Vyuti at Ranga Shankara Today

Yesterday, as part of the New Performance Festival by the India Foundation for the Arts I went to see “Vyuti–Inflections” at Ranga Shankara.

The performance, which featured Anusha Lall, with light architecture by Giti Thadani, music composition by V Chandran, Light Design by Karsten Krauss, and which was produced by Aditi Biswas, lasted about an hour.

The IFA brochure says,” the performance is the result of an urge to evolve a new language of Bharatanatyam by re-interpreting it in the ‘light’ of image architecture.”

This sounded very intriguing, and we settled down to watch.

Here’s Anusha Lall:

anusha lall vyuti RS 280208

It is always a pleasure to watch a well-toned body dancing, even if the Bharatanatyam costume was replaced by a contemporary dance costume…but a question struck me forcibly. Why do these contemporary costumes always have to be black? We have such a tradition of bright colours in our country…why not incorporate some of those colours into our own interpretation of modern dance costumes? Is it because black does not take one’s attention away, and allows us to focus on the dance?

Anusha did a series of short “pieces”, interspersed by the “light architecture” referred to; these were a series of moving images on the screen behind the dancer, of “adavus” ..the hand movements of Bharatanatyam. There was othing more original that that. Here is one of them on the screen:

vyuti-inflections light images RS 280208

While it is an interesting concept to see what can evolve from Bharatanatyam, unless something more of substance is brought out of the dance form, it seems more as if just a few elements of the dance form have been illustrated, rather than any new cohesive, choate form arrived at as the result of the experimentation. The movements are all already a part of Bharatanatyam and no new epiphany appeared to have been achieved.

Video images of hand movements, however lovely in themselves, fail to grip especially if titled as “Image architecture”…that kind of attribution leads one to expect much more than one actually got from the experience.

Anusha is a founding member of Gati, a dancers’ forum for both research and practice about dance in India. Giti Thadani, who collaborated with her, is a “light architect”, according to the brochure. I am still not sure what this means.

Another problem was that there was no post-performance discussion or interaction with the audience, where we could ask the team questions about what they presented. The team of four took their bows, did not even introduce themselves individually. I think that after every experimental performance, 15 minutes need to be set aside for some form of audience interaction. Otherwise, an experiment remains on the stage and does not percolate through into the audience experience.

A promising concept, which, in my opinion, needs to evolve more.

“Vyuti–Inflections” is on today at Ranga Shankara at 7.30pm, lasting for 60 min.

2 Comments so far

  1. Radman (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 3:14 am

    definetly cute, perhaps even hot.

  2. usha (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

    Anusha Lall’s performance was definitely interesting ..the stretched out movements of Bharatanatyam brought out a similarity to yoga.. she appeared like a ballet dancer at times with superb control over the stances. .. thought the visual installations (arrow like shafts of light) were quite eye catching too..
    agree about audience interaction..

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