did not have the vision for the performances that followed and also had revise my reviews of the previous performances a tad lower in this new light. it was a double bonanza to watch the performance allover again, due to a blessed technical glitch, and it was a bliss to see these seemingly random movements fall exactly in place. it is a performance one could watch over and over again. it was the clear winner of the day for me!!!

 It was very difficult for me to put up with the exigencies of ' What are you here for' by Priyabrat Panigrahi, particularly after the spell binding earlier treat. the performance seemed to explore dance through mundane daily activities. The performer seemed ambitious, and it showed through the performance and pushed the rest to the back burner.

'Edges' by Megna Bharadwaj lacked in sharpness, the dancer being boxed within a space, which formed the core of the performance, could have been conveyed with greater prominence.

'Folktale' by Nachom was a refreshingly welcome break from all that heady ideas and philosophy. It was a simple folk exploration of sound and movement. The twist movements by a dancer in aerial position carried by another looked subliminal; the sound of the flute was mesmerising; the simple beats of the stick, soothing and  the taste of the lemon bitter and pungent.

'Spider Solo' by Jyotsana Rao looked like a great idea that failed to take off. the movements seemed to be inspired more by the 'Spider man' than the spider.

It would interesting to see how do students of Kalakshetra respond to these great dances from across India, thoughtfully curated by Karthika Nair. 

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