Bringing together dance and poetry

This Kuchipudi performance attempts to capture shades of life through unique mix of Thyagaraja kritis, English prose and poetry 

Published: 15th June 2019 01:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2019 01:40 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Characterised by continuity and fluidity, Kuchipudi is a captivating dance form that beautifully explores body kinetics, expressions and rhythm, just like how human life evolves over time. This is what Bengaluru-based classical dancer Srividya Angara Sinha is trying to showcase in her latest production, Manomanthana, which will be featured at Jagriti Theatre on June 16 at 3 pm and 6 pm. 

In Manomanthana, the dancer is widening the boundaries of the dynamic dance form, Kuchipudi, and attempts to capture the different shades of human life through a unique mix of Thyagaraja kritis, English prose and poetry. “We are all in search of something in our life. Some are behind money, some seek happiness and some are in the pursuit of true self. Manomanthana (journey of mind) analyses the struggles of a person, who is seeking the supreme conscious in today’s noisy world,” says Srividya, who is a graded artiste with Doordarshan and an empanelled artiste with the South Zone Cultural Centre (Thanjavur). 

The myriad emotions that the protagonist in the act undergoes are depicted through 11 kritis of Thyagaraja, the Telugu saint-poet and one of the exponents of Carnatic music. “Thyagaraja poetry is elegant and personified. It revolves around conversations in different moods and situations. These are the kritis that I have grown up with and found it apt to describe human emotions. As a dancer, it is a great privilege to perform on Thyagaraja kritis,” Srividya explained.

The act starts with Thyagaraja’s composition, Raghunayaka in Hamsadhwani raga, that conveys happiness and energy. As the protagonist sets off to seek the divine or eternal happiness, she encounters a series of struggles and failures, which in return, leaves her frustrated, angered and hopeless. All these emotions are described through various kritis like Paraloka Sadhaname in Poorvikalyani raga, Dudukugala, a Pancharatna kriti in Gowla raga and Nagumomu Ganaleni.

After the turmoil, when the protagonist finds the divine, her bliss and abundance of joy is shown through the Kanugontini Sri Ramuni kriti in Bilahari raga. “Each emotion is conveyed through aptly chosen lyrics of Thyagaraja. Apart from this, all the kritis are joined by intense, subtle English prose and poetry. The production is universal,” she says. 

She also adds that it took more than three years to choreograph the production, record the music and arrange a big pile of raw data.  Srividya’s debut production was Smaagati, a jugalbandi of Odissi and Kuchipudi with dancer Shubha Nagarajan. The duo toured in six cities of USA and performed their production, which was a great hit there. Her second production, Manomanthana, has already been performed on Thyagaraja Jayanati in Thanjavur and Thiruvaiyaru, and now she is all set to showcase the 
performance in Bengaluru.

“The audience here is versatile like its demography. The city, apart from Mumbai, is where you can do something different or out-of-the-box and you will get an audience for that. You can do a complete classical dance, if you want to deviate a bit, then also you will get an audience. After the Bengaluru show, I’m looking forward to perform in Hyderabad,” she concludes. 

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