Evocative images on stage

skilled A still from the performance ‘MeiDhwani’.

The creative team at Attakkalari has put together yet another splendid performance on a theme that’s sure to provoke the viewer into thinking beyond mere existence. Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts is staging ‘MeiDhwani’ at Ravindra Kalakshetra, J C Road on September 7 at 7.30 pm.

‘MeiDhwani’ is derived from Tamil and Sanskrit, ‘Mei’ meaning body and ‘dhwani’ meaning echo. This subtly alludes to ‘Echoes of the Body’ or ‘Memories of the Body’.

In the 60-minute performance, Attakkalari’s artistic director Jayachandran Palazhy attempts to portray individuals who are captives of circumstances and history.

Jayachandran’s earlier productions include Chronotopia, Purushartha and Transavatar, which have toured extensively across India and abroad. The new martial dance offering takes cues from the architectural as well as geometric abstractions of the human body and the universe, while contemplating the strength of the human spirit.

Driven by Attakkalari’s underlying philosophy ‘Traditional Physical Wisdom, Innovation and Technology’, the dance production was born after extensive research into Indian performance traditions. The movement language combines the distilled clarity of the classical dance bharatanatyam with abstracted animal motifs of the Kerala’s  martial art form — Kalarippayattu. Here the dancers seamlessly combine sensuous movements with powerful steps.

“What we intend to portray are the echoes of the body. The last few years have been rather turbulent. The residue or inscriptions of that turbulence is almost like a scar on the body. We will be exploring that pain and the depth of emotion in the performance,” reasons Jayachandran.

The piece, says Jayachandran, will be a bit more profound in the sense that the dancers are using metallic pots and cylindrical lamps as a representation of femininity and the cylindrical lamps signify male energy, more like wind or fire. The music is evocative of an imaginary landscape.  

Hinting at the five elements through its props and symbolism, metaphors such as fire, water and earth underlay this contemporary dance production. In ‘MeiDhwani’, fire acts as an allegory for male energy and a destructive power within, while the symbol of water alludes to the ever flowing life stream. The piece attempts to explore and if possible, reaffirm the centrality of the human body, mind and spirit.

Jayachandran points out that the recent turbulence (war, natural crisis etc) has affected relationships among people. “As a result of this change, a new set of relationships have emerged, creating feelings of conflict, passion, despair and disappointment. All of this is portrayed in the production,” he says. Here Jayachandran has chosen to stir clear of digital technology and has put body as the central theme wherein the body becomes the centre of that exploration.

The production is directed by Jayachandran Palazhy and choreographed by him and the dancers. It is performed by members of the Attakkalari Repertory Company. The Israeli composer and sound artist duo — Patrick Sebag and Yotam Agam have composed the music.

The lighting is designed by Thomas Dotzler. The costumes are designed by Himanshu and Sonali of Hidden Harmony. Additional costumes are by Asha and Samantha of Elan.  
Tickets are priced at Rs 200, 300 and 500 and are available online (www.bookmyshow.com, www.indianstage.in) as well as several outlets (Attakkalari Studios, Blossoms) in the City. For details call, 080-2212 3684/41467690/41483534. After the performance in Bangalore, the production is set to tour across Germany in October.

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