It was indeed a sight-and-sound at a popular experiental lab in Alwarpet on Saturday morning as the members of the audience explored the forever-revered Indian classical dance form Bharatnatyam presented in the light of Padams and Javalis, the very essentials of the repertoire of Devadasis in South India.
The experimental show is named 'musicality in dance' and Savita Narasimhan, the renowned Carnatic vocalist who is behind piecing it together explains, " The crux of the session is music is not just a component of dance, it is the very basic foundation and is central to expressions. No dancer can do justice to abhinaya or interpretative dance without understanding the music."
Elaborating on why she particularly chose ancient romantic compositions - Padams and Javalis - that narrate the love story and emotions of two individuals, Savita goes on, " With the banishment of the Devadasi system, we have lost a certain expression to a music inherent in their style. The way they would perform them, however, it can be revived even today in a whole new contemporary light."
How is the revival possible in modern settings? Savita goes back to the basics. " The sentiments expressed are very universal and are common to any feminine expressions in any part of the world. As a singer I have always wondered about certain qualities that I do not find in other regular Carnatic compositions. They maintain a certain emotional quotient that highly differentiates them as interpretative compositions - compositions that talk about universal sentiments - romance, love, anticipation, disappointment."
About how very few of today's musicians take to these treasures of our ancient Indian musical forms, Savita explains, "these are very difficult to learn, practise and perform and the content is sensual too - which many artistes may not be willing to perform at a concert. However, T Girish, Rama Ravi, S. Sowmya and I are among the very few musicians left who still perform them ."
Of course, there should not be any inhibitions! Savita marches on, looking to create more awareness about these musical forms she believes offer enormous emotion and expressions to a dancer. "It's because of the refinement the compositions offer, we are able to dance to them even today after centuries. My workshop aims to explain how music can be used to emote."
The workshop was curated by Priya Murle of Natya Darshan....