Baul singers depict celestial love through earthy passion, while love is an an important aspect of the classical Kathak dance. Bringing the two varied forms together will be a performance in the capital that deftly weaves the myriad faces of love.
This "new but suitable" harmony of natural flow of thoughts through singing and the spontaneous body movements of Kathak will be staged in the capital May 7 at Arya Auditorium in South Delhi's East of Kailash.
Presented by Dhwani, a cultural organisation, this production "j:" (pronounced rah in Sanskrit) means love and desire.
The 90-minute production will see eight Kathak dancers from Dhwani, famous Baul singer Parvathy Baul from West Bengal and a percussionist offering an experimental
performance to the audience.
"There are many similarities between a Kathak performance and Baul singing. If Kathak episodes narrate love scenes between Radha and Krishna, Baul too is about worshiping the human body," Dhwani founder Vaswati Misra, who has conceived and choreographed the performance, told IANS.
"This is a new concept but very suitable. There are many productions that experiment but it is extremely important to convert that experimentation into a successful production," she added.
But it wasn't easy for the 54-year-old to convince Parvathy to be a part of this production, as Kathak is dominated by the 'ghoongru' (ankle bells) while Baul
music is smooth.
"It was by chance that I saw Parvathy's performance on a video-streaming site and I got interested in working with her. Though it was difficult to convince her first
because these two mediums are extreme when it comes to performance," said Misra, who has been choreographing for over three decades now.
"She was a bit hesitant," Misra recollected, adding: "She would think how would the sound of ankle bells merge with her raw and rustic sound'"
But, Misra successfully convinced her after thoroughly explaining the treatment she would be giving to this production.
"Even when I use poems for my dance productions, I never let the flavour of Kathak dominate the essence of the poem," she pointed out.
With mutual understanding, the final production will have some parts where live music will be interwoven with some portions of recordings.
"It was a great challenge, and it still will be challenging for dancers to change their style and expressions with the music shifting from live to recorded," Misra pointed out.
"It will be a smooth transition for different symphonies," she concluded.