Contemporary issues through movement

Dancer Choreographer Vishwakiran Nambi presents two of his dance productions, Yele Oota and Jaaga Illa, with former talking about food wastage and the latter of congestion in the city

Published - May 15, 2024 09:43 am IST

Stills from the production

Stills from the production | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Bengaluru-based dance institute, Vishwakiran Dance Company will present Exordium. “It is a modern Indian dance theatre production aimed at discussing contemporary social and political human structures through movement,” explains Vishwakiran Nambi, the founder of the dance school. Vishwakiran is a trained Bharatanatyam, Kalari and contemporary dancer.

The evening will feature two full-length choreographies — Yele Oota (grand meal) and Jaaga Illa  (lack of space). While the former talks about our response and participation as a community to the food shortage, particularly during COVID-19, through intricately designed movement pieces and dramatic compositions, the latter is about the impact of hyper-metropolitanism of cities. The space constraint is shown through the dancers performing on a small wooden box. 

Vishwakiran believes art reflects the cities and cultures we live in and that it is always ‘art for everyone and everyone for art’. Vishwakiran started his career as a principal dancer for Nritarutya, a Bengaluru-based dance company before branching out independently.

He later forayed into dance film direction and choreography and made films including The Kitchen, which with his other works such as Pyre, Yele Oota, and Jaaga Illa have been staged and screened at many international festivals. 

Vishwakiran, founded his institute in 2018. His film choreographies include Suman Ranganath for Hemant Rao’s Kavaludaari, ‘Mugga Manusulu’ in Nag Ashwin’s Telugu film, Mahanati’ and is currently choreographing for a Kannada film, which will soon hit the screen.

Post COVID-19, running a dance company was a challenge, Vishwakiran says, as funds were hard to come by. “We sustain ourselves through teaching. Yet, I need the dance company as this is the only way you can develop a movement language and grammar. This is possible only if you work with dancers for a long time.”

Vishwakiran got an entry into film choreography when his dance music video, Neene went viral and got over 62k views. The song is written and directed by Gomtesh Upadhye, composed by Phani Kalyan and choregraphed by Vishwakiran. “It was this song that opened doors for me in the field.”

Yele oota, is a grand meal, normally served on a plantain leaf during grand celebrations and rituals. The context for me here is the wastage of food and the inequality of food and distribution of food grains. This was seen specifically during COVID-19 as I was involved in distribution of grains to the needy during that tough time. We had created a food chain and provided food for around 300 families.”

It was then that Vishwakiran discovered a family that lived just two streets away from him, had no means of a meal even for a day. “That triggered the theme of Yele Oota. Research shows that around four ton of food is wasted at weddings. The dance with its two parallel narratives talks about gluttony.”

About choosing Kannada titles and dialogue for his production, Vishwakiran says, “The only way contemporary work can connect with the people is by bringing regionality or nativity into it. The form is new to the common man. We have used Kannada dialogues in both the pieces. We call it modern Indian dance theatre. Yet, it is primarily dance and movement with some theatrics.” The dancer will soon be converting Yele Oota into a dance film.

Jaaga Illa, Vishwakiran says talks about congestion. “The focus is mainly on Bengaluru, where going from point A to point B takes five times more time than it should. The dance talks about how we also contribute to this. Is it just the common man who is reponsible for this drastic congestion or is it the government and IT industries? This piece is athletic in nature. The dancers start off dancing on a small box, in a crammed space and end up moving vertically. For this we have brought in the aerial silk form.”

Vishwakiran Nambi

Vishwakiran Nambi | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Vishwakiran is researching folk forms and has learnt a few including Dollu Kunita, Kamsale, Devarattam, Gidda and Somanakunita. “While movements in Somanakunita are basic, Dollu Kunita, has some complex moves.”

Exordium has music is composed by Gopu Krishna, while the lyrics are by Kiran Kaverappa. They will perform at Bangalore International Centre, 7pm on May 15. This is a free performance but RSVP is a must on BIC website. They will have a repeat show on June 8 at Medai, for which tickets are available on BookMyShow.

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