Sharmila Biswas on her upcoming discussion and performance, about women dancers.
Sharmila Biswas is catching her breath when I call her. The Odissi dancer and choreographer has just finished a gruelling day of rehearsals for her new production, Antar-Yatra, which she is bringing down to the city next month. But first, she tells me, she is coming down this week to participate in a panel discussion on the life and artistic vision of women performers in India, through the agesa��also the theme behind her 100-minute dance performance.
a�?Antar-Yatra has been one-and-a-half years in the making. It is an experimental piece that not only looks at our rootsa��from the apsaras of myth to the devadasis and court dancersa��but also finds the common shades that unite the three dance forms of the Coromandel coast, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi,a�? begins the artistic director of the Odissi Vision and Movement Centre in Kolkata. Where most performances use jugalbandhi to explore different genres (like a thillana by the three dancers), Biswas wants it to be a seamless dialogue. a�?I am looking at the question of how an artiste creates. Abstract art brings with it a sense of not belonging, of being set free, but as women, we are also nurturers, who bring everything to us. So the evolution is different,a�? she explains. She hopes the discussiona��with author Gowri Ramnarayan, historian Pradeep Chakravarthy and Dr VR Devika of The Aseema Trusta��will throw some light on the inner journey of a woman artiste. I wonder if the audience will be able to understand the theme before watching the show (on July 16), but she says, a�?Look at our traditional forms like pandavani and lavani. They dona��t come on stage and just dance. They always introduce what they are going to do. This will be my introduction.a�?
June 6, at 6.15 pm, at Apparao Galleries.
a�� Surya Praphulla Kumar