Belly up with this powerful message

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RUTH PRARTHANA
Published Nov 3, 2018, 12:31 am IST
Updated Nov 3, 2018, 12:31 am IST
A belly dance performance with a story that resonates in the times of the #metoo debate, don’t miss this...
Shruti Kulkarni and Debapriya Das  (Photo credit: Rakesh Aiylliath)
 Shruti Kulkarni and Debapriya Das (Photo credit: Rakesh Aiylliath)

We are all used to full-length classical and contemporary dance performance that follow a particular storyline. But a full-length fusion belly dance performance with a message and storyline is something new. Dance of the Seven Veils by Oscar Wilde is one such performance that is set to take the city by storm on November 10, and it has a very powerful message to impart.

Wanting to change the fact that belly dancing in the city has never really had a full-fledged recital, Shruti Kulkarni decided to host, choreograph and dance at this show. She shares, “Classical dances in the city have recitals regularly and follow a particular storyline. But belly dancing, especially with the topic we have chosen has never been done before. Through this show, we wanted to question the traditional privilege that men have to objectify women.”

 

For the show, they will focus on Salome, a biblical character who was is known to want the head of John the Baptist. Explaining the storyline Shruti adds, “Salome was in love with John the Baptist who wasn’t very keen on her. When her father asked her to dance, she said that if he was impressed with her dance, he would have to give her anything she wanted and this case; she demanded John the Baptist’s head.”

Through this show, they reveal how Salome got what she wanted, and also question how a women are always objectified as a sexual object and how men get away with it. Shruti adds, “We will be exploring a lot of other dance forms apart from belly dancing. One will get to see a lot of contemporary vocabulary, Kathak, tribal fusion and Oriental belly dancing. This show is not just for the common man but also for dancers from other forms as well.”

Joining her on stage is Debapriya Das. These two artistes will be accompanied by live music from Murugesh Dhanakodi and Muniya Dasaraj. Shruti plans to showcase Dance of the Seven Veils in all the metropolitan cities as she feels that the audience will understand their approach better. “We are looking at taking it to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Calcutta,” she shares.

Debapriya Das who will be dancing on stage along with Shruti adds, “Female sexuality is something that is not feared but is something that is unusual. For the longest time, female sexuality has always been from a male’s perspective. In movies, the female only comes in when the hero is going through an emotional journey. It is very recently, that the commercial angle shows women-centric movies and plays.”

She feels that people are unable to handle a woman’s sexuality. She adds, “Salome has countless times been analysed by various literatures and psychologist. But in the course of the action, though it was sensual, at the same time it was feared as she used it as a tool of power.”

As a dancer, Debapriya takes back two things. First; the male gaze is so powerful and penetrating and if such a gaze is not there, then what our life would be like. Second; this show is like an attempt to break a barrier to make the dance more accessible to people. Murugesh Dhanakodi will be providing the musical element for the show. He add, “I will be playing the Didgeridoo, Darbuka which is Arabic, Kagul from Peru, Djembe along with percussions. The music although doesn’t have any lyrics, the audience is sure to get the emotions and feelings we are trying to convey.”

The show will be held on November 10 at Shoonya Centre of Art and Somatic Practises.

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