All about Upanishadic truths

Sankhya Dance Creation, founded by Bharatanatyam dancer Vaibhav Arekar, is premiering Trayyanta-Avastharahit, a dance production based on the teachings underlined in the Upanishads

The concepts highlighted in the Upanishads (Vedic texts) will find expression in dancer Vaibhav Arekar and his troupe of six dancers in their latest dance production, Trayyanta-Avastharahit. It is being showcased as part of the Nakshatra Dance Festival at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). The dance will be preceded by an Odissi dance performance by Daksha Mashruwala and the students of Kaishiki.

A scene from the dance production Trayyanta-Avastharahit

Arekar explains that Trayyanta refers to experiencing the journey of ‘life’ and understanding the state of ‘statelessness’. “Thematically, it is based on philosophical truths that are being expressed through the visual medium of Bharatanatyam. It is an evening of Nritya sankirtan (devotional dance).”

The idea came to Arekar when he was invited to perform in Chennai for a Thematic Festival by the Natyarangam institution where six established dancers were given the theme of the Upanishads and had to present dances based on it.

The basic idiom of the dance is Bharatanatyam. “The choreography investigates the capacity of Bharatanatyam to oscillate between imagery and the abstract. I have always been used to the bhakti marga and themes that were seeped in this devotional path. Upanishadic philosophy is abstract and demanding on the personal self,” admits Arekar.

The research, consultation and scripting for the Upanishad-inspired dance took nearly three months. Arekar adds that Pradnya Agasti, who had a basic understanding and knowledge about the Upanishads, accomplished the task.

The dancer admits that there were several challenges as well: “Upanishadic philosophy is known as the ‘intellectual path’ that leads to the Ultimate. So, to cull out of the Upanishads, certain concepts that could be adapted to a visual medium was the first challenge. Yet, the flow had to be simple and arresting, since it was to be performed for an audience.

As a choreographer, the challenge was to re-investigate the spiritual connection of dance without depending on words. There had to be minimal use of words. But this threw a huge challenge to find movements and visual ideas that were potent to express philosophical and spiritual concerns.”

While the dance will feature Arekar and six dancers from his troupe, he feels that the soundscape created by six musicians and the light designer’s contribution are equally vital to the performance.

On: Today, 7 pm onwards
At: Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Call: 22824567

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On: September 27, 6.30 pm
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