Ruminate to know

For the past three-and-a-half months, choreographer and director of the contemporary performance, {Wonkot}, Avantika Bahl, along with her troupe of dancers Amrita Bagchi, Antara Majumdar, Binal Shah and Soumya Lakshmynarayanan have been seeing elephants everywhere. With a week left for the performance based on Rumi’s short story, The Elephant in the Dark Room, the troupe has been practising almost 10 hours a day.

{Wonkot} is based on the story

Bahl, who has studied dance in London, was inspired to explore the vocabulary of movements. “Today, dancers do not explore existing steps, and this stalls growth and learning.”

The Elephant In the Dark

She conducted audition workshops before zeroing on her final four dancers, where she gave the dancers the mystic poet’s works and encouraged them to interpret them through movement. “For such an un-choreographed piece, where we were mostly improvising and experimenting, I needed a team that would move as one entity, speaking the same language.”

The performance will narrate the story from four perspectives -- that of the storyteller, the elephant, the man and the room. “We used movement, texture, imagery and spoken word to explore parallel narratives within the text. We’ve worked with paper, clay, cloth and words,” says Bahl, who has roped in musicians Adriel George and Pruthu Parab, who created a score for {Wonkot}. “They attended our rehearsals to understand the concept,” adds Bahl, who hope the audience will come to their own interpretations and closure with {Wonkot}.

“We won’t spoon feed the audience,” adds Lakshmynarayanan, “The piece showcases the choices we have made, but does not offer any fixed interpretations.” And if you still have not figured out the meaning on Wonkot, try reading it backwards.

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