Utthara Unni sounds happy as she talks about her performance in Greece during the 54th World Dance Congress and Research, where dancers from different parts of the world gathered to introduce to the world indigenous art forms of their country. Utthara was the only Malayali among the six participants from India who performed at the Dora Stratou Dance Theatre in Plaka, Athens, on June 28.
Recalling the memorable time, Utthara says, “The fest, organised by UNESCO, had a different atmosphere and audience. More than 10 performances, workshops and lecture demonstrations by artistes from across the globe were held in the week-long programme.” Only official members of the International Dance Council are allowed to take part in the programme. “The membership is given based on the artiste’s previous works and achievements in the field,” she adds.
Her Bharatanatyam recital at the congress has been based on a song penned by Mahakavi Bharathiyar. “The song is about Kaala, the God of death. It is believed that Bharathiyar wrote this song a few days before his demise. A devotee of Shiva, he was not afraid of death. He even believed that death could not touch him. Hence, he wrote this, and a few days after writing this, he died,” explains Utthara. It was her teacher who developed the concept and choreographed the dance.
Prior to the performance, Utthara delivered a talk at a seminar where she spoke about dances of Lord Krishna. “The seminar was conducted to make the audience, who were not familiar with Bharatanatyam, aware of different aspects of the art form. I talked about basics of Bharatanatyam, and various types of dances mentioned in the Hindu mythology that focus on Krishna. I had done a research on the same during my studies,” says Utthara.
“Since Indian dance forms are quite expressive, it was not very difficult for them to comprehend the concept,” says Utthara.
Daughter of dancer and actor Urmila Unni, Utthara ventured into the world of dance at a young age. A post graduate in Bharatanatyam, she has performed at various festivals in and out of the state. The recital at Greece was one of her first international performances.
Besides dance, she is passionate about acting and direction. She was the heroine in Lenin Rajendran’s Edavappathy. As a director, she has short films Randam Varavu, Ninth Month and Paw Prints to her credit....