An Act Entwined

Contemporary dance theatre production Nagamandala — to be staged in the city today — will weave mystical,physical and emotional elements with dramatic moves

Written by Parul | Published: September 8, 2013 5:01:20 am

A diverse troupe with an international outlook,Anveshana Dance Theatre does not approach dance as an illustrative event but as a way to arrive at an intimacy with art. Today,the audience will see this philosophy translate on to the stage in the contemporary dance theatre production,titled Nagamandala. The act has been designed,directed and choreographed by dancer and theatre actor Sangeeta Sharma,who describes it as a landmark in her artistic journey

Nagamandala is a mystical play written by Girish Karnad in Kannada,and presenting it in a dance form has been challenging for Sharma. The play is a commentary on male chauvinism by a male,using animal as a motif to fulfill a woman’s desire,she says.

Sharma — who trained with Uday Shankar Dance Group — has worked with Zohra Sehgal and has performed in street plays by Safdar Hashmi. She says she has woven Nagamandala in a contemporary dance theatre form to encounter the question as to who is the husband,the person who marries an innocent girl and indulges in self-pleasures or as in this case,a nag (snake),who gives her a complete experience of life.

“I have created a multi-layered vocabulary by synergising the talent and creative prowess of different dancers who bring on varied stage dance forms such as Indonesian,Indian classical,folk,martial arts,acro-yoga and aerial acts,” explains Sharma. They all weave in contemporary dance,with Sharma’s assistant Subhasish Dey,who began his career with Anveshana four years ago,playing major roles in Nagamandala. “Through intricate coordination,he accesses his deeper layers of consciousness to express his physical poetry,” says Sharma,adding that eclectic music has given the production an edge.

Nagamandala is the story of a young bride,abused by her husband and seduced by a cobra. “We have experimented creatively to bring forth a woman’s desire,independence,fulfillment and transgression. According to Karnad,it is the story of a young girl called Rani,who sees her husband only in two unconnected roles — as a stranger during the day and as lover at night,” she explains.

Sharma says she has tried to explore Rani as a protagonist with a psycho-mythical connection,keeping in view the current situation of women in the Indian society. After a lot of improvisation with dancers,and script-writer Amit Saxena,Sharma says she decided to present Nagamandala in an abstract way,with minimum use of words and props and a blend of myth and superstition,fact and fantasy,instinct and reason.

“For me,Nagamandala is an experiment and challenge in transformations — snake to husband,husband to lover,the relationship between snake and woman and the significance of varied energies in performing arts,” says Sharma.

Sharma is also conducting a dance-theatre workshop from September 9 to 14 at Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi Auditorium,State Library Building,first floor,Sector 34,Chandigarh. The timings of workshop will be 4 pm to 8 pm. Fee for joining the workshop is Rs 250 per participant.

Organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi,Nagamandala will be performed today at Tagore Theatre,Sector 18,Chandigarh,at 7 pm

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