An experimental bharatanatyam solo


The quadruple bill explores several aspects of the traditional form of Bharatanatyam and move them into a contemporary context while shifting perspectives on approach to space, dynamics and emotive flow. It retains the original context and vocabulary of the form, while pushing boundaries.

Bharatanatyam, has two aspects to the form. The physical movement of the body as well as a stylized theatrical story telling emotive element. The two elements often exist side by side without having anything to do with one another. The pieces in MALA attempt to bring physicality to the otherwise purely emotive, theatrical aspects and bring raw emotion into the movements themselves. The physical vocabulary that otherwise often serves as ornamentation interspersed with theatrical expression then becomes a part of the emotive narrative.

The choreographer attempts to work with the current vocabulary of Bharatanatyam and draw upon the ancient movement systems as well as contemporary thought processes to introduce the the ideas of body weight and momentum. The idea of fall and release and connecting movement through shifting weight will be explored. Thus allowing concepts in the Natyashastra as well as modern contemporary dance to shift the perspective of the initiation of movement in Bharatanatyam.

Musically and rhythmically the pieces use Carnatic music and utilize it’s rhythmic complexities to inform movement choices as is done traditionally in Bharatanatyam. The solo instrument is explored as opposed to the constant use of an ensemble in all pieces.

In Bharatanatyam, the physicality is developed by the creation of a series of angular shapes within space. The movement quality that is dominant is the idea of cutting through space in linear direct motion while creating these shapes within the body. The idea of momentum and movement that arises through the shifting of weight are less explored. The ancient movement system in India, with its roots in the Natyashastra, an ancient text of dramaturgy was far more curvilinear and lent itself more to the idea of playing with body weight and momentum.

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