Fusing kathak and jazz, dancer Mitul Sengupta brings her interpretation of the Mahabharata to the city
After bewitching the audience in Bengaluru yesterday, Rhythmosaic, the Kolkata-based dance company, is gearing up to perform, Buddha: The Why Within, in the city this Saturday. The dance theatre production, which debuted in Kolkata last year, is choreographed by Mitul Sengupta and Ronnie Shambik Ghose of Rhythmosaic, and Gianin Loringett and Martine Kaisserlian of the OffJazz dance company from France. “We have been corresponding with Gianin and Martine since 2010 for this production. We learned many new things from each other during the process of its creation,” says Sengupta.
Telling the tale
Through well-known characters like Arjuna, as well as unsung characters from the Mahabharata such as Ulupi and Barbareek, Buddha: The Why Within tells a story of love, sacrifice and betrayal. The name might suggest a connection between the teachings of Buddha and the Mahabharata, but Sengupta points out that it is not the case. “It does not talk about the spirituality or teachings of Buddha, but about a much larger perspective—the internal realisation of one’s self or bodh. Also, in this particular work, we have tried to show that gender discrimination is something that cannot be tolerated,” adds the dancer, whose career started 25 years ago, at the age of 11.
The dance theatre incorporates two distinct forms, kathak and jazz, to depict the story. Now, while jazz, a contemporary dance form, has a free flowing style, kathak, an Indian classical dance form, is bound by rules. Sengupta explains that blending the two very distinct forms was possible only because of her hybrid style of dance. “I have been trained in kathak as well as western dance forms such as ballet and jazz. My body reciprocates accordingly, to all three forms. So it was not very difficult to blend the three together to create this production,” she adds.
After the show in the city, Sengu-pta will showcase Buddha: The Why Within in Thiruvan-anthap-uram on Sunday. She has also planned another production called The White Lotus Black Sand that will premiere in December in Kolkata. “We will be celebrating the relationship between India and China through that production. Sixteen ballet dancers from China are collaborating with us for the show,” she concludes.
November 14, 7 pm onwards, at Sir Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall. Details: 28279803