Neelamegha (dark rain cloud), mayil peeli (peacock feather), pee tambara (yellow silk) and murali (flute) are four things that most Bharatanatyam dancers will instantly connect with Lord Krishna, an important icon who appears in numerous compositions. Over the years, the four elements have been depicted in different ways in the dance form. But Chitra Chandrashekar Dasarathy has taken on a rather challenging idea in her latest production.
“Apara (which means unrivalled one) finds the four elements, the cloud, the silk, the feather and the flute, claim Krishna for themselves. In doing so they make Krishna that much more accessible. He seems to revel in belonging to any or all of these elements. From this coming together of the creative spirit and the flute, emerge naada or music and the ultimate rasa and raasa, the dance.
In this manner the production Apara describes how the specific objects associated with Krishna acquire aesthetic and emotive connotations,” says Chitra, who is the daughter of Bharatanatyam dance veterans Professor CV Chandrashekar and Jaya Chandrashekar. She tells us that the unusual idea struck her about a year ago when she was just thinking of things associated with Lord Krishna.
“The production looks at Krishna beyond the myths and stories of common retelling. I believe we create Lord Krishna every day and in every performance. In this entire production there is no physical character of Krishna, neither is any dancer dressed as him? But, we use elements that are so characteristic of him. It could be a space, colour or sounds associated with him,” she adds.
Chitra will be accompanied by her students Pavithra Jayaraman, Priya Kaul, Rajeswari Aravind, Rajalakshmi Suresh, Roopa Guha and Roopa Manoj from her dance school, Ameya. Chitra, who keeps coming back to Chennai for her performances, is optimistic about the response. “It is my second home. I keep coming to perform. I am hoping it will be well-received in the city,” she finishes.
The performance will be staged at Spaces in Besant Nagar on February 18