A perfect fusion

INNOVATION BREEDS fusion. Be it in the form of a cultural amalgam or fusion of art forms, innovations have striking features. When such experiments are performed in the field of fine arts the beneficiaries are naturally the art connoisseurs. One such fusion has been effected by the Bharatanatyam exponent and prolific writer of the `Demystifying Fine Arts' series, Vidya Bhavani Suresh. She has come out with a new dance form - `Karate Natanam' — mixing the gentle movements of `karate kathas' and classical dance.

The fusion might look "dangerous" for purists but Ms. Vidya has her own reasons. "We generally fix meanings for every movement. This fusion is an attempt at looking beyond set meanings". She looks at punches, blocks and `kathas' as a "new style of body language". In simple terms, `Karate Natanam' is graceful karate "performed without anger". "My aim is to give a new meaning to movement. Why should a specific movement be restricted to a specific purpose?" Ms. Vidya has been working with one of her disciples, Bala, a Black Belt in karate, to perfect this art form.

A perfect fusion

The leg and hand movements of karate, she explains, bring out the `mudras' of Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam. "Karate Natanam, with its soft and subtle costumes, pleasing music and calm style of presentation, is truly karate's antithesis," she says. Here a totally new dance style emerges, which is a fine fusion of tradition and modernity. The new form encourages the viewer to look beyond fixed meanings and seek new ones.

This fusion of martial and performing arts is sure to kindle the curiosity of the young, who adapt easily to innovations. When performances, other than by practitioners of the traditional dance forms, for a mixed audience combine western and oriental dance techniques, the fusion of two oriental art forms is bound to find acceptability. To take this dance form to the public, Ms. Vidya has chosen her six-year-old daughter, Mahitha Suresh, as her ambassador. Mahitha now learns to express herself in three different forms of body language - Bharatanatyam, `Karate Natanam' and karate.

By Annamalai S.

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