Navotthanam is a first of its kind performance involving the Keralite martial art form Kalaripayattu intermingling with Indian contemporary dance. A solo performance by Kalari and Kathak artist Tejesh Kumar M, the show is set happen on May 6 at the ADA Rangamandira.
The word Navotthanam means new awakening. Tejesh who has been practising Kalari for the past six years in the city says, “The genre of dance is Indian contemporary dance — basically contemporary dance with Indian aesthetics and boundaries. I have adapted Kalari, which is grounded and inspired by nature and animals into my dance. I will also have a guest performer, Nithin K who is an exponent of the artform and has been practising for over 15 years in Kerala.”
This production is entirely movement-oriented rather than expression-oriented. “I will be exploring various body techniques and the divine aspect of Kalari,” he opines. The audience will get to witness a number of artistic endeavours — from mixed media, to new artforms, etc. “We will be using mixed media production with a few sequences where the artist merges with the production. I will be adapting many other artforms like kathak into this production. A new form of art, flow art and aerial silk will also be used in my performance,” he adds.
Kalaripayattu is an ancient Keralite martial artform, and the city-based Kathak dancer says, “This martial arts is flowy, with movements close together, making it apt to be paired with dance. This was one reason that made me take up Kalari, initially. The architectural floor plan of Kalari is called Kalari Kuli. In this production, I will be exploring the physical body aspects as well as the sub-conscious mind or the spiritual path or chakras, but keeping Kalari as the main motive.” Tejesh has earlier adapted this style in two productions called Arya Sacca and Varna which were both performed in Nasik.
This style of art is nothing like we have seen before. Explaining the response he has gotten from the audience, he says, “People have responded positively as this is quite different from what they have seen, or are used to. Till now, they witnessed only classical dance like Bharatanatyam which has its own set of aesthetics and boundaries. But with this particular production, as an artist, I have the liberty to explore the movement in different ways and levels.” Wanting to keep this show as authentic and maintain the flavour of the region, Tejesh ensured that the script too was in Malayam and Sanskrit. Tejesh has plans of taking this production both as a solo show and as a group to cities across the country.
— The dance performance will be held at the ADA Rangamandira on May 6.