Poignant flow of expression

Poignant flow of expression

Poignant flow of expression

Consisting of two dance pieces, ‘NowHere’, an entertaining show, was performed by dancer Divya Kasturi, in association with Watford Palace Theatre, United Kingdom, at the Alliance Francaise, recently. As a part of the performance, she presented two pieces that varied in manner and form, yet had similar steps. 

Divya offered an insight into the vibrant traditions and new directions in South Asian dance. Darshan, rooted in classical bharata­natyam celebrated Indian theatrical stories like ‘Birth of Muruga’, ‘Taming of the River Ganges’, ‘Story of Neelakantha’, Shiva Thandavam and Rudra Thandavam, in full traditional glory. 

The piece, which entirely comprised of facial and body expressions, was true to its original form and the audience sat quietly admiring the flexibility of the dancer and the way she narrated the different stories through her steps. To add a unique touch to the performance, there was a digital screen, which changed colours, for enhancing the experience and to possibly reflect the different moods of the artiste and the dance piece. 

After a short introduction, the performance moved on to the next section of the programme, which was her latest work ‘NowHere’. It used bharatanatyam as a springboard to explore how being ‘in between’ the UK and India had formed her identity. 

This piece, which started off with an interesting background of a temple in the background, saw Divya walk to the stage in boots and a trench coat, which she took off on the stage. After this followed body movements and dance steps that included live vocals and video design to create an emotionally charged fusion of styles, sounds and images. 

About the performance, Divya said that she was glad to bring this project to the City. “My purpose of bringing both forms, classical and contemporary, to one stage was so that the audience could get a dose of both. And I was excited about the different reactions I got,” said Divya. 

She added that many in the audience told her that in her second performance, they were confused whether to focus on the live dance or the video in the background. “Also, many commented on the different visuals, which varied from vibrant scenes in India to dull scenes from London, and the effect of the same,” she said.

Karthika N, a member of the audience, who came with her family for the performance, said that it was by chance that she had come for it. “Nonetheless, the experience was rewarding. Many of us might not have understand the different layers of meaning that the artiste intended to showcase, but to see an artiste transform on the stage is a great sight,” she added GK Ahalya, a contemporary dancer, said that though she is training in different dance forms, she has never seen such a free flow of expression, which had a form and was lucid. “One could easily understand the artiste’s finesse in each of the movements, especially in the second part, where she moves from one dance form to another, without a pause,” said Ahalya.