Dancing to the rhythm of the Cauvery
Nritarutya, founded by Mayuri Upadhya, will be presenting three pieces of choreography interpreting the native river of Karnataka - Kaveri according to the theme ‘Pravaha’ at Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa. Café catches up with Mayuri, an international choreographer, to learn moreThe city of Panjim has transformed into the hub of all this art, across eight venues, all thanks to the Serendipity Arts Festival. One of these venues, the Bandodkar Grounds, is the place where music and performing arts take centre stage. The dance section of the festival features six dance companies of the country exploring the theme ‘Pravaha’, the Sanskrit term for ‘flow’. Nritarutya, a contemporary dance company founded by Mayuri Upadhya, will present a three-piece choreography interpreting the native river of Karnataka - Kaveri. The performance will be staged at Bandodkar Grounds today, December 17, 2016. Based in Bangalore, Mayuri has dedicated her life to learning and performing various forms of dances. She started out as a child, accompanying her elder sister, Madhuri, who is now the Associate Director of the same company, for her Bharatnatyam classes. She herself joined the classes when she turned six. “I had this hyper energy as a child; as I watched my sister dance, I too used to start dancing and twirling around. Taking note of this, my mother decided to enrol me for the classes. Children have a natural rhythm in them,” says Madhuri, who has choreographed a team of 18 dancers for the performance. She is trained in Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Chaau, Odissi, Kalaripayattu and modern dance techniques. “I found the festival ideation and curation interesting. Six of the best dance companies of the country will be performing at the festival. We all were given the same theme for the festival, to explore a river of our interest with contemporary and classical artistic prospects. Since Kaveri is the river of Karnataka, that’s the river we chose,” says Mayuri about the festival. Explaining the concept of Kaveri, Mayuri says, “As this river is one of the most prominent rivers of South India, we decided to present three choreographic works with a vertical exploration of the river. ‘Matsyaangna’ explores the mystical mermaids of the holy river, depicting the indulgence of the six sins that prevent a human from attaining ‘Moksha’. The concept is inspired from the Vedic philosophy of ‘Arishadvarga’, the six emotions of desire and passion - ‘kama’ (lust), ‘krodha’ (anger) ‘lobha’ (greed), ‘moha’ (attachment), ‘mada’ or ‘ahankara’ (pride) and ‘matsarya’ (jealousy).” She continues, “Madhyam’ explores the lore of Kaveri's birth as stated in the ‘Skanda Purana’ through the myth of ‘Amrutha Manthana’. Exploring the flow and sustenance of the river using contact improvisation, the piece delves into formation of an identity and characteristics of a river. Contemporary floor work and striking images using overhead projectors further enhance the exploration of the river flow. Aerial silk adds to the interpretation and visual appeal. The piece also makes a comparison of the river with the journey of a woman's soul, using the ancient form of Yoga. And finally, ‘Prabhaav’, an all male modern dance piece, is inspired from the dynamic flow of the Shivanasamudram. The composition features live singer and drummers and highlights the importance of Kaveri and the issues of water scarcity and the resulting parched lands.” She has choreographed for Hindi film ‘Mirzya’, directed by Rakeysh Omparakash Mehra, and conceptualised and choreographed for the Make in India Week Opening Ceremony, Mumbai. Mayuri has also performed for a clientele which includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amitabh Bachchan and Queen Elizabeth. “Once you go on stage and the lights come on, you take the spotlight and the size of the audience does not matter. I live in Bangalore, which is a cosmopolitan city where there is an asset of celebrities. I don’t get star struck but I have an immense respect and I am in awe of these respected figures,” says Mayuri, who is currently judging the TV reality show ‘Dancing Stars 3’ on ETV Kannada.
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