Awe-inspiring aerial acrobatic feats

The deep melodious sound of drums welcomed us into Kamani Auditorium last Thursday. Amidst the reverberating sounds of applause and an auditorium packed beyond its capacity, the performers onstage and the audience equally revelled in the acrobatic performance titled ‘Aakashan’.

A fusion of Australian and Indian traditional aerial acrobatics arts, Aakashan, was presented by the Kalakar Trust in association with the Australian Government.

Based in West Delhi’s Kathputli Colony, Kalakar Trust honed the skills of the young, talented and unprivileged traditional performers and brought the best out of them. Applauding the acts of te performers, the exhilarated crowd slipped into a stupefied silence as the young artistes on stage left them awestruck with their daring aerial acrobatic feats such as the gazelle split, half angel, mermaid, bow and arrow and sleeping beauty. One could only sit back amazed at the marvel of such acts.

The scintillating acts on stage sent waves of excitement and anxiety around in the audience. To give you a glimpse of the thrill: A beaming young boy entered the stage wearing a glittering blue-and-white bodysuit. As expected he latched onto the rope and started moving up. But what made the heart skip a beat was when his co-performer manoeuvred the rope from the ground. He whirled it around 360 degrees, continuously throughout the act,  even as the young lad left the audience stunned as he struck acrobatic poses along with it. Seeing a conspicuous lack of harnesses and protective padding on the floor, the audience was on tenterhooks, but the performers continued to dazzle the audience without a hitch, thankfully!

This synergy of performances was developed and directed by Catherine Daniel, an Australian physical theatre practitioner in collaboration with Indian choreographer Vikram Mohan, an indigenous Australian contemporary and tradition dancer Carly Sheppard and the Kalakar Trust. As the show moved from one act to another, the visuals in between transported one to the day-to-day lives of artistes living in Kathputli Colony, bringing a slice of life of the artistes behind those amazing acts to the fore.

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