CHENNAI : Architect and dancer Krithika Subrahmanian will be performing Birhat, a Bharatanatyam presentation, in association with upanyasakar Dushyanth Sridhar, at Brahma Gana Sabha on January 12. The performance will revolve on the evolution of devotion and arts based on ancient literary texts, and feature a collaboration between the dancer and the narrator.
Over the course of choreographing this performance, which consists of six pieces, Krithika explained that she ran into unexpected hurdles. “We tried to contextualise these pieces because the audience that knows dance will be able to understand, but those who do not know classical dance don’t understand the piece. We wanted to explain the circumstances of the texts to the audience,” said the 45-year-old.
The six pieces are called The Land of Plenty, The Steadfast and Simplistic, A Renaissance of Culture, Tales that Travelled, The Goddess of Bronze, and A Spectacular Child God. Over the course of her research for these pieces, the architect and dancer found certain ethics in the texts that could be applied to a modern society, such as going back to nature.
“I’m a big believer in relating architecture to the environment and nature. Our biggest issue is that we have moved away from nature, and we are less instinctual, less natural, and more stereotyped,” she said. In The Goddess of Bronze, she will deal with the concept of perpetuity, with respect to prayer. “Different people pray differently. Some pray, some argue, some plead to God. Prayer is an anchor for people that may not be result-oriented. Despite the bumps, there is a bedrock of prayer on which you can land,” she said.
She traces this through the text Abhirami Anthadhi. The piece — A Renaissance of Culture is based on a Varnam by the Tanjore Quartet, which Krithika said she would’ve performed at least 20-30 times. Her rendition of the piece will look at it in a different manner. “I wondered how the temple dancers would’ve reacted when dance became a love of God when it went from bhakti to Shankara,” she said.
Her collaboration with scholar Sridhar, she said, was her attempt to feed off other art forms and present a story in a unique way that would appeal to the audience in a new, fresh manner. Her desire to innovate comes from her 25 years in architecture and design.