Divya Nayar’s Dakshina Dance Repertory gears up to present ‘Marabu’

‘Marabu’ which will present the traditional Bharatanatyam repertoire, will be documented virtually in the presence of the live audience

April 24, 2024 03:43 pm | Updated 04:53 pm IST

The Dakshina Dance Repertory

The Dakshina Dance Repertory

In Chennai-based Bharatanatyam artiste, Divya Nayar’s new studio in Adyar, a group of seven dancers, six women and a man — Dhrisia, Kshiraja, Sayujya, Prasanna, Padmesh, Shrinaagi, Srimalli — are in the midst of a rehearsal of ‘Marabu’, which will be premiered on May 5 at the Blackbox Theatre in Besant Nagar.

‘Marabu’ is Dakshina Dance Repertory’s attempt to document the traditional Bharatanatyam repertoire and explore the hybrid format — of dancing for the camera before a live audience — for creative experiments. “For a young dance company like ours, such archiving or material matters. It, in a way, showcases what the ensemble is capable of presenting,” says Divya, who helms Dakshina Dance Repertory that was launched in 2022.

The uniqueness of ‘Marabu’ lies in the experience it offers. “It is about connecting with the audience virtually, as it happened during the pandemic, and during a live show. The rasa-anubhuti is different in both,” says Divya.

Divya Nayar

Divya Nayar

Like most dancers, who began engaging with the camera during lockdown, Divya also curated and streamed a series titled ‘The thirsty songbird’. It was an ode to bhakti poetry and featured several promising dancers. Though the response was heart-warming, Divya missed establishing an instantaneous rapport with the audience.

“When you dance for the camera, you are often dancing alone. An audience brings with it an energy, which gets transferred to the dancer and presentation”.

‘Marabu’ in Tamil means tradition, and the series will push the creative envelope as far as form, format or expression are concerned. “In the upcoming event we plan to make the audience stay on to know how perfect camera angles and lighting can elevate the presentation when viewed on camera.”

A dancer and choreographer, Divya is also a trained musician. “My father noticed my interest in the arts when I was a child. I used to draw a lot,” says Divya, who did her bachelor’s in Visual Arts at the Rudgers University in the U.S. “My initial foray into fine arts enhanced my aesthetic sensibilities, which helped in a nuanced understanding of dance for the camera,” says Divya.

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