'Classical dance can be an edge-of-the-seat experience!'

'Classical dance can be an edge-of-the-seat experience!'

What is redeeming about Devduta when she finds out that she is no different from anyone else is the fact that she had a choice to continue to be a prophet, pretending to be one.

But why she decides to take her life a day before the predestined time?” says Savitha Sastry, the danseuse who brought alive the character Devduta through her performance in The Prophet: Destiny. Divinity. Doubt at Kamani Auditorium over the weekend. It is a question that the audience subconsciously pondered and carried with them home after watching the Bharatanatyam performance.

Devduta is a fictional character in the dance recital, The Prophet. Her journey takes us from the creaky door of her house where she escapes from the misery inflicted
by her abusive father, to her rebirth as an artiste in the dance academy. Then on, she prospers to such heights that she is considered a
prophet by her audience.


But a shroud of doubt eclipses her mind, as she continues to question, ‘Who am I?’ Switching from a saffron robe to a danseuse’s accoutrements, Sastry, the acclaimed Bharatanatyam exponent, essays the tale of Devduta. The ambiguity of life strikes her when her inner voice, one she considers the voice of god, proclaims her death in a year’s time. Plagued with doubt, the character questions, “Do prophets come with an expiry date?”

Ergo, she looks at her life in hindsight and goes through its different phases. Explaining the climax when the central character drowns in the abyss of doubt, Sastry explains, “Her mind is plagued with questions when she performs the ‘dance of doubt’ towards the end.

God has mercy on the man who doubts what he is sure of, said Bruce Springsteen. It
encapsulates Devduta’s predicament aptly.”

Talking about her performance, the danseuse adds that the typical discussion post a Bharatanatyam concert is about the technique of dance, the movements.

“It’s interesting that the debate about this performance will just not be around any particular movement, but its content, just like it happens after a movie experience. Perhaps, it will help to get present generation to have faith in classical dance. Classical dance can be an edge of the seat experience! In this way, we can call the attention of audience just like cinema does.”

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