The lyrics for Bharata Natyam were written many hundred years ago, when humanity’s primary concern was the longing to find God or be united with the eternal One. The lyrics were primarily in Tamil and Telugu with later dancers bringing in the voices of Kabir, Meera and other medieval poets.
Today some of us wish to speak of other, more current issues and thoughts, still using the sophistry of the dance style of Bharata Natyam. Finding My Voice brings to audiences thoughts on global warming, live in relationships, an atheists relationship with the Goddess, sexual preferences and the growing intolerance in the world, all in the strictest and most complex Pandanallur Bharata Natyam vocabulary.
In Out of Bounds, Revanta Sarabhai and Pooja Purohit pose the question: what happens when you dissect Bharata Natyam to its core? The two dancers look for a new narrative, while their bodies still carry traces of the past. We see, in three chapters, a man and a woman transform the pure form of their dance to a story about relationships.
Choreography: Mallika and Revanta Sarabhai
“Sarabhai breaks open the language of classical dance” – De Volkskraant, 2015
Co-presented by Natya Dance Theatre and Nrithyanjali School of Dance, Leela Samson’s Spanda Dance Company brings NADI to the Chicago area. Spanda Dance is a group founded in 1995 that presents works conceived and choreographed by Leela Samson, explores group dynamics in Bharata Natyam. Spanda seeks to establish a relevant dialogue between dance, music and stage craft.
From Sufi fakirs in the North to Baul singers in Bengal to Sangam poetry and classical composers in the South, an ocean of poetry has been penned inspired by the river. NADI explores the love and longing, the physical changes and the deep philosophy that the river inspired through the centuries-old voices of India’s poets. NADI includes eclectic selection of poems in different languages and musical genres from the thumris of Varanasi, to Tagore’s melodies and the Baul renderings of Bengal, to Sangam poetry, the previous centuries Dikshitar, and to modern-day Girish Karnad of the South. These pieces are tied together by Rajkumar Bharathi, who has used some traditional tunes and has re-composed others to create dialogue between music genres and between languages of the vast nation of India. NADI is a common link with elements like the river teaching man the usefulness and beauty of nature and our link to it.
You may also be interested in extensive listings of Indian Dance and Music Academies in the US from GaramChai.com