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Dance like a river

Sannidhi, (which means flowing river), a dance production to be held at the NCPA, will showcase the seven classical dance forms of India as they merge together to create a performance that will not just highlight the differences between them but also portray the beauty and uniqueness of each style

About eight months ago, seven renowned dancers, each representing an Indian classical dance form, received calls from Kathak and Odissi dancer, Parwati Dutta about a proposal for a collaborative production.



Dutta presented each with a concept note, a rough music composition, the taal (number of beats) of the performance as well as the mudras that would be used. Last August, these seven dancers met for the first time under the same roof in Aurangabad.

After a rigorous ideation and practice session that lasted 10 days, Sannidhi was born. The first performance of Sannidhi was in Delhi in October. This will be the production's first performance for Mumbai's audiences.

"Sannidhi is based on the concept of the seven sacred rivers of India. Like the rivers, each dance tradition flows with time and decides its course of journey. With Sannidhi, I wanted to do a representation of our dance heritage each dance form will be showcased to depict a river," shares Parwati Dutta. 

So, while Mohiniattam and Kathak take on the roles of Saraswati and Narmada, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali flow like the Kaveri and Sindhu. Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Odissi will depict the beauty of Godavari, Yamuna and Ganga, respectively.



"I wanted to highlight the nuances of each Indian Classical dance form and also point out what binds them together. So, I conceptualised Sannidhi. A few months later,  with the seven dance forms, I choreographed another piece the Nirgeet," adds Dutta.

Nirgeet is a concept from the Natyashastra, which looks at the ritualistic aspects of preparation before a performance including philosophical, mental and emotional preparation. The performance on Friday begins with the Nirgeet and progresses to Sannidhi.

"Every Indian Classical dance form is based on the Natyashastra. So, while the dances differ, there are similarities too," says Mohiniattam dancer, Sujatha Nair adding, "In the last few months, we have learnt a lot from each other; it has been an enlightening journey. It feels like family, now."

According to Bharatanatyam dancer, Pavitra Bhatt, the important part is that each dance was given an equal status: "The choreography is such that the original style of each dance is retained. Yet, it appears as if all the forms are coming together beautifully.

This is reiterated by Manipuri dancer Sanjib Bhattacharya who adds that each style has its own beauty and keeping the purity alive, the dances come together in harmony. "You can see the similarities in the movements yet witness the uniqueness in each style," he says.

"The audience can see a slight difference in the grammar of each dance and the gestures used in each form creates a beautiful design in temporal space," says Dutta. "Even the music used is a blend, and has Carnatic extensions to Hindustani forms," she signs off.

The seven dancers
>Suchindranathan PK (Kathakali)
>Sanjib Bhattacharya (Manipuri)
>Amrita Lahiri (Kuchipudi)
>Pavitra Bhatt (Bharatanatyam)
>Sujatha Nair (Mohiniattam)
>Kannagi (Kathak)
>Parwati Dutta (Odissi)

ON January 20, 7 pm
At Tata Theatre, NCPA,
Nariman Point.
CALL 2824567 / 66548135
Entry Rs 400, Rs 200 and Rs 100

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