Bring on the emotion

Apr 27, 2013, 09:05 IST | Soma Das

The fifth edition of Ahsas, the dance arts festival, will celebrate drama in dance and includes international collaborations and performances based on stories ranging from Bulleh Shah to Batman

Dancer Sumit Nagdev (who runs the Sumit Nagdev Dance Arts) started the annual dance arts festival, Ahsas, with the idea of allowing artistes to experiment with their art.

“The artiste would get to dance for themselves and not as per the demands of any particular audience, thus creating a niche audience for themselves. When the first year worked out well (2007), I kept going on. People were supportive and the choreographers got space and freedom to express themselves. Now, we are in the fifth year and the growth has been crazy. We had over 1,600 audience members last year,” shares Nagdev.

Dancer Sumeet Nagdev

Different moves
Ahsas 2013 will showcase Indian and international artistes who will premiere performances created for the festival. Highlights include Bulleya, a collaboration between Circle Of Sound (UK) and Sumeet Nagdev. While Nagdev will showcase Contemporary dance, the sarod and the percussion will accompany the recitation of stories and poetry by Baba Bulleh Shah. Nagdev was inspired to host this after attending one of the performances by Circle Of Sound, which left a deep impression on him.

Dark Knight on stage
Rise, choreographed by Sumeet Nagdev and performed by SNDA dancers, showcases the life of Batman through depictions of the Scare Crow, Joker, Talia and Cat Woman. The piece aims to create an effect of hallucination and involves heavy use of lights and gymnastics with rope mallakhamb. This production was conceptualised while Nagdev was watching the movie during a flight. “You’ll see the entire Dark Knight trilogy in 40 minutes. It’s a tough act with crazy movements. It took over a year to finalise the movement vocabulary,” adds Nagdev.

World and India
Torn is a theatrical dance directed by Fenella Kelly (UK) and will be performed by Kelly, Sasha Nagdev and Nagdev. This theatrical piece involves improvised dance and movement that deal with the man-woman relationship. The production War Of Memories by Parijat Naik uses contemporary Bharatanatyam movements.

Other highlights include Salvation, where students will take to the stage and showcase contemporary dance and dramatics, Past Forward that compares the game of dice to the greed in today’s world and We All Sin which depicts the emotions during Jesus’ Crucifixion. There will also be a display of dance films by SNDA.

Summing up the essence of Ahsas, Nagdev says: “Every year I notice that the audience have individual favourite pieces. It’s the uniqueness of contemporary art that creates an emotional connect between the performer and the viewer, and with everybody in a different way.”

On Today and tomorrow, 7 pm onwards
At St Andrews Auditorium, Bandra (W).
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