A literary classic is defined by its gift of time — the ability to persevere through generations and still remain significant in the present. This gift comes from the characteristic of such works to continuously display different levels of meaning between its lines; the more you read it, the more you discover and the more you learn. It is this textual beauty that Contemporary dancer Avantika Bahl will bring out in Wonkot, her first full-length production, featuring an experimental dance theatre piece based on the short story The Elephant in the Dark Room by the Persian poet Rumi.
“I chose this story because it’s a favourite. I’m a great fan of Rumi,” says Bahl, in the middle of rehearsals. “What I love about this story is how I find something new every time I read it. It constantly grows and changes in meaning for me. This is what I want to bring out. Principally, we focus on exploring the use of parallel and subjective narratives in the storytelling through movement. By this, I mean that I want to demonstrate the roles of perception, vision and the subtext of knowledge in shaping each character’s version,” she adds.
Performed by diversely educated freelance dancers, vigorous practices have been going on for over three months, eight to 10hours daily. “The crux is in the response to the text. Every choreographed move is that dancer’s response to the story. Our initial discussions spouted so many different ideas that our main difficulty was streamlining ourselves, and getting everyone onto the same page.” She goes on to add that it’s an exciting production unlike any other since it is completely headed by freelancers: “This is essentially our take on the story. However, we’ve left grey spots to encourage the audience to develop their own takes.”
On Today, 7 pm
At Godrej Dance Theatre, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point.