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Life in motion

Published : Nov 2, 2016, 10:41 pm IST
Updated : Nov 2, 2016, 10:41 pm IST

Classical dancer Geeta Chandran along with her troupe will showcase Anekanta, culled from the Jaina philosophy


Classical dancer Geeta Chandran along with her troupe will showcase Anekanta, culled from the Jaina philosophy

Acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancer Geeta Chandran is elegance personified. But above her grace is her note-worthy intellect that stimulates you beyond any mudra. Her life’s principles, she reveals, revolve around ‘feeling alive’ from inside out. “Why are people in a rush, all the time ” she questions amusingly. Her amusement is not directed towards any physical rush but a cerebral one. “Juggling from one thing to another at the same moment has made people, especially of this generation, lose out on experiencing the beauty of life and what it has to offer,” she asserts as she sits down to talk about life, dance and her admired Natya Vriksha that completes 25 glorious years today.

She was inducted into Bharatanatyam at the tender age of five. “Back then, we used to learn something for the sake of learning or to master the art but nowadays it is all about adding brownie points to your résumé. I learnt dancing like I learnt maths, science and English, which was not to merely attain a certificate. It was also not aimed at an end result. But it was all about enjoyment and feeling enriched during the process,” she recalls.

In 1991, when she couldn’t devote enough time to dance, Geeta along with eight students laid the foundation to one of the leading dance companies in the country today, which has choreographed several mesmerising productions over the years — Natya Vriksha. “I embraced what made me happy. And today, Natya Vriksha celebrates 25 glorious years of performance and existence,” she proudly shares.

Dance draws from various academic domains like sociology, psychology, philosophy and literature to name a few. And Chandran’s Natya Vriksha will showcase Anekanta, culled from the Jaina philosophy — a production, taking on the multiple realities to every issue that is cultural, political, social and economical, today and tomorrow at Kamani Auditorium. The two-day Bharatanatyam festival will have a solo performance by Chandran and group choreography by her 14 disciples. The performances will be guided with the intellectual inputs from scholar-author Sudhamahi Reghunathan. “It’s a special time for my academy and I. On the second day, we will be dancing to the tunes of recorded music that carries multiple instruments and sounds, and we have worked really hard on the choreography and the track. The first day will see live music. We wanted to show that both recorded and live music are equally validated when it comes to dance performances.”

Coming back to how she looks at life and dance, she explains, “Dance or art bear a resemblance to a stream of free, untamed flowing water that cannot be contained in one realm. I believe art leads you to a path self-discovery, makes you richer as a human, because you see through things. You start to appreciate life in so many ways, through so many different perspectives. Things have changed now. People don’t even stop to gaze at the Moon. I feel travel, poetry, and observation add to your vocabulary and your vision, which I feel is quite liberating.”

Talking about the evolution of dance and Bharatanatyam in particular, Geeta reveals that the dance form is witnessing one of the greatest and exciting times right now. “We are no longer dancing the way the devadasis danced in the temples, right So the concept of purism has anyway evolved. This form of Bharatanatyam was only reconstructed in the previous century as opposed to what people may think. I just want to say that it’s an exciting time. We never saw the concept of group choreographies in the past but now we have so many different styles, forms and adaptions coming together beautifully on stage. To me, this adds a lot of cultural element without tampering with the core philosophy,” she concludes.