Retelling the story of Shiva, Fire and Ash promises a dramatic performance that blends poetry, dance and music
S hivA has fuelled imaginations for centuries. For Gowri Ramnarayan, he is more than just a deity with dreadlocks. a�?Hea��s gone through so many transformations through the generations. Hea��s a destroyer and yet, as a dancer and creator, he affirms life. He is the god for today because he represents the austerity and restraint that we need in our times of excess and greed,a�? explains the director. A JustUs Repertory production, Fire and Ash explores our historical and literary past in an attempt to give it a connect to our lives now. According to Ramnarayan, the one-and-a-half-hour performance was inspired by the painting of the dancing god in Madhya Pradesha��s Bhimbetka caves and French sculptor Auguste Rodina��s piece on Shiva, The Dance of Shiva.
Creation and destruction
a�?I am using Shiva as a metaphor. He represents so many things that we requirea��the quelling of negative forces both within and without, and a re-emphasis on arts, which are getting sidelined. If we lose the arts, we lose our creativity. And without creativity, what are we?a�? she asks. While she dons the role of the sutradar (storyteller), Carnatic singer Savita Narasimhan and Bharatanatyam dancer Anjana Anand will bring the richly-layered production to life.
a�?We have chosen works by iconic Indian poets in six different languagesa��from Rabindranath Tagore and Surdas to Kalidasa and Akka Mahadevia��and popular songs like Theruvil varano (a composition by Muthu Thandavar) to see how theya��ve looked at Shiva,a�? says Narasimhan, who has also done a series of paintingsa��reflecting Shiva and the five elementsa��to serve as the backdrop.
Following the rhythm
Describing the dance as theatrical, Anand says it took nearly a year to finish the project. Though the rendition is classical, she explains that the fusion comes through the concepts that are reflected in the choreography. a�?Subtle costume changes help reflect the different themes. And sometimes wea��ve done away with song completelya��like a portion where Gowri recites (poet-mystic) Mahadeviyakkaa��s verses and we have just movement, highlighted by ragas,a�? she adds. Next, Ramnarayan hopes to take Fire and Ash to other cities, but says she hasna��t planned anything yet. a�?People need to see these images because we need them. They will stay in our memories and make us thinka��just like images of Modi cleaning the streets or Gandhi cleaning toilets,a�? she emphasises, adding that for her next project she will get away from music and dance andA� concentrate on a play instead.
Today, at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan auditorium, from 6 pm. Details: 9840089030
a��Surya Praphulla Kumar