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Extracting the essence of two dance forms

PURNIMA ASHOK Kumar and Pauline Delhomme gave an enthralling fusion performance blending two dance forms - Bharatanatyam and Western Contemporary - here on Monday. Despite the obvious differences, there was a flawless common language flowing through the nearly 40-minute performance.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2006 15:06 IST

PURNIMA ASHOK Kumar and Pauline Delhomme gave an enthralling fusion performance blending two dance forms - Bharatanatyam and Western Contemporary - here on Monday. Despite the obvious differences, there was a flawless common language flowing through the nearly 40-minute performance.

The presentation ‘Essences’ was organised jointly by Alliance Francaise de Bhopal and Bharat Bhavan at the Antarang Hall of the Bhavan. The duo came together to create a personal interpretation of what dance meant to them in their cultural space and identity. To illustrate the essence of dance beyond the differences, the dancers experimented with three closely interwoven aspects of dance: Aesthetic, emotional and spiritual.

Part one set to rhythmic patterns of chatusram (four), Khandam (five) and thishram (three) introduced the two forms through their basic elements. It was a dialogue between the two dancers where they alternated the roles of actor and spectator.

The dancers observe and attempt to understand the other’s movements. It introduced to the audience the different usage of time and space. The music added to the dialogue with Indian classical and Western rhythms.Part two expressed the joy and pleasure of dancing.

This part was their first contact where they play and appreciate the joy of dancing differently, but together. The last part explored the emotional and spiritual aspects of dance.

The music was essentially Indian with incorporation of Western influences. The ‘navrasa’ or the nine emotions – Shringara (love), haasya (laughter), karuna (compassion), roudra (anger), veera (courage), bhayanka (fear) veebhatsa (disgust), adbudha (amazement) and shanty (peace) - formed the fulcrum of the last composition.

The dancers performed immaculately and their footwork was graceful and dexterous. Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant supervised the choreographic creation and helped fine-tune the music.

The music for part one and three was composed by Venu Madhav. Part two was a jazz piece composed by Loius Armstrong in the 30s ‘Perdido Street Blues’. The orchestra comprised Venu Madhav (vocal and music composition), Balasubramaniam (mridungam), Sai Kumar (violin), Srinivas (rhythm pads), Dr Moorthy (flute) and Guru Prasad (keyboard).