Orchestration of light

The workshop elaborated on the fundamentals of lighting design and the ability of lightscapes to enhance performances.
Orchestration of light

CHENNAI: Imagine a stage where light dances gracefully, painting emotions, setting moods, and sculpting stories in the darkness. Doing more than just illuminating a space, lightscapes can transform a performance and shape a narrative. Lighting designs are not just bulbs and fixtures; each beam becomes a storyteller.

Keerthi Kumar, a maestro in Kathak and contemporary dance, and a lighting designer, believes that lighting is a catalyst to create multiple realities within a single space. His workshop ‘Lights On’ presented by Aalaap in Medai, The Stage on Thursday explored this concept. From aspiring lighting technicians to experienced Indian performing artistes, the workshop served as a creative rendezvous, all eager to use lighting design as a tool to express. Akhila Krishnamurthy, founder of Aalaap says, “This workshop is a great platform for people who work in the performance space, to understand the basics and nuances of lighting. Exposure to the workshop will enable them to think of lighting as a crucial part in elevating their performance and adding a unique and relevant layer to the way the performance looks and feels.”

Primarily a performer, Keerthi developed a keen interest in lighting and multimedia design and attributes it to his school for expanding his horizons and equipping him with multi-disciplinary knowledge. This led him to hone his skills in designing, programming, and operating lighting systems. “At the Natya Institute of Kathak & Choreography in Bangalore, I was exposed to diverse aspects of performing arts such as costume design, lighting, and stage production. My journey with the STEM Dance Kampni further enriched my knowledge and lighting design is something that caught my attention very early on,” shares Keerthi.

The workshop elaborated on the fundamentals of lighting design and the ability of lightscapes to enhance performances. Keerthi’s insights showcased how the fusion of imagination and light can bring any idea to life. “It can transform, rebuild, collapse, and create a space,” says Keerthi. He explains the interplay between space and time in composite arts and makes it thrive by utilising the right lighting strategies.

Drawing from his diverse projects, Keerthi integrates lighting design in choreographic process. Experimenting with different light combinations and sources can project a character’s expression, even when presented as a silhouette. He emphasises that lighting can be layered strategically to create diverse spatial effects. “Lighting design acts as the live director of the show,” says Keerthi.

While discussing the experimentation of colours in lighting, he highlights the necessity of moving away from laden practices. “There’s a lot of cultural baggage with colours. That’s where we need to question our aesthetics and consider different perspectives,” he remarks.

The workshop inspired and benefited many, demonstrating the limitless possibilities of lighting design in multimedia. “It’s exceptional when someone shares their expertise in a way that inspires you. As a dancer, he boosted my confidence by assuring that lightscapes is not rocket science,” shares Chinmayee Dwaraknath, an artiste.

In future, Keerthi wishes to connect with artistes to enrich the community. “As an ecosystem, we need to constantly engage with others and there’s a need for cross-elimination between genres. And, as artistes,

we will be able to produce better works and be informed if we colloborate,” he wraps up.

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