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A dancer's quest

SOHINI CHAKRAVORTY
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Passing by Dancer choreographer Celine Pradeu-Kanagasabai talks about her contemporary dance form with inspiration from Bharatanatyam

Fusion stepsDancer Choreographer Celine Pradeu-KanagasabaiPhoto: Nagara Gopal
Fusion stepsDancer Choreographer Celine Pradeu-KanagasabaiPhoto: Nagara Gopal

Born to a French mother and a Sri Lankan Tamil father, it is in her quest to know more about her roots that Celine Pradeu-Kanagasabai, found her answers in dance. She started learning classical ballet at the age of five, and when she was 15 years she graduated to contemporary dance. “Born in France, ballet and contemporary form of dance was easy to learn, but I wanted to learn more about my father's background as well,” she says.

The need to understand the culture on her father's side led the Parisian to take up Bharatanatyam at the age of 20 under the tutelage of Nirupama Nityanandan of Kalakshetra Foundation. “I was requested for a solo performance but I knew I couldn't get it ready in such a short notice, no I decided to give a dance talk where I will perform parts of my solo and explain my dance style,” explains Celine on her fifth visit to the country. “On my last visit, I took an intense one month training in Kathakali and I use the basics in my dance,” she says.

Celine calls her dance style ‘Bharatemporary' which is a fusion of Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance with elements of western classical style. “In contemporary dance you search for the deeper movements, the sensation and feelings are more important than the form where as Bharatanatyam is more rigorous, disciplinary and straight spirited. For example I take the mudras from Bharatanatyam and incorporate them in my contemporary form,” she explains. But she clarifies that she doesn't want to hurt the purists of Indian classical dance.

“My intention is not to create anything new. I am not trying to create a revolution through my dance. It is more intimate. It is my attempt to connect with both the cultures. It is my personal quest,” she clarifies. However, she insists that to create a fusion dance style, it is important to learn the basics and rules of both the dance forms. The dancer choreographer was in the city to give a dance talk as a part of Women's March 2012 in association with Alliance Francaise Hyderabad.

SOHINI CHAKRAVORTY

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