Dance

‘Meraki’ failed to establish a connect

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The weak narrative of the production did not build up the tempo

Kumudini Lakhia has carved a niche for herself as an artiste par excellence, in a long illustrious career devoted to the pursuit of an art she so dearly loved — Kathak. Acclaimed for her choreographic works on diverse themes, she has trained many talented dancers in her institution Kadamb, whom she moulds to give form to her creative ideas. Therefore, expectations ran high as her latest choreographic work ‘Meraki’, a travelling show, was presented at The Music Academy, Chennai recently.

‘Meraki’, a Greek word which means putting one’s soul into one’s work, was the tagline of the show, and it dealt with a woman’s journey on a path of self discovery.

The heroine Meraki, a young, desolate woman distressed by the pressures of life, feels rejuvenated when she meets another woman, who makes her realise the joy and happiness that life has to offer. Energised further watching a group of girls dancing in abandon, she moves on and meets a young man who is charmed by her positive spirit. Meraki surrenders herself to him, experiences bliss and then goes in search of her identity. Her self-confidence and spirit are awakened and finally, realisation dawns on her that she is an integral part of society and every individual needs to build and nurture relationship. This was the crux of the story on which the production was based.

The hallmarks of Kadamb such as coordinated costumes, colourful lighting, aesthetic choreographic patterns, beautiful formations, well-trained dancers moving in synchrony and a lively musical score were there. In the sequence, where the hero and his friends dance in exuberance evoking their camaraderie, the use of rhythmic bols such as ‘Dha kita din tha kita kita tha’ posed as questions, finding a reply from another group of dancers through their footwork and sounds of the ghungroo, received thunderous applause. These were also the only high points of the evening. In the hustle and bustle of all this group activity, the storyline sadly faded into the background.

The narrative didn’t flow smoothly right from the opening segment, where the two diverse emotions of despair and happiness represented by two dancers were not explored in depth and their expressions didn’t convey the mood. Even the interaction between the hero and heroine, sitting under two spotlights, remained only at a physical level without establishing a strong emotional connect.

Sanjukta Sinha could not capture the confidence of the woman through her movement and expression in her solo piece. The lighting added some visual effects in certain sections while the musical score combined elements of Indian classical and western music judiciously.

Kumudini Lakhia has raised the standard of her art so high that sometimes it could be difficult for every production to live up to it.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:57:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/on-the-path-of-self-discovery-meraki-lost-itself/article26203252.ece

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