A treat for dance lovers
Last updated: 08 September, 2011
DHNS 18:32 IST
A stunning piece of art was unravelled for dance lovers when Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts presented MeiDhwani, a contemporary dance production at the Ravindra Kalakshetra recently. MeiDhwani derives from Tamil and Sanskrit means ‘Echoes of the Body’ or ‘Memories of the Body’.
The production was directed by Attakkalari’s artistic director Jayachandran Palazhy. The dance was performed by him and other dancers of the Attakkalari Repertory Company. The production was based on the organisation’s research project on Kalarippayattu which is a part of the movement Nagarika, that researches into the Indian physical traditions.
It portrayed individuals who are the captives of circumstance and history. The dance derived inspiration from the turbulence of the last few years. The effect of that turbulence is like a scar on the body and this pain and depth of emotion has been shown in the performance. Jayachandran Palazhy was the first to come on stage as the performance started. He was followed by three female dancers on the stage who danced with metallic pots, one of the main props for the dance. The female dancers were later joined on stage by male dancers who brought in cylindrical oil lamps. The co-ordination between the dancers was brilliant as they combined sensuous movements with the powerful steps.
The dance drew from the classical bharatanatyam and the Kerala’s martial art form –
Kalarippayattu. The props were an integral part of the performance as the metallic pots symbolised the contained, yet eternal femininity while the phallic, cylindrical oil lamps signified male energy. Through the props and symbolism, nature’s five elements were portrayed. The water here was the ever flowing life stream while the fire was a symbol of the male energy and also the destructive power within.
As the performance proceeded, the dancers came out dressed in purple. Their white costumes were a part of the initial landscape while the purple costumes indicated preparation of the body, as a process of constructing it through training and practice.
Through the abstract performance, the dancers showed the strength of the human spirit while in architectural and geometric realms. Jayachandra Palazhy said at the show, “The arena is a geometric representation of the larger universe and the body is also a universe in itself.”
The soundscape was specially composed for MeiDhwani by Israeli composer and sound artiste duo, Patrick Sebag and Yotam Agam who derived influenced from the celebrated masters of the Indian musical traditions. The lighting was done by Thomas Dotzler and the costumes were designed by Himanshu and Sonali of Hidden Harmony.
Said Diya Naidu, one of the dancers at the show, “We started working on this about nine months ago. We would try to merge with Jayachandran’s choreography with our movements and emotions. After a lot of hard work, our bodies understood each other and we created this piece.”
Harihara, a member of the audience said, “The dance was brilliant and there was a perfect synchronisation between the dancers. There was so much energy and power in their performance. They even used the props very well, it was perfect.”
After the first performance now, the team will travel to Germany and are looking forward to perform in front of rural audiences as well.