CHENNAI: Third Eye Creations is all set for the rerun of its maiden concept Vaikundam – Vaishnava Yatra, a multimedia dance ballet based on the divyadesams in Vaishnavite tradition.
The show that premiered recently at The Music Academy witnessed a packed house and around 200 people were turned away due to non-availability of seats. Due to the huge demand, the show will be staged again, this time at the Kamaraj Arangam on September 13.
Third Eye Creations is a team comprising Asha Krishnakumar and dancer Sailaja, who runs the dance school Saila Sudha and Avey Varghese. While Asha and Sailaja are both disciples of the legendary K J Sarasa, Varghese is a photographer. After performing together for many years, Asha went into academics and worked as a journalist reporting on social and developmental issues.
A culmination of three specialists, the team is a blend of dance, research and technology.
Aiming to rope in a wider audience for traditional dance, the team aims to come up with similar concept-based productions year after year, says Asha. She says, “It is unfortunate that traditional dance does not rope in the younger crowd that flocks to cine, related programmes.”
Successful in bringing in a wider audience, the show at The Music Academy had both the young and the old in as audiences.
A result of two years of research, Vaikundam is not just a thematic dance presentation, but also an educative venture.
After a two-decade hiatus from dance and performances, when Asha decided to get back to the art, she chose to explore a unique theme that wasn’t presented earlier.
After thorough research, the 108 divyadesams that are mentioned in the works of the Azhvars, the supreme devotees of Lord Vishnu, were grouped into eight categories.
“They were classified into categories like nature and temples where the goddess or thaayar is very important, places where Shiva and Vishnu both are worshipped, the incarnations of Lord Vishnu and so on,” she says.
A team comprising a photographer, researcher and videographer covered the spots in a span of five months. With exclusive research and stunning photographs, they decided to have an LED projector in the backdrop with the images of the divyadesams.
“Each segment has four components: traditional chanting, Namavali of 14 divyadesams and the deity, synopsis on the dance segment in traditional Bhagavatham style, and the dance ballet,” says Asha.
With music by Rajkumar Bharathi, a total of 16 senior dancers, including Sailaja and some senior artistes like Lavanya Shanker and Bhargavi Gopalan, will present the ballet, which has flavours of styles that include bharathanatyam, kuchipidi, mohiniattam and folk.
“The dance ballet includes episodes from the puranas and is a combination of drama, dance and narration,” she adds.
Asha says that the concept also dispels several myths about the divyadesams. “We assume that all these temples are rich, but there are a few without even enough money for prasadam. We wanted to bring out the plight of such temples to people,” she adds.
Apart from a photography exhibition, a coffee table book on the temples will be launched on the same day, ahead of the programme.