When I first heard about the Short + Sweet Dance festival, I thought I’d give it a try with one of the ideas I’ve always toyed with – to choreograph the classical Indian dance style Bharatanatyam to western music. So I submitted that and another idea, to try my luck.
After the euphoria of getting picked vanished, I started panicking because I had to stay true to the classical aspects of Bharatanatyam yet merge it to classical western music. It didn’t help that I had picked a popular western composition by Johann Strauss – The blue Danube. The reason I picked the song was coz even if you’re not a fan of classical music, you would have heard this song somewhere. The children of the 90s think of the Dunhill ad music with swirling dancers.
I knew what I wanted to do with the music. The idea was to use the storytelling aspects of Bharatanatyam and choreograph it into the instrumental piece. I’d already picked the story – Lord Krishna’s mischief from a little boy to a grown man.
I thought I had the music settled. Only when I began choreographing did I realize the huge obstacle in front of me. The music was one swirl after the other, there was nearly no space for rhythmic exploration. I couldn’t even put in a basic adavu (step) of takita takita or anything similar.
Week 2 went by and the choreography was still in bits of pieces. I was having the most trouble with the chorus. I searched the net for inspiration, looked at different ballet productions of the Blue Danube. I couldn’t find a single fusion attempt and every western production had the same choreography, they swirled their hearts away.
I was so close to calling Michelle and pulling out. Week 3 came and I slowly filled the missing pockets with rhythmic steps and I sighed in relief. I will not need to pull out! Yay I hate being a quitter! The story was unfolding and I’d finally fixed the gaps. I figured why go against the music, I might as well incorporate swirls as well, where ever necessary.
So we begin this week with our production. Come watch the Short + Sweet Dance Week 2 from 29th July to the 1st of August 2009. The gala night will be on 2nd of August 2009. We'll be the dancers decked in full indian costumes dancing to a pure waltz music. You have been warned ;p
Ps : Note to Self : You are forbidden to have crazy ideas! ;p
The Classics with an Indian twist
Chereographed by Visithra and performed with Laveenia