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A dialogue in dance

RANJANI GOVIND
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Event Vocalist T. M. Krishna and danseuse Priyadarshini Govind present a collaboration

In synchThe musician and dancer
In synchThe musician and dancer

Saayujya, a coming together of music and dance, is a collaborative effort by vocalist T. M. Krishna and danseuse Priyadarshini Govind. It is curated by Aalaap, an Indian performing arts initiative based in Chennai. The show, travelling to three cities in India, will be presented at Chowdiah Memorial Hall on September 30, 7 p.m.

“We have, over a period of time, worked on various ideas based on us as artists and the art form we represent,” says Krishna.

“The basis for our collaboration is not about novelty, innovation or experimentation, words that I think have been quite abused and misused. It is only to bring together the essential core elements of Bharatanatya and Carnatic music in their individual forms and to mesh together as a programme.”

Priyadarshini says, “Music is the life that flows through dance. So this programme is less about using one's reflexes and more about internalising the music. There is innate music in dance and there is inherent dance in music. Therefore, a musician and a dancer approach the same poetry from different perspectives. Understanding the music present in the dance through the eyes of a musician enhances the experience of the dance. The idea was to find the space in each other’s form to enjoy the art forms collectively and individually.”

Krishna says the performance will consist of some pieces presented individually and others together. “We have tried using just the voice and abhinaya as a medium without rhythm. Also some manodharma aspects are presented in an exchange with dance. The blending of the two happens when each is allowed their own space and at other times respond to each other.”

How can the performance be compared to responses, interaction and spontaneity encountered in Jugalbandis? Priyadarshini says: “Before I present a piece, the meaning of every word has to be unambiguously clear. In poetry, every word can have multiple meanings and so when I say unambiguously clear, I mean that I will ensure I learn the multiple meanings and explore the scenarios and ideas that can be presented for every word, every line. But what eventually happens on stage is the communication between the two artists — each reacting to the other’s art form and imagination. Here, we decided to forego repetitions to allow greater spontaneity. In the pure dance item, we have used jathis or pure dance sequences as responses to the taanam aspect in Carnatic music.”

About the purists’ reaction, Krishna is candid. “I don't think this weakens either idioms, as it only brings together the essential aspects of both. In fact they feed each other. This is our conversation. Historically both these forms were never independent in their evolution. The forms were nurtured out of such easy exchanges and grew together among communities that shared both sensibilities. It is only in the modern and post modern context that we have caged each in their own worlds.”

RANJANI GOVIND

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