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Bridging cultural barriers via dance

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 01:16 IST
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BOTH ARE young and innovative. They met just a few months ago in Hyderabad and together Purnima Ashok Kumar (19) and Pauline Delhomme (23) have amalgamated two distinct dance styles to reproduce a perfect blend - laced with the ingredients of both.

Pauline was doing her internship at Alliance Francaise in Hyderabad and the institute’s director suggested she infuse something creative in her style. “The suggestion was interesting and I met Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant and her disciple Purnima, who was to be my stage partner in the hybrid dance form.”

Now, Purnima and Pauline have blended their respective dance styles - Bharatnatyam and Western Contemporary -to produce a fusion embellished with the best of both artistic styles.

“Since we are of the same age, it was easy to work together and pick up the nuances of the two forms,” says Purnima, who is pursuing her B Sc from Hyderabad.

On how different their fusion was from the others they say, “We are young and still exploring the meaning of dance. The whole idea of our fusion is to explore, to understand and to extract the essence of the two styles of dances. Our main objective was to look beyond the differences and to acquire the acumen to interpret any theme.”

While Purnima’s dance focuses on facial expressions, it is the prolific gyrations of body that stand apart in Pauline’s. How did they amalgamate the two movements? “The challenging part was to understand each other’s movements and cultural expressions. In fact, it took almost a month to get acclimatised with each other’s style. But once we imbibed each other’s format, it became fun to dance together.”

On the cultural relevance of such fusions Purnima says, “We need to explore beyond the basics. If we isolate ourselves we will become like islands.”

“Fusion of two dance forms creates a cultural link between two countries. It bridges cultural barriers,” adds Pauline, who has done her MA in Political Science.

Pauline, who would be returning to France after her internship later this year, is impressed by the cultural diversity in India.

“This was my first visit to India and I am enthralled by the cultural reservoir of this country.” And lastly how had the entire process of ‘cultural mixing’ honed their individual skills? “It was an eye-opening experience. I was introduced to a new dance form and I realised its enormity,” says Purnima.

“For me, it was a way to understand the Indian society. It was a great learning experience and has made me richer on a artistic scale,” sums up Pauline.