The vision behind ‘MeiDhwani - Echoes of the Body' came through in expressive, feisty and synchronised moves.

Contemplations of classical dance, religion and philosophy swayed to the spirit of the current day and age for ‘MeiDhwani - Echoes of the Body,' a contemporary dance production.

Directed by Jayachandran Palazhy and choreographed by him along with the members of the Attakalari Repertory Company, the primary flavour of the dance vocabulary was energetic without sacrificing tranquil moments. The dance vocabulary drew upon the basic vitalities of Jayachandran's training in different classical dance styles, Kalaripayyattu and modern dancing without blurring the edges.

There was a strong sense of a cohesive vision behind the production which came forth in the feisty dancing, synchronised moves and expressive connections between the dancers. The production that began and concluded with the imagery of a man (performed by Jayachandran) seated on a metallic pot, offered multiple readings – could this be inspired by Rodin's Thinker or did this hint at the puppet man becomes when removed of all his latent energies?

The larger part of the narrative thread was made over to the female dancers, whose leonine walk, supple spines and tilted chins conveyed more than what any overt verbalisations could.

Elegant steps

Entering from different wings, each dancer went on leisurely strolls. Sometimes balancing on the pots, or taking it on their hips and later performing acrobatic poses on them and sometimes even inverting them altogether - they developed the text of the production elegantly.

Other metaphors used in the production were cylindrical pipes and lamps. Brisk runs, and languid stretches by the male dancers engaged the imagination at different levels.

One could linger on the traditional custom of the pots and lamps while also dwelling on the symbolism behind them.

The intrinsic beat and timing of select Kalari moves during the dance pepped up the tempo with its lithe body language. Groups formed, dissolved and re-formed to an increasing tempo meant that visual interest was kept alive. Black and white costumes by Himanshu and Sonali accentuated the clarity in the body bends and fast moves. The totality of the dancing made the intent of MeiDhwani, which was “to portray individuals who are captives of circumstance and history,” come through.

Although there was a dip in narration now and then, especially during some of the repetitive moves, overall MeiDhwani resounded with music and rhythm, both external and internal.

The twangs and notes by Israeli composer and sound artist duo Patrick Sebag and Yotam Agam, teamed with the special lighting by Thomas Dotzlerto, were haunting.

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Vidya SaranyanDecember 27, 2011