New Delhi: Nritarutya, a Bangalore-based premier dance group, makes its debut in Delhi with Prayog 3, an exciting multimedia production of Indian contemporary dance that encompasses the group’s latest experiments with contrast, balance and force, at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi on April 16, 2011 at 7 p.m. Entry is free. For details: www.nritarutya.com
Prayog 3 is an exciting multimedia production, progressive and innovative in its content, comprising of four unique pieces choreographed by Mayuri Upadhya (Kali/ Ardha Nareshwar), Madhuri Upadhya (Chittara) and Sathya B G (Mars). Prayog, as a production, showcases movement and thought that are currently being explored on the outer fringes of the Bangalore dance scene. Using classical dance like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, martial arts, yoga and folk dance, Prayog 3 acquires a unique flavour of its own.
“We’ve selected works based on a variety of themes, exclusively for Delhi, that mark our innovations in dance. Striking a balance in the choice of subjects, our dance presents thematic visual works inspired from mythology to modern age themes,” says Mayuri Upadhya, Artistic Director, Nritarutya.
Nritarutya is composed of two words. Nritya meaning dance and taru meaning tree. So, Nritarutya essentially means a “dancing tree”. Nritarutya’s dance tapestry is woven by collective journeys of the body. “Our journeys are inspired by our Indian roots and cultural heritage - myths, folklore, literature and painting, among others. This diversity and richness combined with our eclectic training in different Indian movement disciplines – classical dance, martial arts, yoga and folk dance – nourishes our art, gives it its unique rasa,” says Mayuri Upadhya.
What makes the event even more unique is that their dance is dynamic, constantly redefining spaces with the use of cutting edge technology – multimedia, mixed media to video-art. Says Mayuri: “Our dance reflects India that is now - in its source of inspiration, music and in the movement vocabulary itself.”
For Prayog 3, the curtain rises with the first piece choreographed Sathya B.G which is titled ‘Mars’. The piece is energetic, very physical and nritta based with mainly male performers. Using a vocabulary of Bharatanatyam infused with physical theatre and contact work, the act aims to push the body to its creative limits in the context of dance. “Mars is a technical piece that aims to expose the many layers and dimensions that make up a man. As a composition, it brings to light the male energy, the confidence, the suppressed emotions and the child hiding inside a man. This piece utilizes a unique property of a seesaw in a metaphorical manner to highlight the various levels that exist in the societal representation of man, the shades of experience he lives through for survival,” says Sathya B.G.
Mars utilises the percussion expertise of Darbuka Shiva (of the band Yodhaka, Chennai) who has won critical acclaim for a wide range of percussion instruments that includes drums, congas, timbales, the cajon, middle-eastern derbouka, bongos, the Egyptian doumbek, the African djembe, the tabla, ghatam, dholand the dholak to name a few.
The next piece is ‘Kali’, choreographed by Mayuri Upadhya which is based on a story from Hindu mythology. Originally commissioned and performed for the Royal family of Mysore – the Wadiyars - the dance is classical-inspired and neo-traditional. Performed with eight dancers, the dance is an ode in movement to the ferocious killer goddess - The Bhadrakali, as popularly known in the South. Her magnificence in nine avatars is brought out through classical Bharatanatyam inspired choreography. Her dance of death is seen as a union with god, nirvana of the soul, a beginning rather than an end. “Death is seen as a celebration here, with a constant recurring image of a bird, as the winged carrier and messenger/vahana to another world. A lot of movement with a haunting melody line adds to the dark mood of the act. The dance is designed visualizing the hue of night, hair streaming, the colour of blood dripping in her tongue - Kaali, adorning, as beads for her garland, the heads of the massacred demons; is dancing and drinking their blood,” explains Mayuri Upadhya.
‘Kaali’ will be followed by ‘Chittara’, a piece choreographed by Madhuri Upadhya, who is also a fine arts graduate apart from being a trained Bharatanatyam and Kathak dancer. “The act Chittara does not follow any particular dance style, it’s both fluid and staccato.” says Madhuri Upadhya.
“Chittara” is a visually stimulating presentation that uses dancers to create striking images on stage drawn from a variety of kaleidoscopic Rangoli patterns while incorporating mixed media in the form of graphics and projections. The piece seeks inspiration from a typical south Indian morning, where one can hear Suprabhatam, see Rangolis being drawn in front of homes and giving a spiritual welcome to the day. The music in the piece is by Rzhude David, former guitarist with rock band Thermal and a Quarter.
The grand finale of the evening will be ‘Ardha Nareshwar’, choreographed by Mayuri Upadhya with music by none other than Raghu Dixit of the Raghu Dixit project. The piece is theatrical, has an elaborate stage setting and is inspired from day to day situations.
“In our mythology, Ardha Nareshwar is the manifestation of Shiva that unites forces of male and female power, matter and energy to display the two-fold nature of the universe. Today, I believe each one of us is a contemporary Ardha Nareshwara who’s earned this privilege and made a conscious choice to be here,” says Mayuri.
The piece is very frontal in design, making the movement exploration vertically not horizontally. “In textual images we see Ardha nareshwar divided vertically by a line. What if this line was horizontal...then, would a trans-sexual be a living example of an Ardha nareshwar? Why are we living in a world of paradox, seeking peace in a range of worldly desires and pursuits. Women ride bikes/ men cry aloud...with merging gender roles...do we have a bit of man in a woman or man has an addition to him? Can there ever be balance in today's world?” asks Mayuri. Hence, this dance is more of an observation than a judgment comparing contrasts of Indian eras, interconnectedness between external relationships and the internal.