Number crunching for the stage
A dance presentation by artistes mentored by Aditi Mangaldas explores the numerals from one to 10 through the prism of kathak
Eight could just be the digit between seven and nine, or when you look closer, a symbol of infinity. Four, on the other hand, could be two plus two. But it could also stand for charavali i.e. the four aspects of the rising moon, from crescent to full moon. When kathak exponent Aditi Mangaldas worked on conceptualising a dance presentation titled 10X10 Bound by a Single Conceptual Thread, with her students at the Drishtikon Dance Foundation in Delhi, she steered them towards focusing on the latter.
"The idea was to give young dancers an opportunity to explore their creativity and you will be amazed by the way they have done that," says Mangaldas, who was one of the principal dancers in Pandit Birju Maharaj's troupe for several years before founding her own institution. The performance — which stitches together 10 short pieces, each focusing on a numeral from one to 10 — premiered in Delhi last year and will make its Mumbai debut this evening as part of the NCPA's golden jubilee celebrations.
Presented in the grammar of classical kathak or a contemporary style based on kathak, each piece comprises as many artistes as the numeral it explores. Kal, for instance, delves into the twin realities of yesterday and tomorrow, and will be performed by two artistes, while a trio of musicians will present Triveni, a composition based on the Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati.
With each piece lasting no longer than eight minutes, we ask Mangaldas if the fast pace of the performance is in response to ebbing attention spans. "Time, here, is not of the essence," she says. "It is about quality over quantity. There will always be takers for excellence."
On Today, 6.30 pm
At NCPA, Nariman Point.
Cost `Rs 00
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